I am watching a fight. I officiated at their wedding years ago. They lived like newlyweds long after their wedded life was new. They went to football games, concerts, and took day trips. They worked hard and played hard. Then came their first beautiful child. A year and a half into his life, stunning changes began in this little boy. Uncontrollable seizures, among other scary symptoms, filled his days. Their baby boy saw dozens of specialists and for years now has been gradually losing mental and physical functionality. In the midst of all the doctors, tears, medical bills, and prayers they ended up having another beautiful child. Over the next few years income was sparse as they scrimped, saved, and picked up extra shifts. Not seeing much of each other and the stress of it all took its toll on their marriage. It seemed that their marriage could not be saved.
Then they began to fight. Fight for each other. Fight to love each other. Fight to hear each other. Fight to stay connected to each other. Fight to forgive each other. Fight to see each other’s best. It is a hard fight and one that is ongoing. But at some point, in the midst of this moment by moment and day by day fight, I looked over. I saw him hook his pinky in hers and she turned to look him in the eyes and she winked. They smiled a knowing smile. In that moment I imagine I saw Christ’s work being fulfilled right before my very eyes.
You see Christ came to reconcile. That is the core of his ministry. He lived, died and rose to unite and heal broken relationships. He came to break down the barriers and unite us with God and with each other. His Spirit is still doing that work today, and we take part in the Spirit’s work just like these two. We do it in the work of relationship, particularly covenant relationships.
Marriage is a covenant relationship given as a gift by God. As discussed in last week’s sermon, marriage mirrors other covenant relationships. Scripture describes Christ as the bridegroom and we, the church, are the bride. Our baptism connects us in a holy promise (covenant) to Christ and to each other. I hope we live our covenant with the members of the church in the same way this young couple does… by taking part in Christ’s work of healing and uniting.
May we be a community who fights for each other. Fights to love each other. Fights to hear each other. Fights to stay connected to each other. Fights to forgive each other. Fights to see each other’s best. We do this moment by moment and day by day. In so doing, we become more Christ-like. We learn how to love and be loved. And that will not only further Christ’s work, but will always bring a smile.
This past week, committee leaders met for a Winter Summit. They began to prayerfully and strategically form opportunities to further Christ’s work in the lives of others in the church and in the wider community. Join us in prayer as these plans are flushed out, aligned and then brought to the Administrative Council. May we be united in living this work of reaching others with Christ’s grace and hope.
If you are interested in becoming a part of the Old Bethel Church family or would like to take the next step in your spiritual journey, come to our next Starting Point sessions, Sundays January 31 & February 7, 12:30-2:30pm. Learn about the vision and values of the Old Bethel faith community and what is unique about United Methodists. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the church office at 359-9651 if interested.
5th Annual Souper Bowl Luncheon Sunday, February 7. This lunch of delicious soups and chilies and warm fellowship will be served from 10:45-12:30. People’s Choice awards will again be given so be sure to cast your vote for your favorite. We need you to bring a pot of your favorite soup in a crockpot with your name on it. Indicate your participation on this Sunday’s connection card or by emailing email@example.com.
During Lent we will be doing an all-church study of Phillip Yancey’s, What's So Amazing About Grace. It will not only be the sermon series, but also short-term discussion groups will meet for only six weeks to enjoy great conversation and reflection about grace, justice, and forgiveness. Purchase the book and sign-up for a small group in the lobby between Sunday worship services or you may also email Cheryl Platt at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Serving Christ Together,