Someone sent me a list of goals recently. The goal heading was “to be more like Jesus this year.” It was a clever list that included things like, “hanging out with sinners, telling stories that make people think, choosing unpopular friends, being loving and merciful, and taking naps on boats.” I loved the last way this person was committed to being like Jesus-a nap on a boat sounds good. But most of all, I loved the overall goal. I wonder what would be on your list if your goal was to be more like Jesus?
For sure becoming a better listener is on my list. When I read the gospels, I’m impressed by how often Jesus asked questions of the people he encountered and then listened well to their answers. He didn’t just give sight to a blind man, he asked what the man needed so he knew what to do. This past week, Rochelle was complaining to me about a situation she faces. I barely listened before offering her advice, telling her what I thought she should do. It didn’t go well. And the next morning she told me, “I didn’t ask for your help, I just needed you to listen and affirm me.” So, one way I need to become more like Jesus is by listening more comprehensively. In what ways do you need to become more like Jesus?
I was so surprised Saturday night when John Dawson announced the gift the church was giving Rochelle and me to celebrate our 20 years among you. The gift was a rock placed near the coffee café door, with the words of a benediction from commonprayer.net that I often use to conclude worship. I’m so grateful for your thoughtfulness and kindness to me and my family. We will be reminded of your goodness to us each time we walk through that door!
If you missed it the first time, we’re pleased to repeat a video study on the book by Jemar Tisby, The Color of Compromise. The study explores the history of the American church’s role in the oppression of Black people and ends by calling us to anti-racist work in Jesus’s name. Each week, the class will view a video (the series is on Amazon Prime) and then discuss the video’s content. There is room for up to 30 people in the Coffee Café to participate, and others of you can participate through a live Zoom feed that we hope will make it easy to interact with those who are at the church. We’ll accept the first 30 people who want to participate in person, and we’re asking everyone to register for the class-whether you want to attend in person or receive the Zoom link-by filling out the simple form at this link: https://form.jotform.com/202525663927157 The study will run 8 weeks beginning September 22 at 7pm, ending before 8:15pm. Those who are over 65 or have other risk factors for COVID-19 are encouraged to choose the Zoom option. If you come to the event in person, we’ll be properly distancing from one another and wearing appropriate face coverings. Brian Coughlin will lead the group with assistance from a few others. All are welcome.
I thought perhaps that our meeting for worship last Saturday evening would end up in the dark, but the parking lot lights and lights around the porte cochere proved to provide helpful illumination. So our time for outdoor worship this Saturday will remain the same -7:30 p.m. If you can’t join us in person, please join us through a livestream. The link will be on our website Saturday evening. We’ll also post a link to our worship video (like we’ve been posting on Youtube) this weekend. For those of you watching the livestream, thanks for your patience. We expect the quality of the stream to vastly improve when we move indoors-hopefully on the first Sunday of October.
May God bless you this week, giving you what you need for each day. May God’s presence sustain you when you’re tired, worn down or discouraged. May God encourage your spirits and give your bodies energy for the tasks ahead. Wash your hands. Wear your mask. And go with God who fuels our hopes and quiets our fears. Everywhere. Always. Ame