Dear Brothers & Sisters,
I believe we are in a special season here at Grantham Church. God has been making himself known in your lives and in the life of our church. Even in the cold, dark, dreary month of January, God’s Spirit has been on the move in our congregation. Our worship service this past Sunday was clear evidence of that.
Last Sunday we continued our series on race and reconciliation with a rich and robust time of worship. It was a blessing to have special guests David Perry and the Cohens with us. We were drawn into worship and our hearts were prepared to receive the proclamation of God’s Word. I know that my own heart was overflowing as I stepped behind the pulpit for the first time in 2017. It’s truly a testimony to the power of God’s Spirit in our worship. When we worship with our whole heart, the Lord makes himself known and his presence felt among us.
If you missed the sermon and/or would like to share it with friends, you can now access Who Is My Neighbor? (3 of 4) and other resources at our website and podcast. In the message I challenged us to consider the central point of Jesus’ parable about the Good Samaritan: Do you stereotype and judge your neighbor who is ethnically different than you?
I said in the sermon that I don’t think Jesus is in the business of utilizing shame tactics to move folks to examine their hearts and repent. No, shame often results from having seen our error (looking in the mirror) and recognizing that we have done wrong. But I’m convinced that God wants us to be motivated to change by his love for us and our neighbors. Because the truth is, when we dehumanize others, we’re actually dehumanizing ourselves. Jesus shows us a better way.
Here are the reflection questions from the sermon:
1. Who is the neighbor that God is calling you to love?
2. We see a great deal of fear and hatred of the poor and minorities today, how can Grantham Church welcome the outcast and the stranger?
3. Who is God calling us to reach out to? Who is within our sphere of influence that seems “left for dead” and needs for us to embody Christ’s love?
This coming Sunday is Peace Sunday at Grantham Church. Drew Hart will be joining us at 9:00 a.m. in the Learning Community that has been discussing his book, Trouble I’ve Seen: Changing the Way the Church Views Racism. He will also be preaching in the 10:30 a.m. service. You don’t want to miss the conclusion of our series this Sunday.
Remember that the Peace Sunday Ingathering Offering will go toward providing funds to help us continue the conversation begun in this series. We’re planning to partner with Harrisburg BIC and offer ongoing seminars that aim to educate, inform, and build relationships. The funds will be used to cover expenses of these events, including fees for outside speakers with particular experience in racial reconciliation. We are also exploring ways we can learn more about the Civil Rights Movement, both past and present. More details to come.
Our goal is $2500. We have provided special offering envelopes in the bulletins. Please consider what God would have you give beyond your regular offering to Grantham Church.
Finally, I wanted you to know that our next sermon series begins the following Sunday, February 5. In the next Pastor’s Email, I will share a brief overview of our upcoming 10-week series called, Roots: Exploring the Core Values of the Brethren in Christ. I’ll also be sharing an update on the beginning of our search for a full-time Worship Arts Pastor.
I’m praying for you. Please pray for each other. Until we gather again, may you walk with the Lord as his disciples and be his hands and feet to your neighbors.
Grace & Peace,
* This post was first sent as an email to all church members. If you would like to receive the weekly email from the pastor, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org