Hello Brothers & Sisters,
I’m greatly encouraged as I write this letter to you. The response I’ve received from my most recent sermon has been a huge blessing to me! I’m so proud of our congregation for how we’re embracing a third way approach to being the church in a culture that is being ripped apart by partisan politics. Thank you for keeping your hearts open to what God wants to say to his people today.
If you missed it, this past Sunday I preached a message entitled, God & Government: A Responsible Reading of Romans 13. I felt it necessary to address some recent events, particularly in response to the US Attorney General’s use of Romans 13 as justification for supporting the Zero Tolerance immigration policy, which has separated over 2,000 children from their parents in the past two months. It has been heartbreaking to watch what has been happening on our southern border, knowing that many of the migrant families are seeking refuge from unimaginable violence in parts of Mexico and Central America.
As I said in my message, governments protect their borders. That’s what they do. But as Christ-followers, we live by a higher law of love that values the dignity and inherent worth of others before our own safety and comfort. That is the radical call of Jesus on our lives, as we take up our cross and are willing to lay our lives down for others. While we pray for our leaders and that our nation’s laws will be just, we don’t expect the government to act like Jesus. Instead, it’s the calling of every Christ-follower to do that. God has given the church this great responsibility!
So, I want to encourage you to use whatever influence you may have to stand up for those who have no voice, and to love like Jesus loves. May the Spirit help us to rise above all other competing allegiances and loyalties in order to obey God’s higher law of love, displaying that through our testimony and good deeds. And in doing so, we will, with God’s help, hold a mirror up to the evil and injustice of empire.
I’ll say one more thing about that. Our church staff has been considering how our church should respond to recent events. As you already know, we have been seeking to bring clarity to our missional communities at Grantham Church. We believe that this is a good opportunity to have an exploratory conversation around helping migrant families and refugees. If you’re interested in being a part of that conversation in the near future, please contact Dan Bisbee (Church Administrator) at firstname.lastname@example.org. Stay tuned for more information about an upcoming meeting.
Also, I want to remind you that I’ll be on vacation the next two Sundays. This coming Sunday is a Missions-Focused Sunday, organized by our Missions & Multi-Cultural Ministry Commission. See the announcement below for what we have planned for the day. And then the following Sunday, July 8, Pastor John Yeatts (Pastor Emeritus) will be guest preaching in the worship service.
Finally, the church board wants to invite you to a Special Congregational Council next Sunday, July 8, immediately following the worship service. If you’re able, please join us for a brief gathering as we vote to approve a new congregational secretary (Cheryl Wolf) and delegate to General Assembly (Jim Smiley). A printed agenda will be available in the church office on Sunday. If you have any questions, contact the church office (email@example.com or 717-766-0531) or any member of the board. Thanks for helping us continue to move forward as a church.
I’ll see you again in worship on Sunday, July 15. If you’re in town, join us for a robust worship service on General Assembly weekend.
Grace & Peace,
P.S. In anticipation of General Assembly weekend at Messiah College (July 13-16), I wanted to let you know of a few updates you’re going to see over the next few weeks. Here is what you can expect in and outside our facilities: (1) new signs outside that welcome and give directions to guests; (2) re-designed bulletin boards in our main hallway; (3) new lobby furniture and fresh paint/décor; and (4) new projectors in the sanctuary! All of these projects have been in the works for a while now, and so I’m excited to see them become a reality. Thank you for making these things (and so much more!) possible through your faithful giving and passionate service as active members of Grantham Church. May God use all of our efforts to further his Kingdom at Grantham and beyond.
* 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