There is a story about Methodism’s founder, John Wesley, and his influence in England. It goes like this. A stranger passed through a small town a few years before John Wesley preached there, and before they had established small groups that served the poor, visited prisoners and cared for widows and orphans who lived among them. That same man returned some years later and was amazed by the differences he saw in the community. He saw less poverty, observed more friendliness, and felt more welcomed as a stranger to town. He could see how they loved each other! They had been transformed by love and grace.
That is the power of Christian community, and why, despite a million other things we could do on Sunday mornings, many of us gather at church instead.
When your pastor Kim invited me to come to preach among you for the months of July and August (while she’s been standing in Wesley’s pulpits in England!) I had a hunch that I’d be warmly welcomed. Pastor Kim has a deep love and regard for you and I know that you have honored and loved her too. I have come to see, first hand, how you love each other, and sure enough this was evident to me right away. My husband and I have been given a beautiful home in which to live, and we were warmly welcomed in worship and fellowship. People have asked, “Is there anything we can do for you?” many, many times.
As we study, pray, and reflect on scripture together I am certain that many blessings will be exchanged. As we keep our eyes set on Jesus, we will also find work to do, healing take place, and new hope in this oftentimes crazy world. Maxine Hong Kingston said, “In a time of destruction, create something.” So, let’s continue to love each other and think of new ways to increase our love throughout these summer months.
See you at church!