Acts 26: 29 Paul replied, “Short time or long—I pray to God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.”
In this passage in Acts, Paul is making his defence before King Agrippa, Bernice and Porcius Festus, the Procurator of Judea. Festus ridicules him for engaging in the seemingly hopeless task of telling them the Good News about Jesus. But Paul persists; despite being in chains; despite having being unjustly imprisoned; despite probably rough treatment and a limited diet; his passion to talk about Jesus simply cannot be halted or diverted. Sometimes, it feels so awkward to talk about Jesus. Sometimes, it’s easier to just keep quiet. But one of the things about the current discussions about race in the midst of a pandemic is that everyone is unsettled. Nothing is the same. Every single person is having to rethink their foundational worldview - what is safe, what is polite, what is ethical, what is moral. What is true.
This is a great moment to speak about certainty. About foundational truth. About a faith which is rooted in a story which doesn’t gloss over the hard bits. In a gospel that includes stories of wrongdoing, of mistakes made, of frail humans making choices. And a gospel which is foundered on confident hope for all humanity.
A knowledge that we are not here by chance. That we are part of the creation of our loving, engaged God. That Jesus lived and died for every race, every people group, every culture, every person. That the message he brings is one of freedom and the challenge we face is to step into the opportunities he gives us to address injustice, hunger, fear, doubt, hopelessness.
This week, perhaps you can let a friend know that you are willing to engage in conversations about hard things: about uncertainty and fear. About power and powerlessness. Let them know that we are a church community that welcomes people with questions. That coming to church doesn’t mean you have all the answers, but that you are curious. That you are willing to dive into scary and painful places. And that our community is a place of joy. A space where we can exhale as we worship. Our singing may be a little limited during COVID but when we can’t sing, our humming helps us to engage our bodies, minds and spirits in loving Jesus.
So this week:
David Griffin is preaching on Sunday on 1 Kings 3:3-14 why not take a few minutes to read, ponder, pray and ask God to prepare you to learn with your body, mind and heart on Sunday!
Also, did you think about humming this week? How was that? Did you give it a go? Why not let us know! Shoot us an email, firstname.lastname@example.org
AND who will you invite to church this week? Where will you engage in a conversation about why life is bigger than COVID...
So hope you are having a good week!
With love, your (hopefully!) well-rested pastor
(still on vacation.. I wrote this before I left...)