Jesus’ vision for the church is that we would be one: a group of followers, united in serving him, loving one another and God’s world. We wonder if Jesus had any inkling of what the world would be like by our time, or how divided we would be. Most of us cannot remember living in a more fractured culture than our current America. However, as people of faith, we are seldom more united than when we are serving God together, when we are rolling up our sleeves, offering ourselves and our love, doing mission and service. It is in those moments that we often find our commonalities and share a common spirit. Every time we celebrate Holy Community, we pray at the end of our communion prayer, “make us one in ministry to all the world.” The world needs us to be one so that we can most effectively live God’s will and share God’s love in the places of needs around us.

 

I remember my earlier days on team sports. The coaches always had these sayings plastered on the walls of the locker room: “When the going gets tough, the touch get going.” Or “No Chain is stronger than its weakest link.” Jesus didn’t’ have inspirational messages quite this to warn or motivate his followers. He would say things like: “Remember, I am with you always, until the end of the age” or “the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you.” Jesus knew exactly what we needed, to help us be one in following him.

 

This Sunday, we celebrate our graduates. We honor their work and accomplishments. We will hear a witness of faith from some of them and what our church has meant to them in these formative years. We love our young people and want them to know the gift of faith that has meant so much to us, helped us, stirred our hearts to give of ourselves as God calls us. We are doing some of our best work as a church whenever we help people to hear and respond to God’s invitation and direction. Come and listen for it this Sunday as we again meet the God who is always with us, whose Spirit is alive and working in our midst.

 

Dave Summers
Senior Pastor, Paradise Valley United Methodist Church
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