An Invitation From The Senior Pastor
Over the past week (really, the past several weeks), people around the world have witnessed a series of horrific and untimely tragedies with hundreds of innocent men, women and children losing their lives ... downed or lost commercial airlines, political conflicts in the quest for increased power, women, infants and children seeking safety and refuge “by any means necessary” by crossing US Borders from countries steeped in violence and religious and cultural conflicts rooted in centuries of fear and misunderstanding. As these tragedies have unfolded, my heart has and continues to be saddened by the difficulty organizations (like the American Red Cross and the UN Humanitarian Relief Agency) are having accessing those adversely impacted by these events to offer medical and other relief services, including nutritional, emotional and spiritual support. Even when doors seem to be closed over and over again, these organizations believe in their work, they believe in their cause and they are clear about the reason for their unwavering passion ... human hearts and lives.
As I reflect on these and other events over the past several months, I couldn’t help but think about our Faith In Action Sunday in a couple of days. Once again, we are faced with an opportunity to answer a sacred calling to honor a Divine appointment that has been and continues to be in our own back yard ... well before there was a St. John’s MCC. Once again this year, we have the opportunity to share our faith, share our stories, share God’s love, and share the reason for the hope that lives within us with those who need to have their hope restored, their belief in the goodness of humanity restored, as well as their desire to really believe that followers of Christ are people of love, care and compassion. This, of course, begs a series of questions: How will we respond to our neighbors? Will we be the Priest, the Levite or the Samaritan? How will we put our “faith in action” for those who may be as close to us as the person next or near to us? Are we really ready to be and embody the change we want to see in the world? Are we ready to be the hands and feet of Christ?
My prayer as I write this is by now, we know OUR answers to the aforementioned questions. We KNOW we are called to be the new, modern day Samaritans. We KNOW that everyone who crosses our path, both in and outside of church community is our neighbor, regardless of the needs they have or the circumstances that bring them to us. And we KNOW that if the world is ever going to begin to change, that change must begin with you and me. The time is NOW for each of us to put our Faith in Action. And our Divine appointment is only a couple of days away!
I am SO excited about what God is going to do ... in us, through us and, in some cases, in spite of us on Sunday! We’re geared up and making final preparations to take it to the streets on God’s behalf, embodying and sharing the unconditional love and limitless compassion of God with all of God’s people. Have YOU found your PLACE to put your Faith In Action yet?
If you have already expressed how you’d like to put your Faith In Action on Sunday, to YOU I say thank you. If you haven’t had the opportunity to sign up and join a service project team and still would like to do so, join us at the Oak City Outreach Center (behind the former Salvation Army Building on Person Street) Sunday morning and I KNOW we can connect you to a project team that can be mutually beneficial to you and those being served!
Also, keep in mind we will begin our Faith In Action Sunday with worship, which will include Holy Communion and receiving our tithes and offerings. We encourage you to bring your tithes and offerings with you Sunday as yet another demonstration of placing your faith in action through your generous giving. Let us remember the “storehouse” is where the people of God are spiritually fed ... without question, we and our neighbor’s downtown will be fed in numerous ways this Sunday ... spiritually, emotionally and physically! What a wonderful way to express our gratitude to God for this indescribable opportunity than through our acts of generosity.
Please be sure to invite any and everyone to come and join us on Sunday ... even those whom we haven’t seen in some time!! Come ready to worship, ready to give and ready to serve. Come ready to be “Jesus with skin on” as we prepare to make your faith a lived and living ... TODAY.
I look forward to seeing you in worship Sunday morning at 10 am and seeing you again at our various service projects after worship. Please be sure you dress for the summer weather (dress lightly, wear light colored clothing and hydrate yourselves regularly!). It will be a day of generosity and generous giving to all of our neighbors. You don’t want to miss one moment on Sunday .... and we don’t want to miss seeing and sharing this transformative experience with you!!!
We’re coming out ... we’re coming together ... in this season of love ... by taking it to the streets to embody the good news that ALL of us are ...
Deeply Loved ...
Richly Gifted ...
Highly Favored ...
We’ll See You On Sunday!!!
Please join us this Sunday, July 27, 2014, for Faith in Action Sunday:
Please remember that St. John's MCC is closing the doors this Sunday morning and putting our Faith in Action in downtown Raleigh.
Faith in Action Schedule:
Faith in Action Worship Service • 10:00 am
Sermon Title: "A Living Faith"
Scripture: James 2:14-23
This Sunday's Worship Service will include Communion and an Offering will be collected. The service will be held outside at the Oak City Outreach Center, which is located at 215 1/2 South Person Street in downtown Raleigh.
Faith in Action Service Projects • 11:00 am
If you are interested in helping, please stay after the Faith in Action Worship Service to be assigned to a project team.
Oak City Outreach Center Volunteer Parking