Sunday, January 13, 2013

Building Bridges

Read 2 Corinthians 5:17-20

Another way folk get drawn into mission and working for God is to look around a community and world at everything that isn’t working as we know it should. Many of the chapters of Genesis show the power and consequences of sin. Humanity is tossed out of the Garden of Eden due to our sin- our striving to be like God, our weakness in the face of any temptation, our perpetual hunger and inclination to rationalize anything and everything we do. In our sin we break covenant with God and with one another. And don’t be mistaken, this isn’t sin on a “graded curve” as we tend to think of it, i.e. “I’m not as bad as my neighbor.” Rather, our willfulness, our disobedience, our selfishness, our lack of repentance, all form the basis for every sin which separates us from God and from humanity.

As life moves forward, and the story of Genesis (which really is our story) progresses, we see that sin is added to sin until the most outrageous acts seem ordinary and barely newsworthy. Our separation from God and from neighbor is compounded, it’s multiplied, as collectively we would rather erect fortresses and barricades rather than engage in efforts and lifestyles that are reconciling and building bridges. One is a way of alienation and the other a way of restoration and harmony. One is a chaos of broken relationship/s and the other a way of new birth and new creations.

Focus on our community and think about the state of our lives, our homes, our workplaces, and our neighborhoods from a spiritual perspective. Now, beware being judgmental, because we are brothers and sisters and all prone to sin, but consider the spiritual root of the ills of our lives and our society. Galatians 5:19-21 reminds us of the power of sin and what occurs when sin runs rampant in a person or in a neighborhood. The aim of an abundant life, a shalom life, a life relying on the grace of God, following the way of Christ, and seeking sanctification is shown in Galatians 5:22-26.

God is “building bridges” to us and through us. Ask yourself: What does this mean in our lives? What does this mean for our church? What does this mean for our community? How might we practically serve Christ as a witness locally, nationally, or internationally? How might we take steps toward an incarnational, missional lifestyle this year?

As we prepare for TOC 2013 pray for The United Methodist Church, the General Board of Global Ministries, United Methodist Volunteers in Missions (UMVIM), and the related denominational missional organizations that we make possible by our shared apportionments. The “connectional” nature of the UMC has local, national, and global implications. Many of the leaders in our TOC are representative of the faithful apportionment giving of UMC churches, and now serve all over the world to continue the “circuit rider” spirit of Methodism in the 21st Century.

Pray for John & Donna Bearden who are UMVIM missionaries serving in the Dominican Republic. They are from Waynesboro, and after working 20 years locally they retired and moved to the place they’d served so faithfully on mission teams over many years.

Learn more: Enjoy the Bearden’s website or you can find them on Facebook. Here’s a quick view of apportionment giving.  You may also find the larger perspective of our global United Methodist denomination or our mission agency useful.

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