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Disaster Response for Oklahoma
Bethany Presbyterian participates in Disaster Assistance through the Presbyterian Church (USA). If you would like to learn more about how you can assist those affected by the recent tornados through financial giving, participation or prayer, information may be found here: Presbyterian Disaster Assistance.
Spending Time Together
Doug Kelly, Head of Staff
All life is meeting. - Martin Buber
Community is the place where the person you least want to live with always lives. - Henri Nouwen
It is better to eat Twinkies with good friends than to eat broccoli alone. - John Ortberg
As we enter May we have a big celebration coming—Pentecost. May 19th is when we celebrate the birthday of the Christian Church. In Acts 2 we hear of the movement of the Holy Spirit which like tongues of fire moved across all kinds of language barriers and announced the good news. Peter preached a dynamite sermon and the church had the largest new member class in history when 3,000 people became a part of the body of Christ. Then Luke describes the life of this young Jerusalem community:
“Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people.”
Pentecost is about mission, the sending of the church. Pentecost is about the Holy Spirit moving like fire in uncontrollable ways. But Pentecost is also about community – they spent much time together.
I am beginning my fourth month now as your pastor at Bethany and I have just got to say, I love spending time with you. I love gathering with you in our sanctuary praising God in song, praying our pains and joys aloud, and listening to the scriptures. My soul is fed in time with staff and gathering with our elders. I have relished the time with a number of home groups and different types of fellowship groups. Martin Buber was on to something – “All life is meeting.”
Of course, community has a down side as well in that we do not get to choose who comes to the baptismal font. Henri Nouwen is on to something when he says, “Community is the place where the person you least want to live with always lives.”
In the church Jesus created, we are not just hanging out with buddies; we are in community with people who are different. I always get a kick out of the fact that Jesus had a Roman collaborating tax collector as part of his inner twelve as well as a Roman hating zealot. Can you imagine the conversation around the camp fire?
I like the joy and mess of community; both the ease and effort of it. I hope you are finding your community at Bethany whether that is in a home group, an affinity group, in serving in a ministry, or simply the weekly community of worship.
And may I challenge us to experiment in creating new ways for people to find community. Cathy Hayashi, our group life elder, is leading our effort to start new home groups. Yet it is not just up to her. All of us are called to spend time together whether that is greeting a visitor at the three minute ministry following worship in your own introverted way, or leading a home group, or hanging out with our community at Wednesday night dinners. All life is meeting.