During this Charge Conference season, we have been focusing on the word “Give!” as we go from Strength to Strength giving generously as we have received so generously from God. We sing “Give thanks with a grateful heart, give thanks to the Holy One, give thanks because he’s given Jesus Christ his Son.” Our DS, Leonard Fairley, has been delivering a message at each Charge Conference reminding us that God GAVE his only son, which is the perfect gift. He reminds us that scarcity is not God’s problem, it is ours.
Many of us will gather with family and/or friends to celebrate Thanksgiving and for most of us the food will be abundant. We will catch up on what has taken place since the last time we gathered and we will miss those who have gone on to join the Communion of Saints. We may even encounter some whom we love but whom we may have so many differences in opinion that we may find ourselves biting our tongues more than sharing common values. In spite of our differences, we will gather because of our loyalty to one another, our love for the family we have in common, and out of love and respect for our host.
A couple of months ago while attending a Lay Servant Ministry Class on United Methodist Heritage, led by my friend Rev. Dr. Marty Cauley, Marty responded to a question asked by one of the participants with a parable. He reminded us that Jesus often taught using parables and he proceeded to share a story where he described his eccentric extended family. He shared in interesting detail how they were different in their political beliefs, levels of education, socio-economic status and in their level of openness to “others”. The one thing that they all had in common was their love for the matriarch in their family, their mother and/or grandmother. He shared how they would all gather for reunions and they would go to worship in his Grandmother’s church together, would come to the table together, and they loved one another, in spite of their differences, because of their shared love for his grandmother.
Marty’s story is a wonderful reminder to each of us as we plan to get together with others to share a meal and fellowship on this Thanksgiving holiday. It is also a wonderful reminder to us as we assemble as the family of God for worship as we share something that we ALL have in common, the Lord’s Table, where ALL are welcome (at least in the United Methodist Church). We celebrate that the one and only God loved ALL of us so much that he GAVE his only son so that all of us who would accept the gift would have life everlasting, beginning today as we work together to bring the Kingdom of God to earth, at it is in heaven.
Let nothing keep us from the Lord’s Table! Let each of us set aside our differences and celebrate Gods’ love for us by loving one another, regardless of our differences. Come to the table, and celebrate God’s abundance and love for us as we GIVE and share from our abundance with one another.
If you would like to print or share this edition of Claire…ification, you are encouraged to use this pdf: Claire-ification 11.24.2015
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