“My peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you: not as the world gives, give I to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14: 27)
In these words of Christ, we are both comforted and challenged. The care comes from the very word peace, which is rooted in wholeness and suggests that we are blessed to be fully who God has created us to be. As for the challenge, it is clear that Jesus does not give as the world gives—with conditions and pitfalls. Jesus’ love is unconditional, and as the hands and feet of Christ on Earth, we are also sent forth to share God’s love in boundless ways with everyone we meet. From a hug to a smile, from a listening ear to an open heart, we are called to be as Christ to those in need. And sometimes, the one in need is ME!
Since arriving at Immanuel United Church less than two weeks ago, my family and I have been welcomed with open arms by everyone. And let me emphasize here that this gesture helped to meet a great need for us. With changing our address, our church home, and packing up as best we can, we have not stopped to exercise a lot of self-care—we’ve mostly been about the business of moving. But the love and hospitality of Immanuel United Church has been a breath of fresh air, a reminder to stop and enjoy this invitation to serve a beloved community of faith.
I am terribly excited to get started in so many areas that it’s hard to choose one, but as wise persons have told me, “Don’t try to do everything at the start. Take time to get acquainted and relax.” And so I shall! But, I have managed to participate in a few events and visit some beloved members that haven’t been able to make it to church in quite a while. Already, I am thanking God for giving me the opportunity to work together with y’all as we endeavor to live out Christ’s exhortation to be a neighbor to all of our sisters and brothers, and to love them as we love ourselves.
Rest assured that you have lived out this call faithfully for a long time, and I am so grateful for that fidelity. It is great preparation for the journey ahead! Here’s to many more unexpected encounters and community milestones as we follow Christ into the new thing that God is doing in Spring, TX.