Nurturing faith & shining…considering Matthew 5:14-16 & a poem

It seems so long ago now in some ways…we’ve had worship, the annual congregational meeting, sun and snow since we gathered for our last Adult Study.  Beginning fairly promptly at 10AM after opening with prayer we heard thoughts on the check-in, the question of (if) & what/how discipline can (should?) look like in church for children/youth/adults.

This is not an easy conversation.  When considering children & youth, what about their parents?  Isn’t there the possibility of overstepping?  We are excited to have families worshipping with us — if there is discipline, won’t the families just leave?  If the church disciplined you — wouldn’t you just leave?  And the conversation on discipline opened up a larger conversation, what exactly does it mean to commit to nurturing people in faith?  Do we just offer Sunday School, or is there more?  Interestingly enough this also became a theme of the annual congregational meeting in the nursery/Sunday School report — talking about meeting the needs of the children who are part of our fellowship.  What does it mean to nurture those in the faith, at any age?  What responsibilities do we have to each other, even if the conversations feel awkward?  How do we approach each other in love?  Perhaps taking care to make sure that we are approaching in love, approaching because we sincerely believe God has more for the person to experience, and approaching knowing that we ourselves also need to grow for perhaps it is well to remember,

God who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.  (Philippians 1:6b)

And that means we are not done — we are not perfect — God has begun a good work in us & is faithful to continue that work until it is completed in a time to come — God’s still working on each of us AMEN — and that includes through walking out our faith in community.  It is not a mistake we are in this family of God together, it is not a mistake that we see the world differently & God gifts us with this community — this diverse community — so that we might be able to see God more clearly!  (And spoiler alert — learning how to see God more fully — is not always comfortable!)

So we talked about some things…and then we considered scripture, Matthew 5:14-16

“You are the light of the world.  A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.  Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”  Jesus speaking  (English Standard Version)

And heard a poem, “Our Greatest Fear” by Marianne Williamson.  It was a good conversation with both those who enjoyed the poem, found it to be a “shoe that fits” and those who disagreed with the poem for different reasons.  And this (thanks be to God!) allowed for us to consider the Scripture & the poem on a deeper level thinking of the conversation they had with each other.  What does it mean to shine?  To be light in the world, in our community?  And that question leads to the homework (the lifework) of the week — to be shiny!  If we are to let our light shine before others (Scripture) or if we are in the words of Williamson to make manifest the glory of God that is within us — what does that look like?  Well…I do believe that by the grace of God and through the power of the Holy Spirit we have light to offer to the world and in the specifics of our lives and our community contexts!  So – I am looking forward to the stories yet to come about a week of being “shiny” a week of sharing light!

Until Sunday (when we we likely will again allow scripture to dialogue with us & another piece of writing!  Get excited!) be blessed & keep on shining!

~ Rev. Sabrina Slater  

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