An Update From your Pastor's Desk - 07.16.2020
Greetings to you and your family. We hope that you are staying well and healthy. This email update includes important information of what's going on at Oberlin UMC. If you have any questions please feel free to contract us.
Jesus never said that living a life of love would be easy or would result in earthly rewards. But it’s the only kind of life that gives us a foretaste of eternity now and extends beyond the grave. That’s what love does.
Letting yourself care about another creature in their suffering—whether it’s a dog or a cat or a human being—will stretch your heart and probably even break it. But Jesus teaches us that, paradoxically, we only begin to live a genuinely human existence once we care for the suffering.
When the time for his crucifixion was fast approaching, Jesus foretold the destruction of the Temple and reminded his followers of God’s promise to restore all things to wholeness. When they wondered when that would happen, Jesus basically said, “Well, you know, there’s actually no telling. But before it does, things are going to start getting pretty real around here.”
Jesus told them that there would be wars and natural disasters, persecution of religious minorities and famines. You might be accustomed to hearing this litany of suffering as a list of signs that the Second Coming is around the bend. But think about it—there have always been wars, disasters, persecutions, and famines. Jesus was saying, people suffer. Pay attention. Lean in. Make it personal.
“By your endurance you will save your souls.” (Luke 21:19) He didn’t mean that by suffering we would go to heaven. Instead, he was telling us that how we engage this world’s suffering will shape our spiritual DNA.
Suffering is a constant on this planet, and Jesus issues a remarkable invitation to his followers: Be the image of God you were created to be. God does not will or ever require suffering. In the cross and resurrection of Christ we see that God enters into human suffering in order to transform it.
When Jesus urges us to take up our cross and follow him, he is calling us to participate in his mission. To embrace the world’s suffering and let that suffering stretch us and transform us. That is how God is going to transform the whole world’s suffering into new life.
Richard Rohr said, “Christians are meant to be the visible compassion of God on earth…. They agree to embrace the imperfection and even the injustices of our world, allowing these situations to change themselves from the inside out, which is the only way things are changed anyway.” (The Universal Christ, p. 147)
Caring for those who suffer makes us vulnerable, but it does not make us fragile. Instead of leaving us shattered, it changes us “from the inside out.” We begin to love what God loves how God loves it. That is the very essence of eternal life, the life that transcends even death.
Reprinted from Ministry Matters, November 19th, 2019
Jake Owensby, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Louisiana.
Please be in Prayer for
The family and friends of Ronnie Rouse
The family and friends of Will Bouts
The family and friends of Elmo Lund
Fresh Produce Boxes
Fresh boxes will be offered again on July 17, July 31, August 14 and August 28. The boxes will be available at the Oberlin United Methodist Church parking lot, 102 North Cass beginning at 10:00 AM. There are no income guidelines and the boxes will be handed out on a first come basis. In order to supply food to more families, we will limit one box per family.
On delivery days, we ask that you to stay in your vehicle. The produce will be put in your vehicle. We will be there to help you line up.
Thank you to local, regional and state partners for making this possible. A special thank you to Thomas County Health Department and the Colby United Methodist Church for working with us to be able to make fresh produce available to residents of Oberlin.
Last Sunday, we have begun streaming online. We ask that if you do not feel comfortable in crowds, or feel ill that you join us online. You can join us online by going to https://online.oberlinumc.org or going to our website (https://oberlinumc.org) and click on Watch Online.
Please take care of yourself and each other,