WHEN JESUS FED THE 4,000, the disciples were concerned because they could not see how to meet the needs at hand. “Jesus said to them, ‘How much do you have?’ Jesus showed them it was enough. After all were fed, there was an abundance left over.” (Matthew 15:34-38) God has given us all we need and more if we each share what we have…it’s in our hands.
It is in our hands to let the people who walk through the doors of Rome First know that we are all held in God’s hands! For those individuals who have yet to walk through the doors at Rome First, we seek to bring hope for the future, as we reach out our hands to the people of Rome who are seeking a community of grace, and a place to connect with the Body of Christ. It is in our hands, to use the gifts, talents, skill and grace that God has given to each of us, to make a difference right where we are.
It is in our hands to let the people who walk through the doors know that we are all held in God’s hands!
For those individuals who have not even been born yet, we look to the future and seek to grow the reach of the ministry and mission of Rome First. The doors that have yet to open in the future are made possible because we remember to use what is in our hands today and we remember that we are all held in God’s faithful and loving hands. Even though we cannot see into the future to know what it holds, we practice a forward-looking faithful generosity that is born out of the assurance that we are all in God’s hands. It is in our hands to let the people who will walk through the doors in the future know that we are all held in God’s hands!
It is in our hands to let the people who walk through the doors know that we are all held in God’s hands! When we look at the big, exciting vision for the future God offers, we are called to trust God to do what seems impossible to us. Jesus showed the disciples what they had was enough to feed thousands of people with leftovers abounding. Scripture shows us over and over again how God works through ordinary people to do the extraordinary.
Consider the illustrious past of Rome First, I found a copy of a “copy” of a bulletin from July, 1888 as I was looking through a folder that had fallen into the back of the drawer of the credenza in my study. In that “copy” of the 1888 bulletin, the following excerpts from the Tribune of Rome, for Thursday, July 12, 1888, included the following headline – “Opening exercises of the First Methodist Church .” The article began – “Sunday was a great day in Rome. There was rejoicing among Methodists over the completion of the First Methodist Church and the opening exercises held there. The other churches of the city were closed, and all Christians rejoiced with the Methodist denomination. …At the morning services, the people began to gather two hours before time for the exercises to begin. At 10:30 o’clock, a half an hour before the time for service, there was not a single seat vacant. Chairs were then used and the aisles on either side lined with them from the pulpit to the entrance. The scene from the gallery of the vast audience was a pretty one, indeed, with its bright colors and ceaseless waving of fans.
The Music was an especial feature of the great occasion. The programme, as published in the Tribune Sunday morning, was fully carried out at both services. Its rendition by the choir was thought by many to be the finest church music ever heard in Rome. Prof. Snow, the organist and director, is to be congratulated on the success… At 11 o’clock precisely, under the skillful touch of Professor Snow, the ‘Andante in C’ by Mendelssohn, pealed from the handsome organ. The choir sang superbly, ‘O Sing unto the Lord,’ by Worke, as a voluntary. The soprano, tenor and basso solos were especially fine…At the close of the service, Dr. Lee spoke of the church, which he said he believed was the best built church he had ever seen. It is a monument to those who contributed to its building and unless fire burned it down he believed it would last for 500 years.”
Now some 129 years after the opening “exercises were celebrated”, then as now, the beautiful sanctuary, the magnificent pipe organ and the wonderful music provided by faithful members of a superb choir are hallmarks of the tradition that is synonymous with Rome First. We have an illustrious history as a people who are blessed recipients of God’s Grace and faithful followers who are blessed to share the blessings of God’s amazing Love.
In the same “copy of the bulletin” from 1888 the section that is entitled “Description and History” begins – “The First Methodist Church of Rome, Ga., is a magnificent structure costing $40,000.00”. I am certain that there were many sacrifices made by folks who purposed to establish the people called Methodists in this fine city. I can scarcely imagine that anyone in the congregation on that hot day in July 1888 ever imagined the diversity of ministries that are now synonymous with Rome First. As we who gather to worship each Sunday, we can scarcely imagine what the folks 129 years ago sacrificed to make a space for us to gather to worship, study and serve the community that surrounds us.
Just as the faithful who gathered in 1888 made sacrifices so we can worship and serve today, we are invited to “March on” to create new spaces for those who will assemble in these same spaces 129 years hence! Marching into the future with God, we already have all we need to do all that is before us! God has already put in our hands all that is needed; the question is, “Are you ready to go ALL in and Go ALL out to do whatever it takes to share the Love of God with ALL God’s children?”
I hope to see you “marching in” to worship and into a connect group this Sunday!