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. God has given us all we need and more if we each share what we have…and Trust God.
The First hearers of Jesus’ teaching had to make a bold decision to “break” from the past, from traditions and customs which defined them, and be willing to “march to the beat of a different drummer”. Trust begins by following God, which means allowing God to lead.
Captain Kirk’s monologue that opened every episode of the original STAR TREK is appropriate for our consideration as we prepare to receive the report of the AD HOC Team appointed by One Board to study and bring a proposal for implementing the VISION of Serve Rome. – SERVE ROME by Welcoming and Inviting All as Partners in Transformation.
We are truly seeking to “boldly go” where few have ever been. Once we follow God’s lead - we invite others to follow God with us. Following God is less about doctrine and dogma and more about radical hospitality and a willingness to be all in and all out in an all inclusive community of God followers who are ready and willing to follow God’s lead and lead others to follow God.
Marching forward into the future requires we focus on the future while being aware of the past and fully present in our present reality. As we prepare to March boldly into an unknown future, it is important to remember our opportunity and responsibility 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.
What does the Future hold for us? The future holds expanded opportunities to use the gifts, talents, skills and Grace that God has given each of us.
Gifts have been given to each of us to make a difference right where we are. 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!
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 that 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.
When the Israelites came back to the Promised Land, Moses died, and Joshua became their new leader. He sent two spies into the land and told them to look carefully at Jericho.
When the spies came back, Joshua told the Israelites, "God will give us the land; God will help us". Jericho had tall, strong walls – How were they to conquer the city?
God told the people to march around Jericho one time each day for six days. Then, on the seventh day, they were to march around Jericho seven times, blow their trumpets, and shout. When the seventh day arrived, the people followed God's instructions, and the walls came tumbling down! Now, the Israelites knew that God would help them!
Just as the faithful who gathered as the “First Methodists” in Rome 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 130 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?”
Four important dates and gatherings I hope you will put on your calendar and make plans to attend.
- March 4 at 3:00 PM in the Sanctuary of Douglasville FUMC. Come hear Ambassador Andrew Young speak on “Ripples of Change: Race, Leadership and Servanthood in the Church”.
- Tuesday, March 20 in A-203 One Board meets and hears the report of the Ad Hoc Committee appointed to research and discuss the establishment and formation of SERVE ROME. All One Board meetings are “open” for all to attend. Please make sure you come and hear the exciting report about a unique opportunity to boldly go where few have ever gone before.
- Wednesday March, 28 @ 6 PM in the Wilder Center – “From Death to Life” – A presentation co-sponsored by One Community United and Rome First featuring a real life conversation about Forgiveness, Redemption and Grace!
- Friday, March 30 @ 7 PM in the Sanctuary. A Tenebrae Service featuring musicians from Rome First and dramatic readings recounting the events of GOOD FRIDAY.
I hope to see you “marching in” to worship and into a connect group this Sunday! Shalom, Robert ><>