“But the greatest of these is love.” I Cor. 13:13
Friends in the Faith,
Last month I wrote about our church’s core values as we express them in service, worship, and mission. One of our core values is LOVE. In the short time I’ve been with you at Totowa I have seen glimpses God’s love amongst us.
Just last Sunday, I was deeply touched by the sweetest moment when we gathered around Zelda, Carol Van Houten’s faithful furry companion, and we anointed her with oil and prayed together for her and with her. Zelda knows Totowa UMC loves her; her ears perked up and she carefully looked at each one of us. I felt like she was saying, “Thank you for loving me.”
Love is much more than saying “I love you” or sharing grandiose expressions on special occasions when we are feeling generous. The love that Jesus called us to have for the world, includes words and grandiose expressions, but it also requires a sacrificial consistency that calls us to be passionate about being present. Len Sweet describes it this way: “The essence of Wesleyan passion […], can be expressed in two words: be there.” He further says, “Jesus defines perfection (holiness) in terms of lush love and plush hospitality.”
This month we will have several opportunities to express that lush love and plush hospitality to our neighbors. Look for the announcements in this issue of the newsletter. I encourage you to start to prayerfully discern how God will use your gifts and talents to make this happen every time we come together with each other and the stranger. Ask God, “What will you have me do?” This prayer is always answered.
On Pentecost Sunday (June 4) we will light up worship wearing red and celebrating together the fire of the Holy Spirit descending upon our hearts. Love can do nothing without passion. Also this month, we will be having some fun with a new sermon series titled: Upon this Rock! The Gospel According to Rock and Roll. One of the topics we will explore is how the theology behind “Love thy Neighbor” takes central stage in the message of so many songs we memorized as teenagers. You will hear familiar tunes…as we worship God who is love.
In preparation for all that fun, we will also show some love to our church building as we have carved out time (June 3, 9-11am) to clear, clean, and organize the stage area in Cheyney Hall. Come to serve and support, even if you cannot carry things.
Know that I love you and I’m available to be present with you on the journey,