As we near the season of Thanksgiving, I am reflecting on what I am grateful for about this community of faith called Southminster Presbyterian Church that we share together. There are many gifts that flow out of our common ministry for which I am regularly grateful:
* A vital and longstanding commitment to mission outreach into our local community and the wider world that touches so many lives. I am grateful for our mission partners and the hard but life-giving work they do among the suffering and hurting in our local community. I am grateful for mission partnerships that bind us to the global church, for the Fletcher’s in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Wehmeyer’s in southern Mexico, the community at Berea Seminary in Chiapas, Mexico, the Maya Quiche Presbytery of Guatemala and the Twake Village in Kenya. I am grateful for the time and dedication of members to IHN, Crossline Food Kitchen, and other hands-on mission partnerships.
* I am grateful for beautiful and life-giving worship—for prayer and song and Word and proclamation.
* I am grateful that our physical space is a regular gathering place for the building of community in our neighborhood.
All this and so much more. But most of all I am grateful for the living, breathing community itself. Wendell Berry wrote these words about a faith community in his novel, Jayber Crow:
My vision of the gathered church—what I saw was the community imperfect and irresolute
but held together by the frayed and always fraying, incomplete and yet ever-holding bonds
of the various sorts of affection…If you could go back into the story of any person you would
find somebody who loved them. It was a community always disappointed in itself, disappointing
its members, always trying to contain its divisions, and gentle in its meanness, always failing
yet always preserving a sort of will toward goodwill. I knew that, in the midst of all the
ignorance and error, this was a membership; it was a membership of this place, of no other
place on earth. My vision gathered the community as it never has been and never will be
gathered in this world of time, for the community must always be marred by members who
are indifferent to it or against it, who are nonetheless its members and maybe essential to it.
And yet I saw them all as somehow perfected, beyond time, by one another’s love compassion,
and forgiveness, as it is said we may be perfect by grace.
Let us claim this grace…that we are part of a community marked by imperfections and errors, stumbling and hesitations…and yet somehow because of the persistence of love, compassion, and grace among us…all of us…those we know well and those who just walked in through the doors…we all experience a foretaste of the perfect love of God that comes through Jesus Christ.
Grace & Peace