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Autumn Foliage

Looking in the Mirror

In the musical Tommy a mirror is shattered and a young man is liberated from a life of being shut off from.....well, just about everything and everybody. He sings a song called, “I’m Free”. One of the lyrics proclaims “...Freedom Tastes of Reality”. There’s a falsehood the world tries to sell us about position, status, and the power to influence and manipulate others. It is a falsehood; and empty promise that entices us to put ourselves in the center of our world. Much like the boy, Tommy, who stared and stared at his own reflection missing the reality of life and its possibilities. As one discovers a life in Christ, the “mirror” of the culture that reflects its empty promises back at us is shattered by the power of God’s grace! We discover the wonderful taste of the reality of God’s love, the power of God’s Spirit, and the presence of the Living Christ!

So much is possible if we take the effort to step beyond the trivial and numbingly constant beat of a culture telling us we’re just a bit short of “being good enough”. That the answers to a life of meaning is found in the accumulation of things, having more than my neighbors, and measuring one’s influence and status at the cost of other’s.

Tommy’s liberation is literally a song of joy as he discovers new possibilities. His limitations are overcome, and his joy is found in that a true reality of discovery and freedom are his to explore! How alike is the liberation of one who discovers their belovedness in God. Tommy then invites others to discover this joy of liberation. And again, we are called to invite and seek, and work for the liberation of others from the destructive systems and practices of our culture. The lie of a disciple is to live in grace and work for the liberation and transformation of others. We see this in our denomination’s Mission Statement: Building Disciples for the transformation of the world. Or from our own congregation’s Vision Statement: ”....We will strive to share God’s grace with all for the transformation of ourselves, our community, and the world.”

Later in the song, the lyrics say, “The Messiah’s pointed to the door but no one has the guts to leave the temple”. To move into liberation and new life is risky business and calls us to new things, new understandings, and new ways of living. Yet we can become a bit too comfortable in our surroundings. Even when it comes to our faith. Yet God calls us time and time again out of tired rites, rituals, and practices. In scripture we hear the prophets telling us again and again that God is saying the old ways are passing away and new things are being revealed. The question in the scriptures and to us is said, “Do you not perceive them?

Are we looking for the new thing God is declaring and/or showing us? The promise of God’s New day is all about us – each day! We need only shatter the patterns of limitation, decline, status quo, selfishness, disbelief. Do we “have the guts” to leave the tired, unfulfilling routine and break away into the beautiful vistas of Grace, Justice, Promise, and New Life?

As we approach the upcoming Fall and program year, there is so much potential about and among us! Our Three-Year Vision Plan is beginning to bear fruit and build promise. Our Youth had their most successful retreat in years just a month ago coming on the heals of one of it’s most productive/active program years. The “Rhubarb” Sunday and our Church Picnic were this past Spring and Summer saw new faces participating, over half of the kids at our Vacation Bible camp were new to church! The choir is coming back together! And these are only some of the exciting and new things God is doing amongst us! We stand at the cusp of a new program year that has the potential to build disciples and grow the church in ways we can’t even imagine! I invite and strongly encourage each of us to live into these new days full of the promises, possibilities, and opportunities of being the Easter People! Do this by coming on Sunday’s, joining a small group in mission, or ministry, or fellowship. Participate in one of the church’s many opportunities in serving our neighbors and reaching out in our community. As we are liberated in grace, who we will become will be thrilling to see! “If the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed!” (John 8:36)

Be God’s, Pastor Jim

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