Often during this time of the year we are invited to reflect on the past and to make resolutions about how we would like to live in the year to come. Personally, I would rather reflect on my life than change my behavior or patterns.
Although this might have something to do with the abundant amount of food and festivities over the Christmas season I think that it has even more to do with the reality that resolutions take planning and effort. It can be difficult to know where to begin…what most needs to be changed? Where or how could God be calling me right now? Where should I start?
This is precisely where we want to start together during January. At the end of our last annual meeting Pastor John pledged that throughout the upcoming year we would be working to strengthen the global mission focus in our congregation. Since that time we have hosted meetings, attended training events, prayed for direction and listened to how God is calling us forward. We have learned a great deal during this time of reflection and research.
I believe that our learnings can be summed up eloquently by Mother Teresa who said, "Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin."
As we take an honest assessment of the world around us locally and globally we see evidence of social injustice, racism, inequality and political oppression. For some of us, this can be as overwhelming of a reality as stepping on the scale New Year’s Day!
We can let the enormity of the problem paralyze us or we can just start – which is precisely what we are inviting and encouraging you to do at Gethsemane during the months of January and February. Let’s just start doing something new, something more than we’ve done before about mission.
Our just start initiative will include:
- a weekly preaching focus on "Becoming a Good Samaritan" including a guest preacher on the accompaniment model of mission work;
- using Latino-inspired liturgy in worship
- engaging adult and high school Sunday morning education with a DVD-based curriculum
- a visit from a refugee author sharing her story;
- a community movie and discussion night;
- and special education opportunities for our Sunday School students.
Throughout the mission-focused study and reflection time we will come to understand how we can become Good Samaritans, right now, right where we live.
Let’s take this next step together! Join us in fully embracing the mission and spirit of our faith as we seek to obey Jesus’ command to "Go and do likewise" and just start Becoming A Good Samaritan! Throughout this 6-week initiative we will be challenged to identify our next steps individually and as a congregation related to mission.