A Message from Ann Beaty

I’ve often wondered what it must have been like for Jesus’ followers in those early days following his death. While the gospel accounts vary slightly in the details, it is clear that they were struggling – hurt, confused, stunned, and lost. With Jesus as their teacher and friend gone, they had to re-define community and discover what the present and future would mean as his followers.

The disciples would go on to claim that they indeed were still community formed around the presence of Christ. What they had been given in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ was a gift from God and could not be taken away. 

The quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer reminds me that Christian community is not something of our own making. It is a gift from God. Community is a lot of things and at our best we encourage, love, support and sometimes nudge one another in our life together as Christians. 

I have been a part of a number of Christian communities over the years of my life, and they have all influenced who I am today. There have been times when I offered my best self and times when I let the community down. There have been times when the community carried me through something I couldn’t do on my own, and times when I have been hurt by the imperfections of community. 

For a number of years I was part of a small group that met monthly to pray for the local congregation we were members of. The group started when we were in transition to a new senior minister and we wanted to have an intentional time to hold the church in prayer during the transition.

The structure around our prayer time was very simple. After a time of silence, we each reflected on some way we had witnessed the presence of God in the life of the congregation and its ministries.  After a time of sharing, we went back into silence to pray for what we had heard. 

What transpired out of that prayer time was often centered around gratitude for the church. And in experiencing gratitude as a spiritual gift, we were opened to new ways we could be Christian community in our church, neighborhood, city, and world.

I am grateful for the many ways you have welcomed me (and Carol) into the community of First Congregational in these last 2 months. You have been warm, hospitable, helpful and patient as I learn names and get to know you and the ministries of our church.

I am inspired by the ways you care for one another and are involved in working for love and justice beyond the congregation. It challenges me to look at my own walk as a Christian and reflect on how I might be supported to offer my gifts and take risks into new areas of service.

In these post-Easter months I look forward to the ways we will all work together to continue to be led by God and define our work in the world as followers of Christ.

 

With gratitude,

Ann Beaty

Associate Minister

 

 

Posted on April 22, 2014 at 9:40 am in Featured Content.

RSS Feeds