Who We Are!

Our behavioral covenant forms the middle section of our mission statement. Part one is what we discern we are called to DO….this second section is who we discern God’s Spirit is calling us to BE. And the third section is a welcome to all.

This middle section is critical for us just now, in these days of challenges and tensions.

We hold grace as our highest value. We practice honest, open, direct communication. We speak the truth in love and listen in love. We believe the best about each other, valuing others above ourselves as Christ does. We allow room for mistakes, acknowledging that mistakes are part of the growth process.

Our human tendency is to move away from these values in times of tension and stress. Don’t we all know that well! What we need to do (with the Spirit’s help!) is live into these values even more deeply as the geography of our shared journey becomes tougher for a season. Whether we are talking about masks and vaccines, or political points of view, or ministry ideas, or trying to wrestle with the theological idea of inclusion, we must root our spirits — our thoughts and reflections, our words and actions– in these deeply Christ-centered and unifying values.

It is possible for us to move together through this time without our love for each other diminishing. We can, if we so stubbornly choose, root our hard conversations in grace, and believe the best for each other. Our truth is important! yes, but it must be held and shared all wrapped up in love, and a listening ear. Honest, open and direct communication can also be careful, gentle and kind.

Let’s keep going with these values that bring us together and keep us together and help us all to grow. Here’s a good word to meditate on from the early Church, which weathered many similar seasons, from The Message translation:

So chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.

Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ–the Message– have run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives– words, actions, whatever– be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.” (Colossians 3:12-17)

Praying with you and sending all love!

Peter Hawkinson

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