From the Pastor …
Here you will find notes from Rev. Laura Bachmann from the weekly email blasts and from our monthly Harbinger newsletter.
He has told you, O Mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8
These words echoed in my soul as I watched the violence unfold in our nation’s capital last Wednesday. The vision of a Jesus flag waving in the wind as an armed and angry mob stormed the capitol could not have provided a starker contrast to the world our God calls us to create. We know, beloved community, what God requires of us – to do justice by giving voice to the oppressed and creating space at the table for the silenced, to love kindness by feeding the hungry, welcoming the stranger and visiting the imprisoned; to walk humbly with God by embracing God’s love as the defining characteristic of our lives, showing compassion and understanding and putting the needs of those on the margins ahead of our own desires. As the new year unfolds and we face a virus surging amid ever increasing infections and deaths, we are challenged to face also the blooming infection of uncontained hatred and violence that has been quietly thriving across our country. God calls us to confront this plague with the balm of loving kindness, the power of prophetic truth, and the humility of an open mind and a willing heart. We are called to be the change we want to see in the community around us. Let us start this week with intentional efforts to root out our own prejudice, to dig deep for the compassion and understanding God calls us to offer our enemy, to commit to speaking truth in the face of oppression, discrimination, and marginalizing behavior. Transformative change happens only in the context of relationships, let us start building the ones we need to bring change into our world by the power of the Holy Spirit.
January 2020 Harbinger
For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. (1Corinthians 12:12-13)
This month, we will usher in the new year by celebrating the Baptism of our Lord and renewing our own baptismal vows, reminding ourselves of Jesus’ invitation to dwell in him as he dwells in us, joining together as one body with many members, each of us baptized into the one Spirit and grafted into Christ, each of us gifted with exactly the skills and abilities and perspectives needed to build God’s kingdom here on earth. Thinking about renewing our commitment to becoming Christ’s body in the world brings me hope, fills me with anticipation for the work and the fellowship to come, and energizes me to remain steadfast even as the world spins off its track and we wonder how much more we will be asked to face. The great hope of the tiny baby we welcomed at Christmas lies in his great gift and invitation to us – a gift of grace and salvation, forgiveness and fellowship, joy and peace, and an invitation to partner with God in God’s salvation work in the world.
As we step out into a new year which we hope will end far differently than it has begun, to renew our baptism is to accept God’s invitation to live into the hope it symbolizes. It is to trust in the coming of a new creation, even when we cannot see it. It is to rely on the presence of the Holy One in every circumstance and challenge we find before us. Even as we revisit the waters of our baptism – waters that remind us of the lifegiving waters of the creation, the turbulent waves of the flood, the rushing streams of righteousness, and the revealing plunge of Jesus’ baptism – we receive the water of new life Jesus promises all those who love him. We do not have to do anything to receive this gift. We do not have to “be” anything to receive this gift. We do not earn it, or buy it, or steal it. It is already ours. Jesus has given it to us, a present to make us whole, to bring us new life, to encourage our wandering feet to return to the path.
Our challenge this year, is to live into our baptisms together. As we ordain and install our new elders, deacons and trustees, we begin the concrete work of listening for God’s call to us in this particular time and place. Where are we to focus our energy? What matters most and what can we set aside? Where are we each called to contribute to the slow work of God? As we enter the new year, God invites us to imagine with God what GPC can become. I welcome your prayers and your insights, your vision and discernment. Let us plunge together into the waters of our baptism, soaking in God’s Spirit and awaiting with anticipation the new life that is sure to follow.
© 2021 Rev. Laura Bachmann
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