Happy New Year to you and your loved ones. After the Season of Advent and twelve days of Christmas the liturgical calendar takes us to the celebration of Epiphany of the Lord on January 6th with these words of prophet Isaiah:
Arise, shine; for your light has come,
and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.
For darkness shall cover the earth,
and thick darkness the peoples;
but the Lord will arise upon you,
and his glory will appear over you. (Isaiah 60:1-2)
Indeed! “Come and See” is the theme the worship team has chosen for the Season of Epiphany. I pray that our eyes are open to see what God doing in you, with you, and in the world through the faithful people of FirstUnitedMethodistChurch. Below is what I wrote as Pastor’s Report to our annual Charge Conference held on December 14. I look forward to 2014 with renewed hope and prayer.
In this past year we said good-bye to long-time pillars of our church: Robert Runnels, Diane Waldburger, Carolyn Thurman and Paul Criquelion. Their spirit and legacy will live on. Each has contributed to the life of our congregation in his/her unique way. I honor their memories which will always be part of our church. We are more than the collection of individuals. When we come together in the Spirit of Christ we become something infinitely more—the body of Christ. All manner of our differences become the material in God’s rainbow tapestry that is the Church. Our beautifully diverse congregation is a gift to us and to the world, a witness to God who reconciles the world to Godself through Christ’s sacrificial love. I am inspired by your examples. While you tend to your area of ministry with dedication and passion you reach out and hold each others’ hands for the good of the whole body.
“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Let eh same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus….” (Philippians 2: 3-5)
“Though we cannot think alike, may we not love alike? May we not be of one heart, though we are not of one opinion? Without all doubt, we may. Herein all the children of God may unite, notwithstanding these smaller differences.” (John Wesley)
In the new year we will continue to:
-learn to be the body of Christ through bearing each others’ burden, cherishing and nurturing the unique gifts and graces each bring to the table, and deepening our spirituality in study, prayer and sharing of our stories in worship and small groups;
-re-think church to grow our congregation and our impact in the world by unleashing passions and expertise of the laity.
My primary responsibility as the appointed clergy is to be the spiritual leader. I will be more intentional about spending more time in prayer, study, sermon preparation and personal retreat.
Your servant in Christ,
Rev. Eun-sang Lee