I really love our annual Vesper service at the Tate’s farm, and to be quite honest, I really needed it this year. It was wonderful to gather together and just be “normal” for a few hours. As I watched the kids fishing and paddling across the pond a sense of appreciation grew within me for the blessings we have.
I shared a few brief thoughts about the importance of growing together as a Church Family. I wanted to recap those thoughts for those who were not able to join us.
Luke 17:1-4 And he said to his disciples, "Temptations to sin are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come! 2 It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin. 3 Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, 4 and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, 'I repent,' you must forgive him." ESV
- We have been through an unprecedented time in our nation. The impact and effects that the last few months have had upon us are not fully discernable, but make no mistake, we have all been affected. For many of us, the changes have meant getting “used” to less interaction with others. For some of us, we may have become a bit more irritable in our social interactions. Whatever the extent of the impact of the last 8 months may have had on you personally, just know that it will also affect us corporately as well. Because of all of this, the church needs each other like never before.
- We need to extend grace to one another and be careful to not cause one another to “stumble.” This does not mean that we avoid one another, but rather we look to be gracious to one another. Our nation is growing more and more polarized, especially in a contentious election season. Rather than retreating to avoid one another within the church, we should look to prioritize our bonds in Christ above all. We need to continue to engage and interact with one another. It helps us continue to grow and be effective witnesses.
- We need to be honest, open, and loving with one another when there are offenses. As members of the same body, we should not avoid conflict, but we should do it better and more Christ-like, casting off self-righteousness for humility. When we refuse to lovingly have the conversations that need to be had, we stunt the growth of the body enabling poor behavior and creating a bad witness.
- We need to practice forgiveness with one another. Christ is using “seven times” as a figurative example of completeness.
Our relationships have been strained over the course of the pandemic. Don’t give up on them… strive to recognize that they are the building blocks of the kingdom!
Loving you all,