It has been good to spend time on our focus words during this season of sabbatical preparation. Two weeks ago, we considered the word building. Last week, we talked about community. We come this week to the final word, Presence.
In our last mission statement (from 2011), the final word was impact. Certainly, this is a good word; we want to impact our world. Our desire is to be Salt and Light (Matthew 5:13-16) in a dark world. By moving away from the word impact, we are not discounting Jesus’ admonition to influence our community and culture. Yet the word presence communicates a different demeanor. In some ways, we are no longer responsible for the significance of our ministry. We relinquish the results to God.
On Sunday, we will explore together God’s presence with his people and consider our responsibility to join God’s work (presence) in our world. We assume that God is active, working, moving in our world; he is already present. Our function is to participate with God in his work. What does this look like? Jesus gives us an indication in Matthew 25. He tells us,
(Matthew 25:35-36 NIV) For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
Join us on Sunday as we explore this teaching. We will consider how God’s presence with us prompts us to be present with those who are suffering. Certainly, we will impact our world if we join God on his mission. Yet our disposition is quite different when we release control and learn to join God in the work he is already doing on our world.