Some of us scoffed Sunday at the very idea of being in worship for 6 hours (as was the crowd in Nehemiah 8:1-12). Only later did it occur to many of us that we were at Central for 6+ hours that day doing the Lord’s work. No one stood in the same place for hours on end. No one continually read and interpreted scripture like a holy filibuster, but the church leaders were together aiming to get the year off to a good start.
The previous Words from Will included a photo of last year’s church leadership. Sunday’s photo has a good many of this year’s leaders in it. Look at them. Some are smiling, as though thrilled to be serving and others appear serious, as though taking a photo is delaying the good work that needs to be done. More importantly, look at who they represent. Even with our youngest leaders off on a retreat, we have people in the photo in their early ‘30’s up to a few in their 80’s. They are charged to look after everything from the campus to the curriculum, from blood drives to basketball, from warm welcomes to meaningful worship, from outreach to outcomes.
During the commissioning Sunday, I resisted the urge to have everyone in the congregation stand. Our intention was to lift up those who have taken on particular leadership and service roles this year and seek God’s blessing on them. Even so, I wanted to also commission those not in an identified role because, they too, are critical to this enterprise. All of us are needed to do church well, to be church, as God intends.
So, whether commissioned or not, I’ll leave you with this, whatever the tasks you’re most directly engaged in at our church, be engaged as a neighbor, the kind of neighbor that Jesus taught shows mercy (Luke 10:25-37). The guests who join us for worship may not have visible wounds, but they need someone to notice them and to be merciful. The person taking a risk and sticking her head into a Bible Study or Sunday School classroom may not tell you the mercy needed in her life, but treat her as though she needs it, because she does. When you’re considering what to give to support the ministries at Central, recognize that your gifts are part of how we showing mercy in Jesus’ name. The fruits of the work we do as a church, born of our desire to honor God and have God transform us through his word, are most obvious in our acts of mercy.