Centerport United Methodist Church
The Pastors' messages comes from the May issue of our monthly church newsletter - The Focus.

Unshakeable, Unremitting Love


 

    One Easter at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., a woman named Diane told her story. It was a story of rebellion and attempted rejection, but also a tale of the power of unremitting love. Diane grew up in a good, loving home – family outings, birthday parties, softball games, dance classes, even church. But for some reason Diane never felt good about herself, especially when she reached adolescence. In high school the symptoms appeared: drugs, alcohol, staying out all night, lying and stealing.   
The family was increasingly in crisis as they tried to reach out to Diane while at the same time attempting to maintain some stability in their life together, to hold on to the values that they believed in as a family. There were the rounds of counseling sessions, rehab for Diane, tough love, tears and prayers. But the more her parents reached out to her, the more rebellious Diane became.   
Finally, she ran away from home. She started living the kind of life that she now says she doesn’t even want to talk about. In her late twenties, things began to change. Diane talked about what had happened to her.   
“At first, I felt my parents’ love was unnecessary. It was smothering love. Then as things got worse, I began to feel unlovable. I think I resented my parents because if I was unlovable, then I could do what I wanted and it wouldn’t matter. But as long as I knew I was loved, I wasn’t free to do my thing. So I needed to destroy their love in order to be free. But they never stopped loving me. Even when I got arrested, and they refused to bail me out of jail, I could see the pain of love in their eyes. Now I realize how much I needed their love, and that it was their love and prayers that kept me alive all those years. 
What amazes me most of all is that my worst could not destroy their love for me.” Easter operates on many levels—the rebirth of hope, the triumph of life over death, the opportunity to begin again, and again, and again. 
But Easter also displays a God whose love for us is like a parent’s love for a prodigal child. Even if we reject God, God will never reject us, never turn away from us. Even when we do evil things, God, out of pure love, will find a way to make something good come from it.   

“What amazes me most of all is that my worst could not destroy their love for me.”  

As Mother’s Day approaches, let us remember those whose love for us was never in question, no matter how far we roamed from home. And let us pledge to be bearers of this unshakeable love for others. 
During this Resurrection season, let us remember the God whose love for us never diminishes, never wavers, never dies. And let us turn to this God to find what good can be born from the worst things we do. Mother’s Day, Easter season, endless life—just imagine that God can feel about us the way we feel about our own children and you begin to get a sense of just how far our loving Heavenly Parent will go for us. It’s really pretty amazing.  


 Pastor Roy        

 


Greetings My Sisters and Brothers in Christ…it appears that spring may have finally arrived. The flowers are blooming, there is a green fullness to our lawns, there is lots of motion and movement, as we no longer feel trapped inside our homes and dwellings because of the cold…we are getting outside, we doing things, we feel a newness of life. 

 

Last month we celebrated Easter, which is the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus, which in my mind, means we now have new life with God the Father, given to us by the acts of Jesus the Son. So, just as the season of spring provides new life to our external surroundings, Easter provides us with internal new life…New Life in Christ Jesus.

 

I believe that New Life in Christ Jesus affords us with the opportunity to embrace the holy habits that essentially should be the foundation and core of our Christian life, as these habits help shape the activities of our lives as we follow Jesus.  For many of us, we take on the persona of a winter experience…we become covered with things of this world, that lay on top of us and prevent us from growing…from building our faith. New Life in Jesus is our time to take on the persona of spring, it is the time for our faith to bud, to break through the soil and reach outward and upward to God.

 

Long ago on the shores of Lake Galilee the disciples first heard the call of Jesus, and set out on an adventure, called Christian discipleship.  Today, there are many people who still hear that call, but now question what it sounds like and looks like and means for us in the twenty-first century. 

 

Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; form now on you will fish for people”. So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him. Luke 5:10b-11 NIV

 

They say that the call of Jesus, the call to Christian discipleship actually begins with the call of Jesus to follow. Thus, despite the unknowns surrounding this call, the initiative we have is from Jesus, to follow him is our invitation to share his life, to share in his mission, and ultimately to share in his sufferings.  Some also believe that as we respond to this call, we have no idea where this journey will lead us. However, I believe that while we may not know our final destination, there are some things that we do know when we answer the call: 1) The call is about re-prioritization – making God first and foremost in our lives; 2) the call is about transformation - the willingness to open ourselves up to learning, to growing, to engaging ourselves in areas that are new, and changing our hearts and minds to reflect the teaching of Jesus Christ; 3) the call is about action – words without works are simply empty words. Thus we have to become willing to not just say things, but to do things, to become active in the mission to change the kingdom – while we are still here on earth.

 

My Sisters and Brothers, following Jesus is a call to follow the inspiring, challenging, always loving one, and it is not a philosophy or a set of ideas, or a set of regulations.  It is actively living out our discipleship on a journey, a spirit filled adventure that leads us to follow with both our prayers and imaginations, with the Holy Spirit, a gift from God, lifting us up, illuminating our hearts and leading us, as we follow the call of Jesus.  And as we follow Jesus, we follow his footsteps to the cross, we follow his example of loving those who are outcasts, praying for those who are sick and are in need, loving others…following because by his love, by his power, by his grace, by his truth, and by his forgiveness of our sins…we understand his love for us and this love is our catalyst, driving us to be strong, committed and faithful followers of Christ Jesus, the Son of God.

 

“Finally Brothers…good-by.  Aim for perfection, listen to my appeal, and be of one mind…live in peace.  And the God of love and peace will be with you.” “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” 2 Corinthians 13:11, 14


Just as Easter is a time that we reflect on Christ and celebrate his resurrection, let us also remember that Christ died for all of us!!!  And it is the responsibility of each and every one of us, who call ourselves Christians to be united in our works and the goal of spreading the Good News.


From the Father…To the Son…To Us…To the World!

Have a Blessed and Fruitful Journey with Christ!

 

  
Brother Wayne Redman
Certified Lay Minister