Carried In Community

Dear Friends,
I pray you had a blessed and restful Labor Day weekend. However, I realize that for some, it was anything but restful. Many are worried, concerned, frightened, and anxious over any number of things. This makes it difficult to rest when our minds are racing with all of the uncertainties of life. Last Sunday, as we began our worship at First UMC with receiving prayer concerns, as we usually do, those in attendance were reminded of the burdens that are on some of our hearts. I am grateful that our members feel closely connected – enough to be vulnerable among one another – enough to share from one’s heart – enough to ask for the prayers and support of those brothers and sisters in Christ that make up their Community of Faith.
A Community of Faith. That is exactly what we are going to begin celebrating and thinking intentionally about this Sunday as we kick-off our “Together: Created for Community” fall preaching and worship series.
As I was scrolling through my Facebook timeline this morning, I came across an image that one of our 

Together: Created for Community

church members shared. On the surface, the image depicts three friends carrying one another over a hole. The image depicts more than that, however. There is a strong message in the image of how, individually, something might seem, or be, impossible to overcome, but together – in community – it can be done. In community, we do carry one another.
This image depicts the same message that has been so often described in the popular, Footprints Poem – that when it seemed we were at our rope’s end, and that God was nowhere in sight (only one set of footprints), it was at that time/moment when God was carrying you (His footprints). This depicts communities of faith like First UMC when we model God’s example of carrying others when needed.
As we celebrate this month at First UMC, how God has created us to be in community, recognize the ways that others in your communities are carrying you, and how you may be carrying others. Not only is this an image of community, it is an image of the Body of Christ, and how each member is critical to the functioning as a whole of the Body. I always pray and hope that all, in any community of faith, might realize their belonging and their role within that community. Our upcoming “Living Your Strengths” study will help in discovering your God-given strengths how you might best use them within the communities you live, work, and worship.
I am excited to be together with you all this coming Rally Sunday as we learn about, celebrate, and BE the community that God created us to be.
We’ll worship OUTDOORS at 10:00 AM in the pavilion. Come early at 8:30 a.m. for a hot breakfast prepared and served by Scott and Wendy Braski. Stay late for games and activities outside for the children and youth. All morning long we’ll have our Mission & Ministry Fair going on for all to see and be reminded of the many ways First UMC is making a difference in our faith community and beyond, in Jesus’ name.
Together, in service …
Pr. Dale