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Tuesday Tidings March 5, 2024

Dearest Members of Bethlehem,

“And Jesus said to them, ‘Follow me and I will make you fishers of people.’” Mark 1:17 

Just a couple of weeks ago, we enjoyed our first session in the Lenten mid-week.  To begin the study there were a couple of questions that were posed: “What is a Christian and what are the characteristics of a Christian.”

As you might expect, the answers from those gathered were thoughtful and faithful.  During the course of that conversation there were several folks who contended that a Christian was a “disciple.”  In the days following our time together I spent some time thinking a bit about being a disciple.

Discipleship involves a three step process.  

  1.  The first step, you need to be genuinely ready for and open to an invitation from Christ.  It really is the only place a life of true discipleship can begin, understanding that like those first disciples along the sea of Galilee, you too have been called.  Just sit with that for a moment, because it’s no small matter.

  1. Next, you’ll need to think through the responsibility that you will bear, it’s only then you can truly accept that invitation.  To do so means that you will quite literally bind yourself to Jesus Christ, and will, as much as is possible “follow him.”  The values/ethics of Christ will become your values/ethics.   The wisdom of Christ will become your wisdom, the priorities of Christ will become your priorities.  You get it…

  1. And the third step of the process is all about discovery.  Andrew, James, and John were there to hear the parables, witness the healings, and gather the leftover loaves and fishes.  To assume that we are at a deficit because we happen to inhabit 2024, is quite frankly, a cop out.  The Word of God is imminently available to us too, are we immersed in it?  The glory of God’s power swirls about us constantly, have we taken notice?  Christ still asks us to stick by him and pray, have we remained awake or drifted off?

Our congregation’s focus at the moment is hospitality, welcoming neighbors into our community of faith, but not simply for the sake of it.  We really do hope to create the space in which the children of God can hear the invitation of Christ.

Confirmation and the welcoming of new members is all about empowering the faithful to embrace that invitation, and understand the life that has been offered to them.

And finally, the whole structure of our congregation, our emphases and the work of our ministry serve to actualize the final step; the worship, study, outreach/service and fellowship are the access points that help us discover God’s goodness.

We are quite serious about all this, spend a great of time trying to live into the promise, and trust with our whole hearts that God will sustain us along the way.

I am so very grateful that we are in this together.              

Question for reflection: Have you heard the call?  If so, how are you responding?

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Dan

God of love and mercy, keep us close and guide us all along the way.  We need your strength and wisdom; and we also need a sense of purpose rooted in the truth of the Gospel.  Give us everything we need to persevere in good faith. All this we pray in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, amen.

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