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Daily Encouragement - May 28

I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all, and in all.        Ephesians 4:1-6 NRSV 

On our walk around Lake Junaluska on Sunday afternoon, Rick and I happened upon a family of Canada geese crossing the sidewalk ahead of us.  The mother goose was walking confidently ahead of her little brood who followed in a straight line with papa gander bringing up the rear.  Once most of them got safely across, daddy goose went on ahead with the babies, and the mother turned to make sure everyone was accounted for.  The last little gosling was slow, and not in perfect line formation.  Mother waited for him to get there safely and then honked a gentle scolding, and they joined the rest of the family nibbling in the grass by the side of the lake.

Of late there has been a lot of discussion about “re-opening the churches.”  Is it safe?  How shall we make sure our buildings are clean and safe for all people?  How can we discourage folks who have been physically separated for so long (although since we have telephones, e-mails, text messages, and Zoom, so we are not totally isolated) from sitting close together, hugging their friends, shaking hands?  How can we encourage the wearing of masks among those who come?  How can we limit the number of folks who come into the building?  I admit that so many issues are facing churches these days that I am glad I am retired!

And yet…though our church buildings have been mostly closed, does that mean the church has been closed?  Of course not!  The word translated “church” in the New Testament is used to describe the followers of Jesus Christ.  When Jesus said to Simon Peter, “You are Peter (or as we might call him, “Rocky”) and on this rock I will build my church,” he was not referring to a building! In Paul’s writings the word is always used to mean the believers in Christ, whether in a specific location (like Ephesus) or as a whole, everywhere.

As I watched that sweet family of geese, just doing what geese do, what they were created to do, adding peace and beauty to the world, I thought about the church.  Whether we can fling open the doors and all gather together (which would be nice, I admit) or not, we can still do what we are called to do, with patience and gentleness, in love.  In the introduction to the Baptismal Covenant of the United Methodist Church we read, “The church is of God, and will be preserved to the end of time,..”  our calling is to keep it strong in difficult times like these.

I am the church!  You are the church!  We are the church together!                                                           All who follow Jesus, all around the world!  Yes, we’re the church together!

The church is not a building, the church is not a steeple,                                                                             the church is not a resting place, the church is a people!

I am the church!  You are the church!  We are the church together!                                                           All who follow Jesus, all around the world!  Yes, we’re the church together!


Dear Lord, you are the one who loved us, redeemed us, and called us to be your church in this world.  In strange and difficult times such as these, help us remember that you are always God.  You do not change and you neither slumber nor sleep, but always care for your people.  Give us courage and strength to continue to serve you in whatever circumstance we find ourselves, for we know that we are never alone.  May we as your church spread your warm beams of love, mercy, and grace wherever we are.  Amen.

Pastor Rachel Moser

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