Have you ever longed for a community of those who believe in God and name Jesus as God’s Messiah, who all know that they are not nor ever will be as good as they “should” or “could be”? Shouldn’t there be such a community? Was Jesus judgmental or shaming of those who desperately needed him? No, however, Jesus did have a lot to say to those who thought they didn’t need Him that they had this whole ‘God thing’ sewn up. We know that the early church struggled with these things, and why shouldn’t they? The religious leaders in Israel were all into what Paul the Jesus follower called: “a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear? “ (Acts 25:10) I know that I have. I have longed for something new: a “new thing” as the prophet Isaiah wrote of God saying.
This generation has had enough of rigidity, dead religion and “boring church services”. But there is a difference in “going to church” and “being the church”. The word “church” means assembly and has nothing to do with a building as it is commonly used. I believe that God is leading me to begin just what I am describing. What would we expect from Jesus? Would it not be a friend, non-judgmental and separating, but unifying –accepting people for who they are not as others think they should be: inclusive of all sorts and conditions in which people find themselves. This community would be one of people who genuinely care for one another, for whom they ‘are’ their brother and sister’s keeper. This community will worship and learn, be filled with joy and come to know God better. This community will gather to try to be what Jesus founded with the disciples. This community will be one of celebration, one of extreme hospitality and caring, one in whom the love of Jesus is above all things. This community will utilize the talents and abilities of its members, knowing that God has given every Jesus follower a “charism” a “gift from God” for ministry. We will be both old and new, capable of dynamic worship and contemplative moments of quiet with God. We will strive to be a place where we are fed spiritually and leave with a sense of hope and joy in our hearts! We will use Tradition as a vehicle to communicate Truths about God in Words of the Bible as they are faithfully, but perhaps with a different message than you’ve heard before. We will minister through Sacraments where God ministers to us in Baptism, Holy Communion, healing, marriage of couples and even in ordination to adapt the contemporary to heart-felt spirituality, not just form but substance. Would you like to open yourself up to something old and new, not dead but vigorously alive, counting on God’s Spirit to fill us with all that Jesus died to give his followers. This is your invitation. This could be your time. We are laying plans now. If you are moved to join us, call the office and leave a message at 912-358-0217. I am pastor and priest Rob Bagwell. Jesus is calling me, is he calling you as well?