For the past couple days I was at Stronghold, for Presbytery business as part of Commission on Ministry. If this is your first time when you hear about the work of COM, let me try to summarize what this is: helping church stay connected, help churches in time of crises, and support the greater mission of the church as we live out our call as presbyterians.

These two days, have reminded me that we all go trough ups and downs. Churches are indeed like a family. Sometimes we function well, we communicate effectively and sometimes we fail at being the church. And as we work as a body, we are called to live out as Christians, being more than just a name on a church roster. We are Christians living out Christ’s call in this world. Even when we disagree, or have opposite points of views we are still Christians. We are still family.

Luke 6:17-26The Message (MSG)

You’re Blessed

17-21 Coming down off the mountain with them, he stood on a plain surrounded by disciples, and was soon joined by a huge congregation from all over Judea and Jerusalem, even from the seaside towns of Tyre and Sidon. They had come both to hear him and to be cured of their ailments. Those disturbed by evil spirits were healed. Everyone was trying to touch him—so much energy surging from him, so many people healed! Then he spoke:

You’re blessed when you’ve lost it all.
God’s kingdom is there for the finding.
You’re blessed when you’re ravenously hungry.
Then you’re ready for the Messianic meal.
You’re blessed when the tears flow freely.
Joy comes with the morning.

22-23 “Count yourself blessed every time someone cuts you down or throws you out, every time someone smears or blackens your name to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and that that person is uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—skip like a lamb, if you like!—for even though they don’t like it, I do . . . and all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company; my preachers and witnesses have always been treated like this.

Give Away Your Life

24 But it’s trouble ahead if you think you have it made.
    What you have is all you’ll ever get.

25 And it’s trouble ahead if you’re satisfied with yourself.
    Your self will not satisfy you for long.
And it’s trouble ahead if you think life’s all fun and games.
    There’s suffering to be met, and you’re going to meet it.

26 “There’s trouble ahead when you live only for the approval of others, saying what flatters them, doing what indulges them. Popularity contests are not truth contests—look how many scoundrel preachers were approved by your ancestors! Your task is to be true, not popular.

Picture this for a moment: Jesus is surrounded by multitudes of people, and Jesus is speaking to them, as he is surrounded by his disciples. Not much has changed. Jesus still talks to the multitudes through his disciples, through you the church. As I was reading Luke today, I was reminded of who I am. Be a true presence, a constant presence, an un-anxious presence in a troubled surrounding, a reminder of God’s presence, of his plan to bring people together.

I know that last sentence by itself can cause a lot of anxiety just by reading it. But then the words of Jesus helps us along the way. We are not alone in doing the things we are called to do. We are blessed by his very presence, we are blessed as we go about doing what needs to be done. And as individuals that call takes us to different places sometimes, to different people, and different circumstances. And while we might not agree, or understand all of it, we are called to be true to who we are in Christ, and be a blessing to those around us, letting Christ speak peace, bring healing and God’s presence through who we are.

Today I pray that you will be that presence, the church, the blessed to be be a blessing.

Be blessed,

Bo  M.