A Moment for Mission
“I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you.” — Isaiah 43:1b-2a, NRSV
In his letters to the young church in Corinth, the apostle Paul often spoke of partnership. “For we are God’s servants, working together; you are God’s field, God’s building,” he wrote, trying to heal divisions among believers (1 Corinthians 3:9). And in 2 Corinthians 8:23, Paul encouraged acceptance of his colleague Titus: “He is my partner and co-worker in your service; and as for our brothers, they are messengers of the churches, the glory of Christ.”
Partnership is rarely easy. In a world still reeling from a pandemic and a denomination struggling with division, God calls us to extend healing and hope, to become a new creation in Christ. Through our gifts and support, we partner with God and God’s people to strengthen Christ’s loving presence in a hurting world.
Every year, on the Sunday before the birthday observance of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., United Methodists celebrate Human Relations Day. Our special offering next week will enhance partnerships through the Community Developers Program, the United Methodist Voluntary Services Program and the Youth Offender Rehabilitation Program.
United Methodist Special Sundays invest in servant leadership, community building and ministries of peace with justice. Concentrating our resources to support shared ministries equips us to step with faithful determination into a grace-filled new beginning.
On Human Relations Day next Sunday, please plan to give generously. Your gifts make a difference!
Do you play well with others? Do your friends look a lot like you? Are some from other countries? Do some speak other languages?
The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. played well with others. He used his words to change hearts and minds. He organized people to change laws that were unfair to Black people in the United States. He wanted all people to be treated equally and to experience freedom.
The church honors Rev. King’s life by celebrating Human Relations Day. A special offering will join with gifts from other churches to share with people who work hard to find and use their God-given gifts.
Playing well with others is a lesson for people of all ages, but children like you can set examples.
Loving God, you have called us by name; we are yours. When challenges overwhelm us, guide us. We can accomplish great things when we work together. In your name, we pray. Amen.
From Discipleship Ministries: Epiphany/Baptism of the Lord — God of new beginnings, as we move into this new year, stir in us the feelings of expectation! Kindle our hearts and minds to see possibilities for our world and for your kingdom. Help us to believe that the world we have can be better: more loving, more just, more compassionate, and looking much more like the world you’ve imagined for us. Lord, help us to give generously this day to empower that to happen. In the name of Christ, Savior and Redeemer, we pray. Amen. (Luke 3:15-17, 21-22)
Perhaps you’ve seen the T-shirt that reads: “Plays Well with Others.”
Sounds easy, doesn’t it? But often in the church – and in our daily lives – we are tempted to venture alone, convinced that our ideas are the best ideas. We forget the importance of including others and nurturing their gifts.
Throughout the Bible, we find examples of partnership – from rebuilding the wall in Jerusalem (Nehemiah 6) to Jesus’ familiar call to his disciples to “fish for people” (Luke 5).
On Human Relations Day, which United Methodists congregations will celebrate next Sunday, we partner with God and God’s people to strengthen Christ’s loving presence in a hurting world.
This Sunday occurs during Epiphany, the season of manifesting God’s light to the world. Human Relations Day calls the church to recognize the right of all God’s children in realizing their potential as human beings in relationship with one another.
Please give generously! Thank you.