Fourth Sunday after Pentecost – July 7, 2019
1 John 1:5-7
“We had a neighbourhood ice cream social this past Sunday”, says Nita on a website called artofneighboring.com. “We live on a street that is not a cul-de-sac, but has no outlet. There are about 45 homes. We made flyers and I walked around the neighbourhood with my dog, distributing one to each home. We invited everyone to bring their dogs.
Everyone considered the ice cream social a success! Only a couple of people brought their dogs, and they were well received. Several people did need or want the sugar-free or lactose-free options and seemed to really appreciate having them available. Several neighbours said we should make it an annual event, and some said we could have it at their yard some year. One man came, who is quite disabled, who no one in the neighbourhood had ever met before; even people who have lived here for years and take walks around the neighbourhood often. He seemed to enjoy himself and everyone enjoyed visiting with him. Altogether we estimated about 40 people attended. 1) I trust that just as much kindness happens in our own neighbourhoods.
You might recall that at our Anniversary Sunday worship which was on Pentecost Day, I referred to the day of Pentecost being about IN, UP and OUT. It is also referred to in this month’s DayBook.
For today, next week and the Sunday after, I intend to flesh out a little more on each of these.
Without all three in balance, our lives start to get wonky.
We are looking at the IN-part today. As 1 John puts it “We have fellowship with one another.” Our whole faith exists in relationships that we as believers have with one another.
Notice that we see here this fellowship with others exists because it was initiated in the Father and the Son. We walk in the light, as He is in the light… Notice that as we walk in devoted dedication to God, essentially we are where God is. The fellowship is with God and then extends to God’s people.
John Wesley said: I want the whole Christ for my Saviour, the whole Bible for my book, the whole Church for my fellowship, and the whole world for my mission field.
“He has told you, O mortal, what is good…” we heard according to Micah, “and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” – Micah 6:8
To live on mission with Jesus, we have to pay attention to issues of kindness or mercy around us. Not much is required by God. Kindness is one of them, along with justice and walking humbly. I read of a Cambodian woman who saw an older boy forage through garbage near her home. Eventually, she invited him to stay with her family. Her family made ends meet from week to week, but she knew they could make a little space for one extra person. It would have been easier for her to bring him to a mission-run orphanage or charity. But she did what she could do according to her abilities. She lived out kindness. The fellowship of kindness that was among her people at home was extended to one more person.
Here at church we have ample chance to pay attention to ways in which we can love each other (described as IN). This is where we practice fellowship, where the difference we make outside is shaped among ourselves. Kindness here can be seen as forms of “charity that begins at home”. We have a group of South Africans meeting on the fourth Sunday of most months. This way we create a unique type of fellowship. There is our Bible study group where our faith is stretched.
We strengthen our ties with one another by doing various things together. Our carnivals and garage sales are more examples of such opportunities. Yesterday, fifteen odd people worked together in cleaning up our garden around the church. Don’t underestimate the coffee hour after church services. This too is a chance for us to make our kindness known in fellowship with one another.
Individuals go through trying times and some reach out to one another privately, reaching out and giving one another pastoral care.
There are many more forms of this. Our youth coordinator Shane, his assistant Zach, and church school coordinator Lynn have been working hard to get young groups established. The Kid’s club, the youth group, our church school, our young adults. There have been groups going on trips to help build houses for families in Mexico.
What more can we do? How about a group or more groups of folks who enjoy riding bicycles? There could be groups that function well together by going skiing during the winter months. There are possibilities of volunteering together in soup kitchens.
This In-part of In, Up and Out is vital and we would be neglecting who we are as a congregation if our bonds with one another aren’t strengthened, through thick and thin.
May God’s Spirit equip us as we go forward.
Copyright 2019 – Heinrich Grosskopf, Minister of Dayspring Presbyterian Church
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