Coffee time is a starting place for today. And for that matter, most days. As I sit here at the breakfast table listening to my Amazon Echo play music by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band there are other sounds of community developing.
The rooster across the Way is sounding off and begging a reply from BotheDog. Laura is in the kitchen finalizing some green side dishes for this weekend. Another sip of coffee and a glance at the weather app on my phone, then thoughts and prayers for family traveling and gathering.
Mom will celebrate 90 years this weekend and we are hosting the party. Sister and brother and nieces and nephews along with G-children will gather to wish Anabel a happy birthday! Family is part of my community.
Community is also new friends in West Kerr County here in Hunt, Texas. It is an amazing place with its natural Hill Country beauty. The people here have welcomed us and opened their homes to dinner partys, group gatherings, lunch time conversation and pastoral visits. We feel very fortunate to be here.
When I begin to feel community developing in a fresh and exciting spirit, I am also compelled to consider those yet to come and the welcome that may await them.
A parable of Jesus in Matthew 22 speaks about the kingdom of heaven and a grand wedding feast given by the king in honor of his son. The invitation is sent by personal messenger across the kingdom - Come, the table is prepared! But the invited do not attend - they are busy with life and distractions, with travel and business, and some openly reject the invitation and kill the messengers.
Friends, Community is what is developing in the realm of God’s heaven and earth. Do we hear the invitation? Can we respond? Will we respond? Will we be party to the feast? Will we be party to the wedding? For Christ, the Son, has come as Union from God the Father to renew the relationship with God’s people,
It begins with coffee. It moves in the day in prayers of gratitude. It welcomes family into our home. It compels this pastor to preach: Come, the Table is prepared. It is love. It is peace. It is hope. It is that which comes as community develops in the invitation of the Lord.
Grace and Peace
Along the Way
Pastor Paul Harris
This image is from a previous family excursion to Ruidoso, New Mexico around Thanksgiving. It is one of my favorites. It brings me to a peaceful place.
Today, after the horrific mass shooting in Las Vegas, I join colleagues in ministry who are writing words of comfort, words of challenge, words of peace, words that may bring communities of faith closer to a place of peace.
Mass shootings make no sense. Why would someone be so mad, so angry, so upset, so out of control, so evil? Why do innocents suffer? Why is this part of our current society? Why?
This past Sunday at Hunt United Methodist Church we began a month long discernment of what grace is doing in our lives and what difference we can make together through God's grace in our community and in our world. That was yesterday. This is today. And the question remains. Is the grace of God now in our world? Or has it gone missing? If so, why?
I am confident in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. I have faith that peace is an outcome of grace. Peace comes into my soul when I see community gathered to celebrate at the Lord's Supper. Peace comes into my soul when I hear the sounds of heart-felt conversation between divergent opinions related to matters of the future. Peace comes into my soul when I experience the goodness of God's creation even in the midst of natural environmental disasters occurring at the intersection of populations and earthquakes, hurricanes, and forest fires.
Grace and peace are part of our language when we speak of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Grace and peace are words of blessing in our coming and going. Grace and peace is said to share acts of mercy, acts of compassion, acts of hope.
In the midst of violence and a seeming lack of peace like I feel today, I am reminded of peace-filled spaces. A beautiful sunrise in the mountains has a way of restoring hope in the midst of darkness. For light is the expected outcome of a sunrise just as peace is my expected outcome from grace.
Is God's grace with us today? Most definitely! Grace is what holds us together on days like today. Grace is what God provided when our Lord suffered and died for the world. Grace is what led Jesus from the grave and into God's vision of a new day. Grace is God with us in this very moment when chaos and evil seem to be gaining the upper hand.
Grace and peace be with you my soul friend. What difference is grace doing in your life and in mine? Today, let it be enough to bring peace.
Along the Way with Pastor Paul Harris
Author: Paul E Harris
Journal posts from a pastor and spiritual friend