Don’t give up on us

My go-to scripture for weddings is from Colossians 3. Clothes are important on wedding days and Colossians 3 has the great reminder to clothe ourselves with love. It’s a simple illustration important for any family to hear on such a big day.

If I don’t read from Colossians 3, that usually means the couple has done a Google search and wants me to read from 1 Corinthians 13–the love chapter. Easy.

After that, I turn to Ecclesiastes. A wedding sermon based on Ecclesiastes 4 isn’t new. It certainly didn’t originate with me. It’s easy to see how that text speaks to a couple’s wedding day. In chapter four, the preacher/teacher of Ecclesiastes talks about relationships. He finishes a short section by saying, “A threefold cord is not quickly broken.”

The third cord is always portrayed to be God. That reminder becomes a blessing for the newlyweds. Together, the two of them are beginning a new life of growing in love with one another and with the Lord.

In a similar way, that’s what the church does.

We are, after all, the bride of Christ. The church is God’s witness to the world to God’s righteousness and justice. But when we’re splashed with the baptism waters, we don’t automatically learn what that all means. A lot of us aren’t comfortable with the basics of our faith even after we’re baptized. We should talk more about that, by the way. Most of the issues we have as the church, I’m convinced, relate to dull discipleship.

Almost every year that we offer confirmation for our young people, an adult will ask if they can join. No one’s taken me up on my offer to be a part of the class, though. I envision church-wide confirmations because what witness can we share if we aren’t growing in the knowledge of God?

As basic as it may sound, it bears repeating. Part of the work of the church is teaching one another what it means to follow Jesus. That is a lifelong commitment we make to God and each other. As we do, that third cord strengthens and unites us.

The result is a fellowship centered on Jesus and infused with faith talk. How much do we talk about our faith together? In my experience, a lot of us are apprehensive about faith talk. We’re a lot more comfortable talking about the weather or our favorite show.

Why do you think that is?

I’m in my sixth year serving my current church. That’s the longest I’ve been at any one congregation. After we announced my reappointment here, I had several people talk to me about our ministry together. There was a phrase I heard several times in those conversations: “Don’t give up on us, Pastor.”

Don’t worry.

I don’t even know how to do that. Plus, how could I ever give up on a people that God hasn’t given up on? My role as pastor doesn’t even allow me to do that. I see the joy of watching that threefold cord strengthened. We walk together, learning from one another, sharing each other’s joys and pains as we figure out how to walk with Jesus.

Let’s not give up on each other. God has prepared a lifetime for us!

Stay blessed…john

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