Dear Memorial Church Family,
I am thankful for all of your love and prayers in preparation for the defense of my dissertation in front of the PhD committee and public at the University of Mainz. IT tough and I had three separate meetings with other supervisors, colleagues, and others who are themselves doctors to prepare me for the examination. I am thankful for that preparation and the prayers as the examination was grueling and they asked the toughest questions that I was able to imagine. Thankfully that season is over, the last step is to prepare my manuscript for publication in an academic setting. Good news is that I have two years to accomplish that.
On the other hand, perhaps you have heard about the “butter adventures” that my wife and I have been doing. Well it turns out that Barbara loves to bake (and she is good at it!), and while she is preparing to pursue a qualification to become a certified Parisienne Baker we started looking for the basic ingredients, flour, butter, and of course chocolate. Well it turns out that even though the names for the ingredients are the same, the actual ingredients differ from those that are to be used in the French recipes from the certification. One example is that of the “butter adventure”.
You may know, but certainly I did not, that butter is not all the same; there is low fat butter and normal butter; there is churned butter, there is ghee butter, there is salted or unsalted, well there are a lot of types. On top of that there is spring butter, where the butter is moist and natural yellow in color, and there is winter butter where the butter is dry and with natural white in color; these two depending on wat the cows are eating on the fields. So you as you can imagine the “butter adventures” consist in keeping our eyes open at every supermarket, farm, or store that we go to look for a butter that fits the profile of the pastry that Barbara would like to bake. So every time we go to a market we can always be found at the dairy section.
In the same way as the “butter adventures” we as Christians are called to be attentive and look for the people who desperately need to hear the “Good News” that we have and ought to be sharing. What I am asking you is to open your eyes and be attentive to God’s direction and indication on how and where to go and bring this message of hope. For this reason I would like to start in this month of February a time for discernment on a personal level and on a corporate level as well.
On a personal level, I would like for you to take time and pray to God sincerely, with your hand on your heart and your heart in your hand, that He will show you ways to be active and engage others with the “Good News”. This prayer is separate from personal praying time; this is a time where we will only pray for God’s direction and clarity for our mission within our church and within our communities.
On a corporate level, I would like for us to pray and agree in searching for God’s will and plans for our congregation. What does God want us to see that we are not seeing? What does God want us to look for that we are not looking for? Where does He want us to do that we are not doing? And every time we pray lets keep our ears, eyes, and hearts open to listen to His voice speaking to our hearts.
Lastly, I propose that we will do this collaborative effort at a concerted time, this means that we get ‘together’ to search for the same thing at the same time. How do we do this together in Corona times? Well, thank you for asking. We can do this by praying in agreement at a set time every day for minimum of 1-2 minutes. Yes, that is right just a minute or two, but with full sincerity and engagement. That means no cellphones, no conversations, and nothing else but just time with God, asking for His plans for me and my congregation.
So lets pray together starting on Ash Wednesday, February 17 and throughout Lent every day at 8:04 a.m. OR 8:04 p.m. Lets put our alarms on and pray to God for clarity and discernment.
I know He is faithful and just to listen to our prayers and to give us personal and corporate discernment on His will and plans for us. Just as the prophet Jeremiah reminds us: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jer. 29:11). These plans are for you, for me, for Memorial, and for our communities if we dare to listen to Him and act on sharing this “Good News”. May God bless you!
–Pastor David J.
P.S.: You may wonder, why 8:04 a.m./p.m.? The answer is because it is easy to remember since it is the address of our Church: 804 Gammon Rd. So every time you pray you remember your church and your mission for God.