Life is so often unplanned. The reality of our day often bears little resemblance to the plan we may have put together the night before.
A week ago, I was headed to the YMCA early in the day. As I drove west on Moore’s Pike, I slowed down when I saw several cars pulled over to the side of the road with emergency blinkers flashing. This wasn’t the sort of place where people normally stop. So, I was puzzled and a little frustrated by the traffic jam building as the early morning traffic came to a halt.
I looked to my right and saw a woman in a motorized wheelchair that had been toppled over. Apparently, her two leashed border collies had decided to take some route other than the sidewalk. So, I pulled over, turned on my emergency blinkers, and took control of the dogs as two others knelt by the woman on the ground as someone called 9-1-1.
Community by the side of the road
I knew one of the men who had stopped as a local real estate developer and an active member of Trinity Episcopal. The others were people I had never met.
Somehow, this group of strangers became a kind of community — and the reason we were together is that we cared. Compassion was the spark that had us there; standing or kneeling, huddling around a woman we didn’t know who was hurting and injured.
The church as a community care-fully formed
As professional help arrived, those of us who had pulled over and stopped went back to our cars. We re-entered our daily schedules. We drove away.
I thought about that moment for the rest of the day.
I thought about all of the things that make the church. Along with our core of faith in a loving God — made real in the life and teachings, death and resurrection, of Jesus of Nazareth — I think we are a community that cares. This doesn’t mean we care perfectly — but we do care.
In a world where it is easy to be care-less about justice, refugees, the opioid epidemic, economic opportunity, those needing healthcare, the environment, the new neighbor, the spiritual and educational needs of children, and a growing spiritual hunger among many who are utterly disconnected from a faith community — we care.
Caring is something we share.
We may disagree about how we read and interpret the Bible.
We may disagree about how we understand God.
We may disagree about who Jesus is and what it means to say “Jesus is Lord.”
We may disagree about a building plan or a budget decision.
We may disagree about musical styles in worship.
Still, beneath it all — we care.
We care about those who hurt, those in need, those who ache with a hunger to know love and grace and God. We care about living responsibly so our grandchildren will live in a world where the water is drinkable, the air is breathable, good topsoil is carefully managed, and the temperatures are moderate so the earth can sustain human life. We care about a world where there is justice for all.
When we see someone hurting, someone who has fallen or been dragged to the ground, when we see refugees struggling ashore on a Greek island, when we see someone fraught with loneliness who is seeking community — we care.
Jesus, in Luke 10:25-37, tells a story about this. You can look it up. It’s a picture of who we are called to be by God.
The church is a lot of things but at our core we are a care-fully formed community. In our best moments, we are people who pull over, put on our emergency blinkers, and go to help the stranger.
This Sunday at First Methodist
Join us this Sunday as we continue our series “The Story.” Travis Jeffords, a great young leader at First Methodist and worship leader at The Open Door, will be preaching at both 9:30 and 11:15 on the story of Ruth. It’s a great story!
Also, we will be welcoming Pastor Donna Goings to First Methodist with a ritual of welcome and blessing at the end of each service. One exciting moment in worship will be a time of rejoicing over a “new creation moment” in the life of a friend who went through some very tough times.
Finally, if you haven’t yet given to our excel campaign to close our $100,000 operating budget so we can continue our strong work with children, youth, and young adults, please turn in your pledge card or check this week. We have gone past the $80,000 mark with one week more to go!
God is good!
New Associate Pastor
Rev. Teri Crouse, our new Associate Pastor, will be with us soon. Please take a moment and send her a welcome note. Tell her something about yourself, about our church, and about Bloomington (perhaps even including a gift card to your favorite local store or restaurant). Mail or drop off your cards to our church office at: Rev. Teri Crouse, c/o First Methodist, 219 E 4th St, Bloomington, IN 47404
Attention Parents & Teens!
Don’t stay inside all summer!
View our updated list of Summer Youth Events…
Download the First Methodist Summer Youth Schedule 2017. Print it out. Hang it on the fridge. Then come join the Summer Fun!
This week we’re continuing our sermon series, THE STORY. If you don’t yet have your own copy of THE STORY, you can purchase one from the church office for $10 or order online here. If you’re interested in going deeper, the Adult Companion Guide is also available.