Category Archives: 2012-06

Pastor’s Pen for June, 2012

For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.’  (Matthew 18:20) Although Jesus spent a lot of time and energy showing even the most discouraged individuals that their lives were infinitely important to God, he never minimized the important role relationships play in reshaping people’s lives.  His healing miracles were never impersonal or mechanical, but always conveyed his sensitivity to the uniqueness of the individual, thereby establishing a relationship with them through which God’s power could flow. When it came to developing disciples, his took a similar approach.  His method of spiritual formation was to invite them into a special relationship with himself and with each other.  He also made it clear to them that he expected those conversations to continue, even after his death and resurrection. Those  first disciples didn’t start out as spiritually giants – they were just a bunch of ordinary folks, (some of whom had very noticeable character flaws!) most of whom were pretty slow to catch on to what Jesus was trying to teach them.  In other words, they were just like most of us!  But Jesus never lost confidence in their potential to become spiritual leaders if they would just keep the conversation going with him and with each other. Conversation is the life’s blood of relationships, and if we let Jesus be part of our conversations, our relationships can be transforming – even something holy.  If the right spirit is present among us, even mundane, everyday topic can open us to something divine.  It doesn’t matter whether the participants consider themselves “religious,” “secular,” or “agnostic.”  It doesn’t matter whether they agree with each other or not – God can use the conversation to lead everyone into a deeper appreciation of what respect, compassion and love can mean. Contrary to popular opinion, the church’s job isn’t to convert people to their way of thinking – Jesus says that’s God’s job (John 6:44).  Instead, our job is to initiate conversations about things that matter to people - to engage them in a process of discovering deeper levels of meaning than they were able to find on their own. Therefore, in order to foster such conversations, the Sharon Congregational Church will be sponsoring a new adventure we’re calling “The Lighthouse Café.”  On the second Thursday of each month, you are invited to join us in Steele Chapel for a time to spend an hour or so exploring a topic of current interest.  Join your friends and neighbors over a good cup of coffee to share insights, questions, and experiences related to the topic of the day.  The goal is not to reach consensus, but to deepen our appreciation of each other’s perspectives. This adventure will begin on Thursday, June 14 at 7:00 p.m.  The topic of the evening will be: “Caught Between Parents and Kids” – a phenomenon commonly referred to as the “sandwich generation.”  Please mark your calendars, and plan to join us for some meaningful conversation. Duane