Pastor's E-Letter

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Pastor's E-Letter 2/07/20

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A couple of weeks ago in her message, Pastor Allee asked the question, “How do you change your mind?” I’ve been thinking about that question for the last couple of weeks, thinking about when I have changed my mind and what brought about that change of thinking. What I’ve realized is that the quickest things that have come to mind have had to do with people – situations where I assumed something about someone only to find out later that I was wrong. 

I remember two instances where I met someone and, for a variety of reasons, I assumed that we were so different and had so little in common, that we could never be friends. But then, I spent time with them, got to know them, listened with my heart to their stories. In opening my heart to engage with them as persons and to listen to them, I discovered the truth of who they were and that they had much to offer me in friendship. But first, I had to choose to intentionally engage with them, beyond my preconceived notions of who they were. In doing so, I received an incredible gift from each of them and my life was greatly enriched. 

So much about this message series, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” is an invitation to engage with new people and new perspectives. As a result of that engagement, we may not change our minds but even if we don’t, our minds and our hearts will be shaped and informed in a new way and we honor our neighbors when we engage with one another in that way. 

You may not realize that Jesus too changed his mind. This week we will focus on an often-overlooked story from Mark 7:24-30, (I encourage you to read it before worship Sunday) the story of Jesus’ tension-filled encounter with a Gentile woman from Tyre and explore how this encounter led Jesus to not only change his mind regarding his response to this woman but how the encounter may have led him to begin to expand his mission beyond Israel to the Gentiles, perhaps sooner than he had planned. Whatever happened, it is clear Jesus’ experience with her moved him. 

The same can be true of us. But we must be willing to intentionally engage in opportunities to spend time with folks who have different life experiences and perspectives. This Sunday at 4:00 pm in the worship center, we have a chance to do that at our showing of the film “Intelligent Lives” which chronicles the lives and journeys of adults living full, independent and fulfilled lives along with disabilities. We will also hear from our own Candace Whiting about her journey of independence and her call to motivational speaking. 

We will also have the great joy of welcoming the Bethune Cookman Concert Chorale at the 9:30 and 11:00 traditional services. I hope you plan to be in worship and perhaps bring a friend to hear the amazing musical gifts of these talented students. They are a gift to us every time they join us. 

I’m so glad God has led me to change my mind so often about many things. How narrow and limited my life experiences and perspectives would be without the folks in my life who have challenged me along my journey. What might God be inviting you to change your mind about, or to at least listen for a new perspective? You never know what a gift that might be. 

See you in worship this Sunday!

Grace and Peace,