God’s Love and Peace be with you,

A quick Thank You to All who helped make the Communion Rail Remodel happen! Special thanks go out to Pastor, with his vision, Don Schieve, Scott Meyers, and Al Utzig for their awesome work on this project. Thank you to All others who were involved! Also, a big Thank You to Diana Winger and the Mary Circle for their special invitation to the Triumphant Quartet Concert at the Fireside Restaurant on October 9th. What a fantastic day! Way more than I could have ever expected. I encourage everyone to join in these opportunities like this. You’ll be glad you did. Awesome!!

Recently I’ve been focused on our liturgy of confessing our sins. We have used an alternate version which reads “Source of all life, we confess that we have not allowed your grace to set us free, we fear that we are not good enough, we hear your word of love freely given to us, yet we expect others to earn it. We turn our church inward, rather than moving it outward, etc. etc. My focus is on the part of God’s grace and love freely given yet we expect others to earn it. Whoa! I don’t know about you but I must admit I am more than guilty of this. I feel I am unworthy of God’s love and grace and willingly accept his forgiveness and then there is that feeling inside that I need to point my finger at others when I see them doing something I feel is wrong or against the law. The perfect illustration is while driving and seeing someone speeding or not using their turn signals, or the worst… texting while driving!! I immediately go on the defense. This is wrong! More accidents happen because of distracted drivers. Get off your phone please! Slow down! Use your signals! Pay attention!

Yet who am I, guilty of doing these very same acts. But, I accept God’s love and forgiveness while at the same time pointing my finger and chastising others and not treating them the same as God treats me! I do it time and again, and again. I pray for forgiveness of my trespasses as I forgive those who trespass against me. I ask for God’s forgiveness but have trouble forgiving others. Is there a time limit on when I have to forgive them? God forgives me immediately but how soon do I have to forgive others?

The confession goes on to say “Forgive us. Stir us. Reform us to a church powered by love, willing to speak for what is right, act for what’s just, and seek the healing of your whole creation. Amen

To know God’s love is to show God’s love to others and love them as he loves me, to forgive them as he forgives me.

In our adult Forum we’ve been studying the book of Philemon. Twenty five verses long, Paul asks Philemon to take back Onesimus, his slave, to not only forgive him but to accept him. To show tolerance, and to love him a brother. As a child of God. A follower of Jesus. Profoundly deep! I too need to be more tolerant. More accepting and forgiving and showing God’s love. Turning it outward. Feeling his love deeper and to love others as he loves me.

Yours in Christ,

Ron Johnson

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