OnFire is a very interesting faith community. We are all United Methodist and believe strongly in social justice and young adult ministries. One of the things I love most about OnFire is our diversity. When I think of this group, I imagine what it would be like for Jesus to be surrounded by His disciples in the Upper Room. Diversity yet inclusiveness. Often in the United Methodist Church we claim we are diverse and have open hearts, open minds, and open doors. Well, "it ain't so!" But, when I think about the mission and ministries of OnFire, I know that this is not the church of tomorrow, but the living presence of God today. For that I am thankful and blessed to be a part of this organization.
Little to their knowledge, I pray for each and every one of the members daily and they are in my thoughts. I think of how it feels adjusting to life as a new seminarian and I think of my brothers and sisters who have been in it for awhile. I am excited about our new opportunities to grow together in this Christian journey and transform not just the Methodist Church by our witness, but the world. This is a safe, reaffirming community that I truly love being a part of.
But then, I think about the brokenness of the world.
Today, I got that text message that said a friend had died. Drug overdose.
We grew up in the church together. He had great potential. He was funny, outgoing and extremely talented. The eldest of four. I know he grew up in a Christian household and loved God with his heart. I am not wondering why he did what he did but wondering why we as the church failed to see his need. I wonder how many others are out there.
Today, I thought about a few songs and someone reminded me of "Great Is Thy Faithfulness." Yes, Lord, indeed it is. But for who?
As young adults trailblazing I am afraid that we will forget our brothers and sisters NOT in the church, the ones who have become discontent, upset and have left. The ones who yearn to be a part of a community like OnFire but are intimidated and scared. Our neighbors who want to know Jesus but feel too convicted by their spirit.
Personally, I am ministered to through songs. I am usually intimidated by large groups and become a recluse. But now, I just sing, "there's a sweet, sweet spirit in this place." Sometimes I become acclimated to the situation, others times, I enjoy spending time in devotion with God. But what do we do for others who are not that far on their spiritual journey? How do we welcome them and value them in our faith community?
Another song that has kept me going is, "I've Decided To Make Jesus My Choice." There's a part…. "the road is tough, and the going gets rough and the hills are hard to climb. I started out a long time ago – there is no doubt in my mind, I've decided to make Jesus my Choice." Amen.
But with that choice is responsibility. "To whom much is given, much is required." We have all been bountifully blessed. My Myspace headline is "Blessed and Highly Favored." Indeed, we are blessed and highly favored - along with this comes the greatest responsibility and privilege to minister to our brothers and sisters and let them know about God's grace and mercy. "Love God-love neighbor…." Right?!
I challenge all of yall out there who are reading to take seriously your role in your communities. "Be still" and listen for God's word. Step outside your comfort zone so someone else can be healed.
When talking with a friend about our friend's death, she said – "you never know what's going on with someone." And that's true – so why don't we ask?
To Eric and Brian – we are all with you. We are on this walk in faith together. "Let not your heart be troubled, and neither let it be afraid." You have some "ride or die" people to uplift you and uphold you. And indeed, whatever time, wherever, whatever – we are all here and committed to the spiritual growth of all. We are committed to building up the kingdom of God for all people.
But most of all, we are convicted by the word, called by our passions and in love with the truth and light that our Lord and Savior brings.
~ one luv,