“Have you ever tasted heaven?”
I think I did 50 years ago when as a young adult I stepped into 1stUMC: La Mesa.
And it’s been there in all the churches I’ve been honored to serve, with all the people I’ve loved and who loved me in God’s holy love, and in all the hours I’ve spent here with other clergy and church leaders, it has been a recurring, inspiring joy, a true gift.
It’s in Holy Communion, in celebrations of Baptism and in times of healing and growth. It’s all filled with the life giving presence of Jesus that inspired and renewed me.
And now, do I see a "New Church?"
It’s been said so many times that it’s trite:“It takes a village,” but what happens when that village fails?
What happens when the children have to fend for themselves, getting no wisdom as to who they truly are?
We are at a confusing crossroads of history, but we only see in part.
Swirling around us is a tectonic “Gutenberg Moment” where technological changes are rearranging everything.
It’s taken us decades, but we have finally moved out of the false membership rush born of a post-war prosperity, where people attended church for comfort, to escape a world destroyed by war, or perhaps just to be social, …rather than be a faithful, deeply searching community living an honest and personal relationship with God.
Consumerism and greed have been our society’s god for centuries, but now our younger prophets are unmasking it for the self-centered false god it is.
But remember, we’ve been here before:
Roman roads disrupted families and nations in the 1stCentury.
The Gutenberg printing press brought on the tumultuous age of reason, and in Wesley’s time, the Industrial revolution upended everything held dear.
And in all these times chaos became fertile ground for the good news of Jesus that we were no longer limited by the world, but we can be fulfilled as citizens of heaven.
My most cherished Brothers and Sisters,
baptism gives us immigration papers into God’s holy realm of unconditional love,
God’s presence is at hand!
And as our world grows more desperate in loneliness and isolation, we have the gift of the holy community to give, with agapé-unconditional love and phileo-deeply chosen love rather than storge-family love and eros-physical love.
It makes this time the most exciting time ever in my lifetime.
And as far as I’m concerned, I was born 40 years too soon.
Now is a true revolutionary time to proclaim the radical, transforming, heavenly, unconditional love of Jesus Christ, spoken and lived in ways that invites everyone to come home.
....and do the hard work that makes us all a family, an eternal village with God.