What matters shows
Romans 12:15-18 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
Yesterday (Friday June 5th), I participated in a Black Lives Matter demonstration/march/protest in the city of Cypress. Because my city matters to me. Because God has said so.
Jeremiah 29:7 But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.
Matthew 22:39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
1 Peter 2:12 Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.
My intent was mostly to listen, learn, and pray. As a white person, I know I have a lot to learn about the plight of others. This seemed to be a good opportunity to experience an event where people expressed what mattered to them. I was planning to find a spot and watch and pray. I wanted to pray for this event to be meaningful, purposeful, and peaceful.
Now, before the day, I had been asking the Lord how much I should participate and was ready to do just that. When I was walking to what seemed to be a great place to observe and pray, I saw Annie (she is one of our widows at church who is black and had told me she was going to participate), and I noticed she was alone. I called out her name and she came over and hugged me and said she was so glad I was there. As I had been praying all day about my participation, I had the inkling from the Lord if I saw Annie was alone, I would walk with her. God orchestrated that to be so.
I am still sifting through my feelings as I heard the chants, felt the angst, and saw the sense of the importance of making people aware of long-lasting injustice. But it really hit home as I walked with Annie. It was an honor. One time she went over to a police officer and he gave her a hug. I so wish I could have had my camera out. The demonstration was both moving and challenging. I’m sure more will come out as I process things. But it was emotional as I experienced people’s reactions. At one moment Annie said she felt so proud. She was beaming. I gathered she was soaking in that she mattered. I know she matters to me. A week before, she was broken as she came to the church’s drive-in communion and expressed her hurt and frustration over the looting and vandalism of the riots. Those actions affected her. Yet this peaceful demonstration seemed to fill her with the truth that she mattered. I was glad to experience this with her.
The truth is, what matters to us shows. So, what should matter to us? God lets us know.
Those who are considered ‘least’ should matter to us, see Matthew 25:31-46
Those considered ‘last’, those rejected by others, should matter to us, see Mark 5:21-43
Those who are ‘lost’ in not knowing about Jesus should matter to us, see Luke 19:1-10.
It’s all too easy to get wrapped up in ‘me’ and my stress/issues/desires, where it’s ‘me’ that matters. But God calls us not to neglect self, but to choose to act upon the things that matter to Him.
So, when are we going to start in-person gatherings?
We are continuing to work on the long list of government guidelines as they continue to change. We have a meeting/webinar this Thursday with our county to hear the latest, and Lord willing, speed up our process. We want to make sure our gathering is a safe and open environment for people to know and worship God.
Our Los Alamitos campus is planning to resume in-person gatherings on June 14th. The Cypress campus, Cambodian and Spanish ministries are waiting until after Thursday’s webinar to make any definitive dates. Please be praying God will give us wisdom.
Thank you for the food pantry donations.
Our church gave hundreds of pounds of food for the hundreds of workers at the Los Alamitos Race Track. About 300 people live on the race course site, oftentimes in difficult living conditions. These supplies will be so very helpful. The racetrack chaplain was overjoyed and all this greatly encouraged him. Thank you!
This Sunday we start a new teaching series.
To say these are trying times is an understatement. The coronavirus is still leaving its path of pain, hurt, depression, financial ruin, stress and hardship. Much will linger as the virus passes. As well, this nation is in the throes of civic unrest as people are tired of injustice and racism. We need help, not just aid, but all that God can bring to life. We need Him in more ways than we can imagine. Thankfully, God reveals Himself in multiple ways and most clearly through Jesus. The Bible is full of rich images, one is in power of God’s name. In English it is two words, “I AM.” Just two words, but they carry much more weight than that. They speak to the ever-present nature of God as shepherd, bread of life, and so much more. Yes, our times are uncertain, but our God is not. He is with us. Now. And in exactly the way we need Him. This Sunday we look at Exodus 3, where God shares His name with Moses. I do hope you will join us.
Seeking to show what matters to God along with you,