We looked at one another and pointed and made motions as we sang. I always feel a little silly doing the song. But, I remember it well.
[By Rev. Dr. Stephen Hundley, Cal-Pac Executive Director of Connectional Ministries]
The longer I live, the more I find my memories to be like snapshots in my mind. They come and go; they are here at one moment, then gone the next.
One of my favorite memories is that of standing in my home church as a young adult (which really was not too long ago) leading children and youth in singing Hymn 558 in our United Methodist Hymnal. I am sure all of us in the Cal-Pac Conference hold advanced degrees in hymnology. But, just in case my assumption is not true, let me note that I am talking about the hymn, “We Are the Church.”
I am the church! You are the church! We are the church together!
All who follow Jesus all around the world! Yes, we are the church together!
Is this a part of the hymn that we sing as a local church? A Mission Area? A District? A United Methodist Church? The call to be together in this fragmented world is visibly obvious. It does not take long to notice just how many people throughout our neighborhoods, if not the world, feel so alone. And, the ways in which we keep ourselves from others is many times all too normal: we drive alone in our cars, put on earphones when we listen to music in public places, and we sit behind computer screens for a large portion of the day.
The question is: how might we minister in this environment?
Our way is to offer the church in the name of Jesus to all! And, let us not forget that “offer” is a verb. I was excited to experience this verb in action as I worshiped at one of our local churches this past Sunday. The preacher, the worship, the greeters and the people all consistently and genuinely echoed this call to community in their own loving and biblical way.
My prayer is for this to be the standard throughout our Conference, not the exception. These holy moments inspire me to believe that we must continually look for opportunities to live out, and live into, God’s call for us to share ourselves with others in making disciples for the transformation of the world.
Yes, this is God’s call: that we be the church TOGETHER!