“Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” (Philippians 4:5, NIV)
We’re in the midst of a sermon series on John Wesley’s Three Simple Rules: Do no harm; do good; stay in love with God. Last week we talked about “Do no harm.” This week the topic is “Do good,” as in, do all the good you can wherever you go. On November 26th, we’ll cover “Stay in love with God.”
“Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet’; and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Romans 13:8-9, NRSV)
I like simple. Simple is streamlined. Simple is efficient. Simple is “to the point.” And simple could even be described as elegant because simple things often bear an intrinsic beauty. One thing simple is not, is easy. Simple can often be difficult.
“Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” (James 1:17, NRSV)
The Epistle of James makes the radical assertion that anytime we see an act of generosity, God initiated it. That means if I see a homeless person at an intersection and I give him a couple of dollars, God was not only a part of that transaction, but God was the source of it. God provided the gift I gave. When Ann and I make our contribution to Canterbury, although it comes out of our checkbook, James would argue that it is coming from God. Every gift is “from above.” How can this be?
“May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus, so that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. “ (Romans 15:5-7, NRSV)
This past Sunday was another glorious Sunday of celebration for our 150 years as a congregation. Hearing the Children sing, experiencing some of the Youth contributing to the worship music, and watching the video of Susan Wilborn, Celia Smyly, and Ralph Yeilding served as a reminder of the importance of our ministry to Children and Youth. And then we saw the message shared by Rev. Keith Thompson, a favorite son of Canterbury, who now serves as the Senior Pastor at First United Methodist Church in Birmingham. His personal story of becoming involved at Canterbury as a Youth and his parents joining later was both inspirational and empowering.
“Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” (Colossians 3:14, NRSV)
This past Sunday at our 150th Celebration, we experienced a day filled with love—love for God, love for Canterbury, and love for one another. It was so good to see many of the former ministers who have helped shape this great congregation. It was a day of remembrance and a day of joy. I have described the day as glorious. If you missed it, be sure to watch it on the web.