“There is a reciprocity to the love that is given by Jesus. He gives, seemingly unendingly, but he also receives in a way which is so simple that it often escapes our notice. In the gospel of Mark, there is an unobtrusive verse in the very first chapter: Simon’s mother-in-law was sick, and Jesus was told of her ailment. In verse 31 we read: ‘And he came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and the fever left her; and she served them.’ He gives; he receives. The Samaritan woman gave him water, and he drank; a blind man, healed, followed him to serve and be served; Zaccheus, the sinner, shared his food with him; the disciples gave as well as received his friendship. In such simple modes of daily interdependence, Jesus gives and receives, receives and gives, in the reciprocity of love.” Marjorie Suchockie, God-Christ-Church
It is a rather subtle nuance that we often miss. Jesus doesn’t just give unlimited love, he receives it as well. We might not think that’s such a huge deal, but imagine if the people you love could not receive your love. Sometimes our ways of sharing and showing love are messy. We bring home enough money to keep the house running, and we want our family to know, often without our saying it, that it shows we love
them. We take time out of our schedule to be at a game or a play or a concert, and we want family members to know, often without our saying it, that it shows we love them. We do the daily tasks that enable a household to run and create an environment of creativity and peace, and we want our family members to know, often without our saying it, that it shows we love them. In the midst of all these “doings” we have a great desire for the love we show to be received and accepted and understood. The gift of reciprocity in giving and receiving is both about how we show love and about how we speak words of grace and gratefulness in both our roles as givers and receivers.
Over the next several weeks, we will be consecrating youth and their adult volunteer and director teams going in mission. Our perspective is often based on how much these persons will be giving to those who are in need, both here and around the world. The “gospel” truth is that these missions will be most effective and meaningful because the individuals going both give and receive; and receive as well as they give! Our prayer as a Grace church family is that the gifts of giving and receiving will strengthen those we serve just as we are strengthened by the greater gifts of life and relationship that we receive.
The first two weekends of July we will be welcoming our new pastors. On June 30 & July 1 we welcome our new Senior Associate Pastor, Rev. Michael Park, as well as his spouse Esther and son Paul. On July 6 & 7 we welcome our new Associate Pastor of Pastoral Care, Rev. Cheryl Somers-Ingersol, as well as her spouse Stan. Our goodbyes to Pastors Tiffany and Ali are difficult, because we have loved and served and worked and grown with them. We will always be thankful for their faith and ministry and they will always be part of the story of Grace. So as we are thankful and say goodbye well, our hearts become more open to saying hello with warmth and hospitality. I’ve shared with each of
our new pastors how excited I am for Grace to meet them and for them to meet Grace! I truly believe our ministries together will be God-envisioned in both the giving and the receiving.
Finally, our Sermon Series for the summer in traditional worship will be 7 Words to Challenge Your Life: Yes, No, Thanks, Enough, Help, Sorry, Wow. Several years ago Ann Lamott wrote a book entitled Help, Thanks, Wow and this is an expanded take on her book. The series began on June 3 with the word “Yes,” which on the Sunday that we celebrated Holy Communion seemed most appropriate. Is God trustworthy? Our creation and human existence says yes. Are we redeemable? God through Jesus Christ says yes. Do we still have work
to do? Together with God’s blessings and our hearts, souls, minds, and strengths, we say yes. Make plans to worship as many weekends as you’re here through the summer months as God’s sacred rhythm of rest and renewal and reunion surrounds and embraces your spirits! And maybe God’s word with and for us in these words we use nearly every day will inspire us and help us give, receive, and grow in ways we haven’t imagined!
See you in worship!