If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.
John 15:10 (NRSV)
I don’t know about you, but some days I feel like I have to make too many decisions. I strongly prefer to be presented with a few good options. I prefer the sort of restaurant that has a menu printed on one sheet of paper with five curated choices vs the laminated diner menu with 20 pages of 24-hour breakfast, lunch, or dinner (plus specials!). It’s why I love Apple products, too, at least until recently.
See, when the iPhone came out, that was it: iPhone. Comes in black like a Model T. Done. Simple. Then a few years later, the iPhone 3GS was also available in white. OK. Easy enough, black or white. That held for a few more generations, then the 5S was available in black, white, and gold, plus there was a plastic model that came in a bunch of fun colors, too. Fine. The next year, the 6 came in two sizes – regular and plus.
If you go to the Apple Store now to upgrade your phone, what will you find? Four physical sizes – SE, mini, regular, or max as well as four different storage sizes. A total of, by my count, 14 different colors and, if you’d like to save money, all the models from the previous two years. You can pay anywhere from $399 to $1399 before tax, before warranties, and before cases, or anything else. How am I supposed to pick the right one?
I’ve been thinking about all these large and small choices a lot as we are packing and preparing to move. What do we take with us to our next chapter, and what do we leave behind?
There are always choices to be made in the move, as well. The church we are moving to asked us what colors we would like them to paint the parsonage, a very kind question (and one we thankfully had here, too). I picked up two fan decks, those things you see in the picture, containing what seem like thousands of close shades of every color imaginable. Based on what I’ve written already, you can likely predict that this is a sort of nightmare scenario for me. Sure, let’s go with beige, but what beige? What finish? How will I know I’ve chosen the right color? Can’t they just show me, like, 10 colors, and I choose the one I like best from that selection?
Jesus reminds his disciples that keeping his commandments is a path toward living fully in the life-giving love of God. Setting our primary value in life as loving God above all else and our neighbors as ourselves clears away much of the clutter that comes in trying to decide just what you and me are here for. We are here to love and be loved, to heal and to be healed, to give and to receive.
The right ways to live out that value often introduce more complexity that we would like. People can be complicated. Life rarely proceeds in a simple, orderly fashion for any of us. Yet understanding that we can simply abide in God and invite others to do so, too, just might clear things up. It also leads us to a few simple questions of our own, first among them: is what I am about to do going to bring me/us closer to or farther from the goal of living fully in the love of God and sharing that love with others? No matter how many choices you have to make today, choose to trust the God who gave us this beautiful life in the first place. Whatever else happens, we can trust in that.
Keep the Faith,
Pastor Ben Farewell Celebration – Saturday, June 5, 2021
Save the date! There are invitations in the bulletin in worship as well as coming to you in the mail. Beth La Penta is asking that everyone RSVPs whether you plan to attend or not so we have enough food for everyone. Thanks!
Upcoming Family Promise Help Dates – July 4th Weekend
Thanks to John Newton, Walter Maze, and everyone else who helped feed the family in our care with Family Promise this past week. The ministry has changed somewhat, but the goal remains caring for people and families experiencing temporary homelessness. We will be tasked with providing food for another family the first weekend of July. If you would like to purchase, deliver, or donate in another way, please let Walter know.
Continuing Coffee Hour Over Zoom – Time Change!
Laura Newton will host a weekly time of conversation and connection at 11:45 am after our worship service each week. Login available at 11:30am or conclusion of worship, whichever is later.
If you have questions or need help, you can ask Pastor Ben or Laura. Don’t be shy, you are missed and a part of this church family, too!
New Upper Rooms are Available in the Church Office
The new Upper Room Daily Devotionals are also available now. If you’d like to pick yours up, Gretchen is in the church office from 9am-noon Tuesday – Friday each week. Please call ahead so she can set whatever you are picking up out for you.
You will find every newsletter, worship service, devotional, and additional material posted to our Facebook page:
Even if you don’t use Facebook, you can access everything we have there. If you do have a Facebook account, “like” to follow our page and be notified when new things are posted or when videos are about to go live so you don’t miss anything.
Coffee Hour is a time of sharing after Sunday morning worship hosted by Laura Newton at approximately 11:30am. All are welcome!
If you have any difficulties accessing any of those links, please reply to this message or call the church office at (908)782-1070 and we will get you connected right away.