What an exciting Sunday we have in store! Not only will we be blessed to have David Campbell reflecting on how his time in the foreign service has impacted his faith, but Kate Taber, our mission co-worker in Israel/Palestine, will be leading us in Sunday School! What an interesting week!
A few years ago, one of the focuses we settled on in New Beginnings was International Mission and Ministry. Think about where we have been since we made that commitment: An international Scholarship fund that has helped to different young women attend college, raising enough money to rebuild 22 homes in Nepal, hosting 3 international peacemakers from Syria, South Sudan and South Africa, starting a relationship with a mission co-worker. Not to mention some of the things that led us to this place—3 different YAVs coming from our congregation, congregants doing pilgrimages around the world (or serving as diplomats), don’t forget several members in the armed services stationed around the world as well, a trip to Cuba by several members as a part of a presbytery delegation, and a pastor who went as a part of a Synod delegation to the church in China. I don’t know about you, but it seems that this focus on International mission is a very important part of our identity as a church congregation.
It has me thinking about the book of Isaiah, specifically Isaiah 49:6, “God says, “But that’s not a big enough job for my servant – just to recover the tribes of Jacob, merely to round up the strays of Israel. I’m setting you up as a light for the nations so that my good news becomes global!” Of course, in the case of Isaiah, he is speaking to Israel’s exiles returning home, and laying a bigger vision before them. For us, those words hold power as well.
While it is certainly of the utmost importance that we serve our surrounding community, it is also important that the good news doesn’t end there. Just focusing on that is too small for God’s vision. We are to serve all people. No Exceptions!
I don’t know about you, but I find that there is something very special about global mission and ministry. I find that when I have engaged with global mission, my mind and horizons are expanded in significant ways. I see myself changing as a result of engaging with others around the globe. I think that is part of the importance of international mission—it is an important way that God can shape us. In an era where it is quite easy to get caught up in the fishbowl that is the political climate of the USA, it is so important to remember that God’s calling is bigger than our small vision. It isn’t just about us (however you want to define us). Our decisions, our service, our faith, must have a much greater horizon than we are so often inclined to hold. We have to think bigger. We have to love bigger. We have to serve bigger. That is part of what God is saying to the Israelites through Isaiah, and it is what God continues to say to all of us—think bigger, serve bigger, love bigger.
This week will have some special opportunities for that kind of transportation, and I hope you will join us in celebrating our connections around the globe as God’s people!