What an amazing August we had here at Bethesda. We had 72 children and over twenty volunteers who were part of our Super Hero Vacation Bible School experience. If you haven’t already, take some time and look at the pictures of our super heroes for God on the bulletin boards by the main office and in the hallway between the narthex and our fellowship space. Just the other day one of the Preschoolers was being picked up by her Dad and was walking by the pictures and said, “Daddy let’s stop and look for Jesus.” Not sure what she meant by that, but I can tell you she was right on track. I saw Jesus in all the children and those who worked with them. It was a blessing for all of us.
We also had a wonderful Neighborhood Picnic and Parking Lot party. The S.M.O.R.E. committee sponsored this event and did excellent work. Thanks to all who made this event happen. If I were to guess, I would say around two hundred neighbors attended our party. Everything was fantastic-the band, food, crafts, service project, bike decorations, water fights, and the jumpy house were so much fun. Members from our congregation did a nice job of mingling and welcoming our neighbors. One family who I spoke with for quite some time was saying they couldn’t believe that we did all this for the neighborhood at no charge. They told me they had spoken with some of their neighbors they hadn’t seen in two years and were grateful for the opportunity to reconnect. Helping build neighborhood community wasn’t even something I had thought of when we planned this event and what a blessing to be a part of that. God’s plans and our plans are often somewhat different but I am always amazed at what God does when we are faithful.
So now we are heading into Fall. So much for slowing down in the summer! Whew! I didn’t even mention the children and adults who participated in camp, mission trips and bible studies this summer. What I learned about Bethesda this summer is that ministry cranks up a notch in the summer it doesn’t slow down! So when council asked me if we were going to have a Rally day I had to smile. Not sure we need to rally we never stopped. We will be starting Sunday school and going to two Sunday services on September 16th. Confirmation begins on the 19th with a Parent/Student event and the women’s Fall kick off is on the 11th.
I have chosen a theme for this year - See How They Love Each Other. When it comes down to it the Christian faith is fairly simple – God loves us unconditionally, God reveals that love to us in Jesus and we are to love one another. Simple in the sense of the bottom line principles of our faith but not so simple to live out day to day. According to the Gospel of John, Jesus in his final days on earth gathered his disciples and gave them a new commandment “love each other just as much as I love you. Your strong love for each other will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” (John13:34-35) Hopefully through word and deed we will come to understand what this means for our faith community. I chose this theme because I believe this is what truly sets us apart from all other faith traditions. We have the unconditional love of God and are empowered by the Holy spirit to live into that love. In a time in the world where love being lived out in word and deed is hard to find we as a Christian community need to experience that love and be an example of that love all the more. So let’s focus this year on loving as Christ has loved us.
Take a sheet of paper and a pencil and sit down somewhere where you will be undisturbed. Write down names of people who have shown you God’s love in word or deed. Spend your prayer time thanking God for those people and praying for them.