Dear St. Lukers,
Our hope is this Weekly Update email finds you and yours doing well. For many of you, a new school year has begun and we are keeping administrators, teachers, students and families in our prayers – as well as the technology holding it all together! I’ve loved seeing your traditions of posting your first day of school pictures on social media, as we all seek to find some semblance of normal in the midst of everything.
This week, we continue in our church-wide study of Reckless Love seeking to be Bridge Builders through our relationships. If you are reading along with us we move into the chapter of “Open Hearted Love” where Tom Berlin writes of the exchange between the great American hero Fredrick Douglass and a young black man who was asking for advice. Douglass summed up his life’s work in one word, repeated three times: Agitate, Agitate, Agitate.
Now you may read this and say to yourself “self, there is certainly a lot to be agitated about in this world today.” But Douglass wasn’t speaking of agitation we experience from the world. He was talking about the agitation of Jesus, and the Kingdom that in-breaks and gives us new eyes to see the world. “He (Douglass) believed that God called him to the work of God’s will in the world. As a Christian, he could not understand how other Christians could be content in a world where the kingdom of God was a concept rather than a reality.” (pg. 71) Jesus agitated the status quo and shook things up, turning those who followed him Kingdom side up! Berlin writes “to be agitated is to have our lives cleansed of what inhibits God’s love from radiating from our lives.” (pg. 72) This is the kind of agitation that builds bridges, changes lives, and in the process, opens our hearts to one another in new ways, with deeper empathy, understanding, grace, and love.
- Feeding hundreds of people a week with not only physical food but spiritual food: Agitate
- Hosting “Drive Thru’s” for youth to connect and see one another on Friday evenings: Agitate
- Participating in a phone call with Senator Rubio, and writing and meeting with policymakers to advocate for increased SNAP (food stamp) benefits so no child goes to bed hungry: Agitate
- Starting new Life Together Groups, Studies for St. Luke’s U, and “Discover St. Luke’s” classes: Agitate
- Close to 100 people in book studies and workshops on Racial Equity Education: Agitate
- Purchasing school supplies for students, classroom supplies for teachers, and a safe touch-free water stand for our Educational IMPACT partner schools: Agitate
I’m so proud to be a partner with a congregation willing to do the hard work, roll up their sleeves and not just pray “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” but agitate the status quo enough to reveal the Kingdom among us in real tangible ways. A people willing to hear the pain and struggle of others and want to make things better in real ways. How are you being a Kingdom agitator in your world on a regular basis? What is Jesus trying to cleanse in your own heart, agitating your beliefs, assumptions, or obstacles – so you might radiate love more? Join us in worship for Communion Sunday as we seek to let Jesus open our hearts even wider.
Grace and peace,