Dear St. Lukers,
Growing up as a kid, I spent the majority of Friday nights and Saturdays on the sidelines watching my brothers and dad in sports. Whether it was the football field, basketball court, or baseball field, we were there. But even more so, they were with us. The teams, that is. There were always extra kids in our home for dinner or spending the night, or in the car getting rides to and from the game. I had an entire set of brothers from all different backgrounds who were always looking out for me because of the community my parents built with the teams. In fact, I vaguely remembered literally being thrown around as a football while the guys would chant my name, “R.U.T.H. jenny ruth, jenny ruth, jenny ruth!” Which could explain my issues with memory and recall.
Looking back on those days, I recognize my definition of beloved community and understanding of inclusiveness was shaped by watching those teams. There really is nothing like a sports team working toward a common goal to build an inclusive community. There are no stars, everyone mutually depends on one another, and when one achieves the entire team wins. I watched as my dad and the coaches would make kids from different cultures, races, economics and family dynamics, move past their differences and rely on one another to win a game. If there was an argument or fight on the field, you better believe Coach Joe was going to take everyone aside and work through it together. It’s what you did, it’s how you won. While our sports ministry doesn’t concentrate on winning, it certainly teaches our children and youth the value of the team, how to work toward a common goal, and how to value each person’s talents. (Thinking seriously about the be 1 of 5 and the growing young mentoring? Why not come out on a Saturday morning, and cheer on our kids and sports volunteers in action. Let those kids and families know they really have a support system literally cheering them on!!)
Our pillar of focus for Sunday worship is Reconciling Love: A vision for beloved community. All of our Pillars in the 2020+ Vision are an evolution, not a revolution, of the 4D strategies. This particular pillar was born out of the continued work of the 4D strategic vision to “Speak Love Aloud” focusing on reaching and building a congregation reflective of the beautiful diversity of God’s Kingdom here in the Dr. Phillips and Central Florida neighborhood. Reconciling Love invites us to not just accept one another but to dig in deep to our discipleship and practice Old Testament Hospitality, “hesed”, where we value our differences and commit to faithfulness as God has for us and welcoming the stranger to become a part of our community. In other words, learning how to be a part of this amazing St. Luke’s team God has created us to be and ensuring we are seeing the value and worth of each player to accomplish our Kingdom sized goals!
Join Pastor Corey and me Sunday as we unpack Paul’s words of the ministry of reconciliation from 2 Corinthians 5:13-19 and paint a picture of what beloved community can be among us and who is still waiting to be found to join the team.
Grace and Peace,