On the Road to Calvary
As we have been walking through Lent following Jesus, we have found profound lessons and inspiring examples of how Jesus put his faith into practical actions of love, compassion, obedience and grace. We might say, “Well, that was Jesus the son of God, that was easy for him.” But as we consider and look at the mystery of his God/human nature, we can see hints of how difficult this road was for him, especially as we approach Jerusalem and the Holy Week.
“Not my will but yours.” The God/human nature of Jesus cannot be explained as a dual personality, that is, two persons in one. It is a mystery indeed, but what we can see is the human struggling with human issues, for example the misunderstanding of his disciples, the merciless attitudes of the authorities, and the indifference of the religious people to share his message of mercy and love.
At the same time, we see the Godly nature of Jesus as he “walked the talk” and through his lessons, examples, and practical actions, showed that he certainly was the son of God!
As we approach Jerusalem, we will inevitably get to that point when we start walking with Jesus on the road to Calvary. By then we will see Jesus in an attitude of complete obedience and surrender to the will of God.
What have we learned from this season? What have we learned on this road to Jerusalem? My prayer is that as we approach Calvary, we are ready to understand the will of God and to surrender ourselves to His will.
See you Sunday in church,
The Way Forward
As I’m writing this article, I’m connected via internet to the historic General Conference of the United Methodist Church in St. Louis MO. After a long study of “The Way Forward” commission, several options were suggested by the commission regarding the issue of human sexuality, and this special General Conference will decide which way to go forward. You can read more about the issues at http://www.calpacumc.org/ or at http://www.umc.org/topics/general-conference-2019-special-session
John Wesley said, “We think and let (others) think.” We are around eight million United Methodist people in the United States and another four million in different countries around the world. Twelve million people have a lot of ideas and opinions! Churches face unique situations and multiple factors in their places of ministry that determine the way the church should move forward. While things are still being decided, nobody at this time knows what the aftermath of this General Conference will bring to our beloved UMC as a whole.
One of the most frequent questions is… how is this going to affect the local congregation? That is exactly what we will see in the future. For now, I can say that as Nestor UMC, in the last 5 years we have been dealing with our own issues and conflicts, our dreams and vision, our possibilities and challenges.
We continue to look for new ways to serve and do ministry. The CORE Nestor project has been approved by the District, so our prayer is that doors can be opened for the financing for this project. At the same time, we recently “cast the net” and started a new worship service in Spanish, responding to the fact that almost 75% of the population around our campus is Hispanic. It is proven that when you start a new ministry in a church (and particularly a new worship service) the other ministries also benefit as there is more exposure and interest from the community. This is not a recipe, but I’m a firm believer that if we are faithful to our mission of being a nurturing place for all, making disciples for Christ, God will bless the intention of our hearts and the work of our hands.
Finally, I’m blessed to see the response of the congregation with donations for several ministries that the Methodist Church of Mexico has for deportees. We also have several members in our congregation that are volunteering at the Safe Harbors ministry in San Diego, providing support for refugees.
My prayer is for wisdom, vision and that God might bless the intention of our hearts and the work of our hands.
See you Sunday in church,
Days of New Beginnings
As I am walking in the intricate streets of the old city of Jerusalem. I arrive to an apparently regular street that looks like any other street, but then I see that this street goes up… up to Calvary.
This is the traditional Via Dolorosa, the street that it is believed Jesus walked, carrying the cross to Calvary. Along the street you can stop at certain stations that commemorate both the three passages that happened in the Bible as well as others that are traditional and believed happened that day.
It is Friday afternoon, so part of the city has slowed down because of the Jewish Sabbath. There is a feeling of quiet, reflection, and meditation. During this pilgrimage, the Bible readings that I have read many times have a special meaning as I can put together places, people and events. Events both of sorrow and pain as well as of joy and hope.
That is one of the lessons I have learned from this pilgrimage. The road is still uncertain and many times goes uphill. Am I willing to walk this way? Although it can be hard, there’s so much joy and hope at the end of the road. We have a message that in the end happened “on the third day”. It was a day of new beginnings!
Shalom. See you Sunday in church!