By Ivy Tillman
Member of the First Congregationl Church, Amherst, UCC
Trust us that what we put before you will be something you can digest. Trust us that we do not call you to be done with autonomy and serving God and the church in the way you think is best. Trust us that whatever we put before you will have a firm foundation on the core values of the United Church of Christ, that it will embrace a continuing testimony, that an extravagant welcome will always be provided, and that we will, as persons, local churches, conferences and the national setting, still be in the business of changing lives. Trust our process, trust the process provided in the (changing) constitution and by-laws. Trust our love and care for you in all of your settings. Trust that the relationship cannot be broken by Parliamentary procedure. Trust that whatever was broken can be healed.
At breakfast this morning, we were each called to find and share a moment when we had an absolute certainty of God's presence with us. I was tired already at 7:15am, and could not bring one to mind. Our worship leader asked us to then take a breath in, and when we breathed it out, to breath out and remember that God moment. He then urged us to breath that moment in difficult times (or really, whenever we felt we needed it) during the upcoming work of the day. When a moment came, I took the breath, and even though I could not articulate a moment earlier in the day, one came to me when it was needed. I really appreciate the gift of that tool.
There was more than difficult times today, though. The flash mob was in the house, and led us through an "instant recess." WooHooEeeee! OMG, Mission 1! 11.1.11, 11.11.11, 11,111, 111,111, I think I got most of those right, but even if I haven't, I am excited about this (I am never excited about mission anything, but I am so on-board with this!). Youth missionaries today-- great presentation. Prayer at the end of the service was so moving.
One fear for the day--that we as a church will not be able to sustain trust. One hope I have is that we will listen, understand, and work as individuals and in our local churches and conferences without waiting for the national setting to set our work in motion. They are competent-- so are we, and God wants all of our best, so let's give it. Hey! Here's a start: stop buying tomatoes from Stop and Shop and Trader Joe's-- no that's not a mandate, just an idea I had about how to get started with supporting the Florida farm workers as they seek a way to better wages (right now they are asking supermarkets to pay $0.01 more per pound for tomatoes). I'm bringing home postcards and literature so we can do more, but I won't be home for a few days... get busy.
Well, I am sure I have forgotten something, but we have an early call and a long day tomorrow...
Ivy Tillman is a member of the First Congregationl Church, Amherst, UCC.