I have been reflecting on Romans 12:1-2 this week. This is Eugene Peterson’s translation in The Message:
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering.
Each week in worship, we have a moment and a ritual to offer our financial gifts. And that is important as we ask God to bless and multiply our gifts for good. But that is only one element of our offering. I appreciate Paul’s reminder here that we are to offer our whole lives to God. Sometimes we feel inadequate like we don’t have much to offer. Sometimes we divide our life into our church work and the rest of our life. But God doesn’t view it that way. God values our whole selves and our whole lives. Then Paul goes on to write:
Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
Following in the way of Jesus is a counter-cultural movement. It always has been, no matter the culture. In these days, what is your faith calling you to do? Who is Jesus calling you to be? What do you need to think more deeply about? How can you offer your whole self to God?
A few announcements. I saw that the Livingston Food Resource Center is reopening its Community Bakery Retail store this week. Going forward, the store will be open Tuesday through Friday, from 7:30 am to 5:30 pm. They have scrumptious bread and baked goods and all proceeds support the Food Resource Center’s programs to help feed people in need and to make fresh, whole wheat bread available, at no cost, to food pantries across Montana. I’d encourage you to support the bakery as you can.
I am putting a pause on our Lunch Bunch, as I travel for the next few weeks. Perhaps after that, we can find some safe ways to gather outside.
I am gathering names of people interested in learning together about race issues in our nation. I want to create a small group where it is safe to ask questions, where there won't be fear you will say the wrong thing, where we can all learn together how racism works in our country and how we can be part of creating a world where all people are valued and none are discriminated against. If you are interested, respond to this email, or let me know. I know I have a lot to learn and it is good to have people to share and process with.
I continue to pray for us all, that God fills in the gap created by not being able to gather as a church in-person each week. I pray God renews our spirits and fills us with hope.
Grace and peace,
Park County United Methodist Ministries
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