There is for most of us no better time than the season of the holidays. We so look forward to renewing and refreshing family ties; not to mention, the joy of eating and the smells and thrills of the festiveness of the reason and the season. Our outlook on life seems so much better with the coming of the anticipation of the gifts, gift giving, caring and sharing, and the building of new and remembering of old precious memories. Wow do I ever enjoy the taste of good old fried okra and cornbread dressing drenched in gravy and other not good for me stuff!
Can you imagine what the holidays would be like if you had no current memories and the relationships with family had been scarce and far between, broken and distraught. Could you imagine the difficulty in attaching warm fuzzy feelings to the love of the season if you had not spent the time with developing the relationships by phone calls, visits, "thinking abouts." and all the casual, yet intentional, ways you stay connected to the valuable love you have for friends and family.
Love is something we express by building caring connections that keep us alive to the joy of the interchange with each others' hearts. Relationships that matter are built on heart and time spent together. So it is also true for our love and relationship with God.
Rev. Bob Edwards
As a pastor, nothing hurts more than seeing members of the body, members who profess and confess Christ, staying distant and not growing the relationship with Christ that gives life purpose, meaning and livability! I can't know if it is past hurts or brokenness with "this" church. I do know that God loves and love takes the want to know! I want you to want to know Christ intimately!
God graciously gave us his Son and he states that in order to know the joy and the peace of the season, he wants to know you and build a love relationship with you. This takes time and an attitude of conscious intentionality in its development. The question is not just if we want his peace, it is do we believe that we can live the joy and peace Christ promises without his presence consciously in our lives by a desired and regular contact with him. Do we really desire the joy and the certainty of his peace or do we basically believe the church is for holidays, weddings, baptisms and funerals?
I care deeply for the city of Minot and the region and my motivation is pure in writing these thoughts. When we confess Christ, the joy and the abundant life are promised; however, this abundant life must be fed. When you feed this love with contact (Bible reading, devotionals, prayer, fellowship) then the spiritual almost magical transcendence of God (the gift of the Holy Spirit) arrives and our lives are truly full. If we ignore our relationship with God, it atrophies and we may seem alive, but we really only exist at the lowest level of joy possible.
Reflections, a mini-sermon written by Minot and area clergy, will appear each Saturday in The Minot Daily News. Clergy interested in writing a mini-sermon should contact Religion Editor Loretta Johnson at 857-1952 or Debbie Sandvold at 857-1950. The toll-free number is 1-800-735-3229.
My prayer this season is for us all to find the reason for the season and return and reacquaint ourselves with the living and loving faithful God; the God who sent the child for us to live!
Merry Christmas and happy relationship building in 2012!
Rev. Bob Edwards is pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Minot.