Gathering with God

Hello Everyone!

Happy Tuesday. I am praying this morning that God’s Spirit speaks to yours today and meets you, perhaps, where you least expect it.

Last Sunday was the first of 2016. 2016! It’s a new year and the world is fresh in many ways, as God’s love for the world is new every morning.

Many of us make resolutions for the New Year (feel free to share yours with me!), but over the weekend we considered what God’s resolutions were for creation.

It might be curious to think of God striving to accomplish something, but our Scriptures paint a picture of God that is a little surprising: God has plans for creation and God’s Spirit does work to see them accomplished.

The ultimate goal in God’s program, as we saw in Ephesians 1, is to gather (or “unite”) all things in Christ. All things. Everything in heaven and on earth, gathered up together in the personhood of the one who is fully-God and fully-human. Creator and creation, intertwined.
We then discovered that you and I were destined to be gathered by God (Ephesians 1:11-12), to be the first to revel in this God/creation unity so that we might partner with God in the gathering.
And there is much gathering to be done.

Eight days ago, armed Americans stormed a federal building that headquartered the Malheur Natural Wildlife Refuge. The federal government is currently seeking to bring a peaceful end to the situation, but the armed group has threatened use of violence against any that would try to reclaim the public lands.

Surely we need gatherers to sow the seeds of love between people.

As we pointed out from the pulpit, there is a garbage patch in the Pacific ocean the size of Texas. A concentration of pelagic plastics, chemical sludge, and other debris have gathered into what humanity now calls the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch.”

Surely we need gatherers to sow the seeds of love for our planet.

So this week — examine your life, your whole life and see how you might become a “gatherer.” Consider how you might unite this world with the love of its God.

And consider these few suggestions, culled from the children’s sermon, to get you started.

1. Take something that has been discarded, some form of matter that others have deemed “trash” and redeem it – turn it into something useful, beautiful and/or meaningful.

2. Let someone know what you appreciate about them. Send a message or talk with them and simply inform them that “I appreciate _____ about you.” Begin gathering others into Love by sharing it.

3. Show God’s love to an animal. All things are being united in the love of God – that includes, well everything, even our furry friends. Play with a pet or whistle to a bird and reconnect with the world you were destined to garden.

And though these actions seem small, that “trash” you redeem will spend one more day outside of the Great Pacific Pile of human avoidance. That person you speak love into might turn away from an action which would otherwise cause further disunity.

But more than anything, by doing these you will participate in the work of God, alongside God.

And I can’t think of a better way to unite than that.

Your Fellow Gatherer,

Allen O’Brien
Licensed Minister
Elk Grove Congregational Church

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