Some Rambling Thoughts on Neighbors and Cancelling Church

The “Road Trip/Big Bus Trip” weekend for the Gladeville-Mt. Olivet Charge of the United Methodist Church was a success!  We delivered 120 bagged lunches to residents of 5 trailer parks in the Galax/Midway Heights area of Virginia.  I appreciate all of our volunteers who made and delivered these signs of God’s love to our neighbors.

The response that stuck with me over the weekend was the lady who lived by herself.  After we gave her the bagged lunch she said, “For me?”

Is meeting our neighbors important?  With a response like that, it sure is worth living our faith as we share God’s love with our neighbors.

I notice I said this weekend, “Giving God’s love.”  It has occurred to me that I didn’t say, “Giving our love to our neighbors.”  At this point, we don’t know our neighbors well enough to give our love.  Over time as we learn who our neighbors are and they learn who we are, it will be “giving our love and giving God’s love.”  Until that happens, we will continue to give God’s love to our neighbors.

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We did not cancel worship services at Gladeville or Mt. Olivet United Methodist Churches yesterday.  I do not like to cancel church, ever.  Even with the wind chill hovering around -10 degrees Fahrenheit, that is still not a good excuse to cancel worship services.

Here are some of my thoughts on why I do not cancel worship services:

1. People have enough excuses to miss worship services.  I do not need to give them another excuse!

2. There are Christians who are being persecuted around the world.  We need to gather to at least pray for them.  If we do not pray for the persecuted Christians, then who will be praying for them?  We hope that the faith of persecuted Christians will remain strong, even when faced with death.

3. Our government (state or federal) has not told us to stop worshiping God.  So, we will continue to worship God and follow Jesus until they do.  And if the state or federal government tells us to stop worshiping God and following Jesus, then we are going to continue to worship God and following Jesus.

4. Our culture expects churches to cancel when there is inclement weather.  Yet, the stores and restaurants have many church-going people in them when churches are cancelled.  Yes, I am going to keep worshiping God even when the culture around me expects the church to cancelled on bad weather Sunday’s.

5. If people can go through bad weather to go to whatever they want to (concerts, vacations, etc.), then we want the church to be a destination people can go to during bad weather.  So I sure hope that the worship service is engaging enough for that to happen!

6. God is still working in this world.  So, worshiping God sounds appropriate, no matter the culture, government, or weather.

7. For those who are older and a bit feebler than I, we respect your decision to stay home during inclement weather.  I would hope that you would be encouraged to know that the church is continuing to work, even if you are not present.  Your faith has gotten you through many storms in your life. Your giving has enabled the church to be available, even during harsh weather.  May we younger ones be inspired to be as faithful to God as you have been.

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Those are some of my thoughts.  And yes, I have actually cancelled church and I have not always loved my neighbor.  Jesus is encouraging me to be faithful to him.  And I am trying to do that better each day.  Maybe someday I too will be holy like God is holy.

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