On June 25, our youth group (9 youth & 9 adults) will travel to Philadelphia for mission trip. The program is hosted by a Presbyterian church in downtown Philadelphia, staffed by about 25 college students. The program draws about 200 youth across the country, as they serve those in need by repairing their houses or work with little children for Vacation Bible School. They will make new friends with people who come from different places economically and socially. They will wonder how people could live with so little. But they will recognize the grace of God that surrounds them with hospitality. They will learn to serve their neighbors as Christ loves them.
We go out to the world because God loves the world. God created the world in God’s love. After God saw all that God had created, God thought that “it was very good.” (Genesis 1:31) God sent God’s only Son Christ because God loves the world. Jesus says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) While many Christians use the scripture verse to condemn the non-confessing Christians, the next verse says, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (v.17) Our mission is grounded in the love of God for the world.
The founder of Methodism, John Wesley, also understood that the church is never confined within the four walls of a building. As his movement came into conflict with the established church, he decided to go out to the world and preach anywhere he could meet people, especially those on the margins of the society. He went to the house, field, market, and mine. He knew that God was calling the believers out to the world to “save persons, heal relationships, transform social structures, and spread scriptural holiness, thereby changing the world.” (Book of Discipline) Therefore, he proclaimed, “The world is my parish.”
As our youth group spends one week in Philadelphia, I also encourage our congregation in Putnam to pray for everyone who will be working in hot and humid weather. Please pray that we will have a safe travel as we need to drive our own vehicles. Please pray that those whom we serve will experience the love of Christ through our hands and feet. Most of all, please pray that those who go the mission trip will also encounter Christ who blesses them with the mind of Christ. The mind of Christ that is full of love for God and love for neighbors. Please pray that God will bless our church so that we can make more disciples of Christ who will say yes to the way of Christ.
We are people of mission because it is the heart of God. If we believe that God loves the world so much, we also know that God is calling us out into the world. It could be messy. It could be uncomfortable. But the grace of God is stronger than even in the places of messiness and brokenness. And we bring back the blessings to our places and become refreshed in our heart for God and purpose of mission. We are all connected as brothers and sisters in Christ. Our youth group will also travel to Philadelphia carrying all of you in their prayers. May God bless our church as we faithfully respond to the call of God out into the world.
Pastor Bob Jon