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Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors
Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors
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Pastor’s Message: April 19, 2021

For the Second Sunday of Easter, we discussed how the good news of the resurrection points us to the hope of God’s healing of humanity. Within this hope, we know the healing of our sin, in its individual, communal, and structural systemic forms will be overcome by the grace and power of the Risen Christ so that humanity can be one. When we believe in the power of the Risen Christ, we become witnesses to this power and the healing it provides us.

Being witnesses of the Risen Christ entailed three aspects among the first disciples: 1) they proclaimed the resurrection of Christ, 2) they performed the signs and wonders like that we read of in Acts 3 yesterday, and 3) they lived in a radical form of common life that revealed a stark alternative to the empires of the world. All three of these aspects were vital to revealing the Risen Christ to others in their communities.

We can certainly proclaim the good news of the Risen Christ who loves all humanity and who calls us into a communal life that embraces all people in peace with justice that provides an alternative to the injustice that drives even the nations often thought of as the greatest. 

We may not be quite so sure what to do about the signs and wonders we see in scripture. Some believe these signs and wonders likely did not happen but it was a way the ancients wrote to emphasize the power of their God or gods at the time. Some think we do not see signs and wonders because we do not have faith. Others suggest signs and wonders come at certain times of revealing so it is not unexpected to be in an era when these are not encountered. We might say like Jesus said to Thomas and the other disciples, “Blessed are those who do not see and yet believe.” Or, maybe, there are signs and wonders all around us that we simply do not notice.

However, regardless of what one thinks of signs and wonders in our day and age, it remains vital that our common life bears witness to the new world where we view each other as humans created in God’s image who need each other and deserve to survive and thrive as an alternative to the labeling that is so often placed on some humans to degrade their worth in the eyes of others so that the suffering and oppression experienced by our neighbors can be justified.

The Project Transformation After School Program and Summer Camp gives us an opportunity to embrace the oneness of the common life with our neighbors. It is vital that Chapel Hill UMC join together as a whole to offer radical hospitality so that it is clear to our neighbors participating in Project Transformation that they are a welcome and vital part of our community. We can help families register. We can greet them at the doors. We can dine with the children. We can read to the children either virtually or in person. We can attend Family Fun Nights. We can check in with families simply to see how they are doing. And we can respond with great vigilance when they have some significant need. In doing so, we will share the love and power of the Risen Christ in ways that will transform lives and make our community more whole as the healing of humanity takes shape among us.

More details will be coming soon concerning how you and I can share this love and power through Project Transformation. Let us be witnesses of the healing of humanity that results from the power of the Risen Christ.

Grace and peace,

Rev. J.D. Allen
Senior Pastor

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I wish above all things that you may know how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ for you.