When thinking about my personal statement for confirmation, I was asked to think of a Bible passage that was important to me. I chose Mark 10:43-45, "Yet is shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant and whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many."
What this passage means to me is that even God came to serve and not be served.
The definition of the word 'serve' means to act like a servant.
I fell like Jesus calls me to serve others. This last July, I was privileged to be able to attend the National Youth Gathering in Detroit.
This experience was great and I felt like I grew a lot in my faith.
During the National Youth Gathering, we participated in a Day of Service. On our bus ride to the project site, we passed by much of the inner city. There were several buildings that had been burnt to the ground. Parts of buildings had fallen onto the sidewalk and road.
No one was there to clean it up, so pedestrians had to go around the debris by walking in the road. The buildings were eye sores for the community as well. I could tell that the people of this city struggled with many problems.
Our service project from "Focus Hope" was to clean out an alley way that was overgrown. The alley was so overgrown you couldn't tell what it was. As we cleared some debris and trees, we discovered an abandoned homeless camp there.
The alley way was not safe for families and kids to be around.
It opened my eyes to see how other people have to live in some areas of severe poverty. The whole point of the gathering was for us to grow in our faith and to make the community of Detroit more safe and a better environment to be in.
The people I saw during my trip were the people that lived in that town. most of the people that we saw were sitting on their porches, smiling and waving as we walked by.
It felt great to see the smiles on the people's faces because I knew I was making a difference for them. I want to take what I learned about serving and bring it back here to our community and help out by helping with the Sack Lunch Program or the Reach Out Program at the church to help people in need.
The last thing I would like to say is to the people that made it possible for me to go on this trip to Detroit: You helped serve me so that I could go and serve others in other communities, so thank you.
“Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths.” Psalm 25:4
The moon shined so brightly over the Peninsula that I hardly noticed how the two-lane, remote road remained unlit by lamp posts. The line it cut across the Canal rippled radiant. Such nights cause me wonder. I want to sit still and bask in the moon’s brilliance.
When I hear the Psalms speak of God showing us a path, or making his ways known, this moonlight comes to mind. In a world that too often leaves us in the dark, this image carries truth: When we cannot see the way, when have lost our bearings, God enters—like radiant moonlight—to light the way.
About 4 years ago, a friend and I decided that we needed to be brave and take a class called “Navigating with a Compass.” The goal of the class was to get us familiar enough with topographic maps and a compass to enable us to make our way through the woods and arrive where we needed to be. The final class was a real-life test: We were paired with strangers, sent off-trail, descending into unfamiliar woods, with a compass and coordinates. The object was to arrive at or near those coordinates. Suffice it to say, I had no idea where I was going until somehow we arrived at the designated place. Between the time that we started and finished we experienced confidence one minute, bushwhacked and waded through creeks bewildered the next, regrouped ourselves and tried to listen better—to our surroundings and each other, looked for markers along the way that could help us orient ourselves, and continued downward. We stepped cautiously but deliberately, we avoided steep terrain and sharp objects, we talked, and we stood quietly when needed. Until we arrived—amazed and relieved.
Figuring out a way, negotiating a path, is not easy, and it should never be done alone. That’s why God’s Word and God’s Church provide a way for us to move forward with purpose.
This month we explore Stewardship: “Everything you do after you say ‘I believe.’” Our symbol for the Season is a Compass. But the compass is not marked with North, South, East, and West. Instead it is marked with Calvary’s Four Values: Service, Practicing Generosity, Regular Worship, and Growth in Faith. Service: On September 13th we celebrated a Ministry Fair which allowed you to experience the many and various ways the members and partners of Calvary serve within and outside the congregation in ministry.
Practicing Generosity: On September 20th we welcomed Melanie Wallschlaeger, who led us in a conversation and activity that helped us to appreciate “Generosity that Sticks.”
This past Sunday at Forum we had a lively dialogue about the benefits of Regular Worship.
And this Sunday we’ll be exploring the opportunities and meaning of Growing in Faith.
These same markers will be the focus of brief talks by our members in worship in October and November.
O Lord, teach us your paths.
Rev. Lori A. Cornell