Stories of Generosity
“When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’” - John 20:19 (NRSV)
One of the ways we continue our Easter celebration is by reflecting on the stories of Jesus’ continued appearances with his disciples and with the early church.
Storytelling about how Jesus showed up in locked rooms, in the midst of fear, and in the confusion and chaos of the disciples’ lives gave them hope and grounded their mission in an uncertain future. Jesus offered them peace, and his presence with them began the tradition of Sunday morning worship that so many churches continue. On the first day of the week, in the morning, the disciples gathered and Jesus was present with them.
As we celebrate Easter and spring, I want to invite you, University Christian Church, to tell stories too.
Over one year ago, the COVID-19 pandemic dramatically impacted how we gather and worship together. During this time, we have learned new skills, like how to mute ourselves on Zoom and how to better livestream our worship services. We have figured out how to be community in different ways. It has not been perfect, and I know there are some who have not enjoyed this particular way of being church in this time.
But in the uncertain season we have been, we continued to gather in anticipation that Christ was in our midst.
That’s a story that we will tell for years to come.
We can tell other stories too - about how we sought to care for each other, how we responded generously through the support of the mission of our church, how we connected across the globe with friends and church members, how we launched new ministries, how we used the season to dream of our future, how we fed the hungry, and how we have worshipped even when we could not be physically together.
God has given us story after story to tell.
Beginning on April 18, we are giving space in worship to begin telling those stories and reflecting on the good news of Easter in a new stewardship series called “Stories of Generosity”. I know you have a story to tell as part of this series. We will continue making space for testimonies as part of worship, so please begin to think about the acts of generosity you have been a part of, ways you have seen God moving even in a difficult time like this past year.
We will kick off the series with Future Story Sunday, making space for our Future Story that casts a vision where we believe God is leading us as a church. This vision is not a strategic plan - it’s more like a sketch that paints a rich possibility as we open ourselves up to new mission possibilities, seek to transform our practices, and continue to stay rooted in the abundant love of God through Christ Jesus.
At the end of our series, you will be invited to consider making a pledge to support the mission and ministry of our church at this busy intersection for the coming year. We know this is still an uncertain economic time for many, so we will do so with compassion and grace as we dream and take faithful steps to where God is leading us next.
May we celebrate Easter and all that God is doing in our midst.
Don’t you have a story to tell?
Christ is risen! Christ is risen indeed!
— Rev. Nathan Hill