Beloved Church-in-the-Garden Family and Friends,
The Love Ethic Preaching Series based on 1 John texts highlighted a wonderful month of impactful worship in July. What a wide range of topics that the Love Ethic informed. We started the series with 1 John 3:17 “Healthcare: The Hypocrisy of Christians”, 1 John 2:15 “What Not to Love”, 1 John 3:18 “Love is an Action”, 1 John 3:23 “Loving When we are Unlovable”, and concluded with 1 John 4:18 “Love Unafraid”. The common thread of this series was to reinforce the belief that love should permeate all that we say and do. The Book of 1 John teaches and illuminates the deeper understanding of love, not simply as a slogan or an ideal, but the work and activity that defines our triune God and our relationship with God and one another. Indeed, love is the power that speaks truth to the masses and those who are in positions of authority. Love is the action that condemns wrong and works to restore right relationships. Love is the navigational tool for our discernment when we are struggling with whom and what we should love. Love is the force that cancels, opposes, and eliminates our fears. I am wholeheartedly convinced that the sea-change needed in this country in our efforts of social justice, freedom, and the betterment of society is a revolutionary movement of perfected love as exampled by Jesus Christ. The challenge of this series is to daily implement this perfected love in our daily lives. I hope that we will do just that.
I would be remiss if I did not express and congratulate our praise team on their inspirational and heartfelt singing this month. With lush harmonies and great confidence and comfortability, these young women are leading worship and are becoming role models for our younger children. Please keep encouraging them and others to be part of the worship with their time and talents.
August is the traditional month for vacations. Many of you have already travelled or will be travelling. Please remember to keep the Church-in-the-Garden in your prayers and to drop us a line letting us know where you are.
Whether you are taking a staycation or travelling the globe, I would like to encourage everyone to make sure that you rest and recharge. Many of us sorely need to get some good solid sleep. We get so busy doing so much that as soon as we lay down we are right back up again. So, get some rest. Take some time to recharge your yourself both physically and spiritually. Now is the time to do it. With September right around the corner, many of us will find ourselves pulled right back into the hectic schedules of our lives. I believe that we all need an opportunity to refresh ourselves and enjoy some “me” time. Go ahead, you deserve it!
This month our Youth Ministry will be going on retreat. I am asking that you keep them in your prayers also! As a new school year approaches, it is imperative that our youth take the time to retreat and commune with God and ask for guidance and discernment for this school year. Their retreat should afford them an occasion to do as much.
Finally, let me thank the Board of Ministry of the Church-in-the-Garden for their tireless work. From our youth, to the upkeep of our plant, to the business of our church, this Board goes above and beyond in the workings of this congregation and church. I count it an honor to labor with you in the Garden for the glory of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We still have much more work to do, but I really do appreciate and am grateful for all that you do!
Rev. Earl Y. Thorpe Jr.