“Jesus Prays for Us”

by: Rev. Lynn Pier-Fitzgerald (excerpt from a sermon Oct. 5, 2014)

Sometimes I think we have forgotten that we are “sent people” to be in ministry to the world, beyond the walls of our church. We’ve settled into a ministry that is comfortable to us, located inside the building. We are sent to be light to the world but not to be like the world.

Jesus said, “I am in the world that they might share completely in my joy.” I saw joy this week at the Beal Memorial Celebration that happened at the Midtown Center. There was an article about it in the Holland Sentinel this week. There were about 300 people gathered together for this event, from across the city: different colors of people, economic statuses, people from the core city, from all around the region…men and women and children… young and old. We heard stories about Jesus’ presence and “Following in Jesus Footsteps.”

One young woman from Escape Ministries talked about how she discovered faith this summer and that faith gave her a reason to stop cutting, which young people do sometimes.

Another man told us that he was evicted from his home and people from his church and neighborhood helped him establish a place to live with his young son.

There was a story from one of our own young people about how this church surrounded her family when her mother had a severe accident.

We shared music and art and dancing that afternoon. It was a celebration of diversity but also it was about how God is out there in the world, among us, as we “Follow in Jesus Footsteps.”

I was especially struck by Kathy Beal when two years ago, after the last Beal Memorial Lecture, held in our church, she looked around and said, “Where are the people of color?” She made a determined effort to make relationships and partnerships with people in the community serving people of color, building a momentum for this event that would bring people from different places together with those who live side by side in this neighborhood, into one place and time, under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

Her vision was a 2-year journey. She called us out…out of the safety of this building and into our neighborhood around our church. Kathy invited us to remember that we are sent into the world and to discover that there is joy in the work of being sent and being called by God to new ventures in Christ’s name.

Jesus calls us and prays for us into the journey of faith in His world, to serve in His name.

May it be so.

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