Thursday, December 22, 2011

Proud Pastor

We are in the last week of the advent season, which at UBC is the week of love.  As is sometimes the case, I struggled to shape the sermon around the theme because of the abuse of the word love in our culture.  I settled on Psalm 89, which is the alternative reading from the Hebrew Bible. 

The text thrust me into the idea of covenantal faithfulness.  I shared about the difference between our cultural conception of the feeling of love or being in love and the Hebrew idea of hessed/emet.

On Tuesday this last week I got a call from the guidance counselor at the middle school that we work with through several of our outreach programs.  She explained that they had three students whose families needed help with Christmas because another church was unable fulfill its commitment.  I explained that most of our congregation was gone because of Baylor’s schedule, but that I’d check with the rest of the staff.  We unanimously agreed to give it whirl.  The guidance counselor dropped off the information on Tuesday afternoon and we were overwhelmed by the list of 41 presents.

Our idea was to shape the need of the families as an opportunity to respond to the idea of love.  So in the last few moments of the sermon I explained the situation and gave directions for people to help if they were able.  Katie, made individual slips of paper that listed the gift needs, which she hung on our tree for people to grab in the lobby after the service.  I explained that the presents needed to be bought and wrapped in 24 hours.  We were skeptical, but hopeful.  Most people were getting ready to travel.  Christmas budgets had been spent.  We figured money and time were commodities in short supply.

By the time I got out into the lobby after the service I found a line of people asking what they could get because all the slips were gone.  Katie suggested we make a sign that asked for gift cards to restaurants and local grocery stores. 

On Monday afternoon I headed into the office to get some work done before we jetted for the holidays.   I was greeted by this … our hallway wall lined with presents.

Undoubtedly the best moment of this Christmas Season for me. 

So proud of UBC.  They never fail to give.

This is love embodied.  This is the practice of incarnation.

Merry Christmas

1 comment:

  1. What a great story! Josh you are a great leader/shepherd! We have a wonderful savior- Jesus!