It Is Time to Show Up!
I just watched a television commercial. The tag line was "Life is about showing up. I am here."
Christmas is about God showing up. God knowing we needed Immanuel - God with us; God knowing that we needed Incarnation - Word became flesh; God knowing, we needed God to show up... and God did. Here is a partial list of others who showed up.
Joseph and Mary showed up. The trip from Nazareth to Bethlehem was not easy for a pregnant woman on a donkey. They took that journey and God's Word for Bethlehem was fulfilled.
The shepherds showed up. They were frightened but also faithful. They showed up and also told others about the wonders they had seen. They went home praising God.
Simeon showed up in the temple when Mary, Joseph and Jesus arrived for the time of purification. Simeon was promised he would not see death until he saw the salvation of God's people.
Anna showed up. She was a widow who spent over 60 years in the temple fasting and praying. She saw Jesus and told everyone who was looking for the redemption of Israel about the child.
Eventually, the wise men showed up. They could have stayed home and published a book about their sighting of the star. Instead, they undertook a long and perilous journey.
In all of this, the one who did not show up when he heard the news about Jesus was Herod. Instead, he sent others to kill Jesus and massacre all the male children under two years of age. Please do not read what I am not writing in this paragraph.
Most of our life's journey is about showing up. God shows up, and our lives are changed forever. Faithful living, sacrificial service, and committed discipleship are all about showing up. It's about coming to the stable, it's about hearing the teaching on the mountain, it's about arriving at the foot of the cross, it's about standing before the empty tomb. Once we have encountered these truths, we know that God has shown up and we must show up as well.
This raises the question: Where are you needed to show up? I see four areas, among many, where the church needs people to show up. The Nursery, Children and Youth programs, Worship, and Stewardship. Worship and Stewardship are self-explanatory even the fact that being a good steward is involved in showing up to help others.
Nursery, Children and Youth: There are a lot of factors in a child's life that put them at risk of giving up and dropping out. Many of those factors are not seen for what they are until much later in the child's life. The best way to help these children is to show up.
Haley, our nursery coordinator, Tanya, our children's director, and Chloe, our youth ministry director, are always in need of screened adults to help. I see a lot of the same people doing most of the volunteering. That needs to change. Particularly, we need screened adults on Sunday mornings - Sunday School teachers, Children's Church helpers and Nursery volunteers - and Wednesday nights - Children's ministry, Youth Helpers, Nursery volunteers.
I know this will require a personal change for many of us. We all know change is uncomfortable and is never easy. I believe we could all use some change in the way we are the church. I ask each of you to consider what it truly means to be a church, the body of Christ, and how Christ would see reaching out to the ones in our church community, the ones who are most vulnerable and need good adult role models.
Please consider how you can help. Show up! As the vows of membership state to be loyal and faithfully participate in the ministries of the church with your prayers, your presence, your gifts and your service.
Consider the difference you can make in someone's journey when you simply show up. We as a church have a chance to change the life of a child forever by showing up. Don't stay away! Show up and be a part of the great mission.
Volunteer. Tutor. Serve. Give. Pray. Witness. Lead. Did you know that Sunday School is the largest volunteer organization in the world, yet there can be no Sunday School if people do not show up to be teachers and helpers.
The church is the body of Christ, yet there would be no church if you failed to show up to worship, witness and serve.
Live out the faith you proclaim. Announce to the world the arrival of God. God showed up for us; it is our time to show up and do the work of God in our church and community.
Your friend and Pastor -