I was asked this week to share about my vision. I am often thinking about our shared vision as a church and that is how I answered the question.. not realizing they wanted my personal vision. With the "Seasons of Change" series wrapping up this week, and Charge Conference coming next week, it seems fitting to let you in on what I shared…
My vision for our spiritual journey together is to be real, relevant and relational. To be real is to be truthful, to be relevant is to be helpful and to be relational is to be connected. That vision owns the perfection we seek but allows for the imperfections we experience.
We’ve all heard the saying “nobody’s perfect.” That reality can be an excuse to not try our best or not be our best, but it can also be an expression of grace when we fall short of our aspirations. We are all perfectly imperfect since perfection isn’t based on achievement alone, but rather, the combination of effort and love.
John Wesley preached that the goal of the Christian life is to be perfected in love. It is love that makes up the difference when we or others fall short. Paul said love covers a multitude of sins. Martin Luther said our striving would be losing, were not the right man on our side, the man of God’s own choosing; Christ Jesus, it is he. It is the grace of God in Christ that catches us when we fall and lifts us into the perfecting arms of God. So we don’t live in a perfect world. We don’t have perfect marriages. Perfect children. Perfect anything. But love bears with us and empowers us to keep trying and to help others do the same when they come up short of aspirations and expectations. We bear one another’s burdens, including imperfections and thereby provide the strength to continue and persevere in our relationships.
So our vision for you and your friends and family is that you experience God’s perfect and perfecting love for your imperfections among us. Then give what you get to those who need it most.
Give love to the one in the mirror.
Give love to your husband or wife.
Give love to your friends.
Give love to church members.
Give love to those you meet.
Let love lead you in accepting perfectly imperfect people, including yourself.
Let’s empower one another through love to be our best selves and embrace the
less-than-perfect selves we all are this side of heaven with mercy.
Let love lead the way in all we do and say.
Love God with all that you are and your neighbor as yourself.
Love as God loves.
Love....it’s the perfect response to imperfection. After all, it’s God’s response to you and me and it makes us desire to be our best selves when nothing else will or can.