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  • Henry Prater

Specificity: why we Christians often struggle.

Y’all have heard me say it time and time again over the years since I have been at Edgemont. Living out what God has called us as Christians to do should be pretty simple. Jesus lays it all out in the Greatest Commandments, love God and love neighbor. So simple even a caveman can do it (I still love those Geico commercials). All we have to do is that, and everything will be alright.

Well, not always, I am finding. It is so simple, and it is also really general. Those commandments need to be the guiding principles for us, the things that make sure we never get out of bounds in what we do. I get in trouble when I just stop there and do not spend time thinking about how I am going to love God and my neighbor. What are the specific things that I am doing to live out those commandments?

As Erin mentioned in her blog (, during the season of Lent, I am inviting us all to reflect on some very specific things that we as Christians and all churches have, something that we learned about this past year: the three V’s or Vibes, Values, and Vision. Each of these concepts are meant to get to the root of how we actualize our Christian practice and our church life. Each of these invite us to get granular. Are we living our life in such a way that people want to be around us? Are the things we claim to value actually seen in the actions of our church and our lives? Do we know where we are going? These are big questions! That is why we need to take some time with each of them. Our Ash Wednesday service is going to present us with some tried and tested tools for reflection. Then, we are going to spend two Sundays on each of the three V’s, digging into what they are and how they shape us. Finally, we are going to do some surveying, all of us answering some questions, so that we can get a fuller picture of who we are as Edgemont UMC and where God is leading us. Once we have a fuller picture, we can then begin to see the concrete ways we are called and gifted to live out the Greatest Commandments that Jesus gave us.

So, now, would you join me in praying for our church and for the Holy Spirit to begin preparing our hearts for the deep dive into who we are and where we are going? Will you open yourself up to the movement of the Spirit and be ready for the difficult and honest questions we have to ask ourselves? I hope you will, Edgemont, because I truly believe that God wants to use us as a force for His love in our community.

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