Sunday, May 5, 2013

Quote of the Day:   John 13: 34 "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” 

The scripture above was my text for the ordination sermon today at the Bunda Methodist Church with Bishop Monto and pastors from all over in attendance.  I know of no better lesson for someone about to become a pastor than to hear this new commandment.  Churches here, like churches everywhere, have divisive voices within them, people who don't like things and say bad things about others in the church and the pastors.  It seems that this is just part of what every congregation contains.  It is sad, and it is especially sad if this causes good pastors to fail.  The pastors in attendance all loved the sermon, delivered mostly in Swahili, but I needed Bishop Monto to translate the words I didn't know and so it was a Swahili/English sermon for me but all Swahili for those listening.  In most churches, the positive voices drown out the negative ones, but I have never served a church that did not have those who seemed to be there only to complain.  In one church I served in Northwest Arkansas, one of the members met a continually complaining couple at the door of the church and told them to take their complaints elsewhere because they were no longer welcome.  They just moved to another Methodist church in the community and began causing problems for that pastor (who was Wes Hilliard for those of you who know him).  Happily, if we follow the new commandment that Christ gave us, this kind of thing will cause few problems because nothing can withstand the power of love for one another that Christ modeled for us.  Like the old hymn says, "They will know we are Christians by our love."

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