Pastor Sean Palmer reminds us that God's story is, and always has been, a love story. Sean shares the story of Richard and Mildred Loving, and pieces of the film based upon their marriage, to illustrate the kind of patient, tough, and expansive love to which we are called as a people in Christ.
This week a year ago, Hurricane Harvey devastated the city of Houston. In this message, Pastor Chris Seay leads us in reflecting on the many ways Ecclesia responded to love our city in the midst of its pain and trauma. Throughout the stories of our community, we are able to witness the local church be the hope of the world. Ecclesia, may you go out this week knowing you are rescued and beloved by our Father.
Ericka Graham shared with us a truth-telling story from her life about accepting the grace that comes with being part of the Kingdom of Heaven. Grace can often be humbling to accept because it means that we are accepted for who we are today by our Creator who chooses to have a relationship with us. We are received by grace not when we have things figured out, but today in our brokenness. Anne Lamott writes that, “Grace meets us where we are, but does not leave us where it found us.” Ericka reminded us that when we receive undeserved love, we are more likely to give it.
Pastor Chris shared reflections on one of his favorite films, Steven Spielberg's Amistad, and asked us to reconsider how we engage with scripture. Are we reading the Bible solely to learn "facts", or are we immersing ourselves in a rich and living library that is overflowing with story, poetry, and shared history? Through his word, God tells us who we are, and invites us to embrace our truest identity as beloved children, that we would faithfully live out our part of the story.
This weekend, Sean Palmer led us into a discussion of power and love through the lens of Paul’s letter to Philemon. Onesimus was a former slave of Philemon who had run away. Onesimus met Paul while he was in prison and becomes like a son to Paul. Paul appeals to Philemon to treat his former slave as a brother in Christ. Are we willing to change our worldview in order to see people how God sees them?
Pastor Chris Seay shared his reflections on the film and story of Les Misérables, which depicts God's welcoming arms and loving mercy with truth and beauty. We are recipients of radical and undeserved grace. Will our hearts harden in shame like Javert, or like Jean Valjean will our lives be transformed as we turn our will over to God, humbled by the enormity of this gift?
This weekend in our gatherings, teaching pastor Sean Palmer reminded us of the importance of community and how we are not meant to follow Jesus in solitude. Our invitation is to know others and be known by them, allowing the depth of our relationship, service, and hospitality to grow. May we all accept this invitation to greater communion with one another.