I shared in Sunday’s sermon that last Thursday evening, October 14 for me fulfilled the words with which Charles Dickens began A Tale of Two Cities: “It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.” Within a two-hour time frame I got to experience a great, shared step forward in faith by a congregation, and my beloved San Francisco Giants were eliminated from the baseball playoffs.
I suspect you have heard—perhaps ad nauseum—of the loss by the Giants at the hands of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Two evenly-matched teams in a tense win-or-go-home game going down to the last out, which came on a check-swing, as seen by the first base umpire. I did not agree with the call, but that is why I preach sermons and he adjudicates baseball contests. Alas!
Some two hours earlier though, this preacher’s heart was filled and thrilled as the followers of Jesus who gathered as the Galt United Methodist Church voted unanimously to sell two vacant lots adjoining their current facilities. The expectation is that those lots will be developed into high-density, low income senior housing. The proceeds of the sale will be the seed money for a new home for the church’s vital community pantry project, allowing that resource to blossom and grow and bless Galt and the surrounding area.
The congregation had studied the possibility for more than a year, secured the interest of investor Christian Care Homes, drawn up plans for a multi-faceted pantry facility and kept the congregation and community well informed all along the way. The atmosphere in the meeting was very hopeful even as probing questions were posed and answered. In the end, the secret ballot yielded a unanimous verdict: let’s go forward! The endeavour is not nearly done, in fact, it is just well begun, but—given their eager, cooperative attitude—I am confident that a great community resource will be in place in two to three years.
And here’s the point I am taking away from last Thursday: competition is not as rewarding as cooperation. Yes, it was great for the Dodger fans, and devastating for the Giant faithful. For the citizens of Galt, it was all good, and hopeful, and encouraging. In matters of competition, someone wins…and everyone else loses. In matters of cooperation, everyone can win.
This Sunday will be very special for several reasons. Our new District Superintendent, the Rev. David Niu, will join us, preaching on the value of abiding in Christ. We will then cooperate as a community of faith, gathering up the investments we are making into our shared future as we commit and consecrate our pledges of prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness for the coming year. We will also receive some new members coming from our confirmation class—another awesome, cooperative venture. After worship we will feast as we celebrate all we share in Christ. And, finally, weather permitting—we will work together to place bricks into our new labyrinth south of the parking lot, lending our aid to a resource designed to bless anyone who makes use of it.
It will be a day of commitment, consecration, cooperation, and celebration. Don’t miss it! Worship begins at 10:30 A.M. in person and online (www.holycrossumc.us)
Yours for Christ,