What's Next? January 26

    January 23, 2020 | News by Rev. Matthew Ruffner

    I have loved preaching our new series, Is it just me? Thank you for your openness to explore the difficult issues we wrestle with. I have been struck by how many of you have reached out and shared your personal experiences of the last two topics, Work and Loneliness. 

    I was especially struck by a comment last week after the sermon on loneliness. Someone shared that CBS had run a segment on loneliness that morning, so  I went back and watched, and a new statistic from the CDC overwhelmed me. The CDC reported:

    There are now twice as many suicides in the United States as there are homicides.  

    Read that again.  

    There are now twice as many suicides in the United States as there are homicides.  

    Sit with that for a moment. 

    The segment went on to reveal the epidemic of loneliness as one of the major contributing factors. As I said last week, I believe this is not only a sociological issue, but is a great spiritual issue of our day.

    As Christians, as people of faith, we believe we were made in the image of God, and we are fully claimed and loved by God. Therefore, the spiritual path invites us to see the divine in one another. I do not believe the life God intends for us is a life of isolation or loneliness. I believe God wants us to feel connected to the spirit of God that dwells within all of us. Which means as people of faith we have an incredible opportunity to be the church, each and every day of our lives. We are the church by seeing one another, claiming one another, and creating a culture of belonging for a world that is anemic for a sense of place and purpose. You have the ability to do that! It’s part of who you are!

    Let me say this, if you are reading this today and feel an overwhelming sense of loneliness, please know you have a faith community that cares for you. Please know you belong here, and if you want to talk do not hesitate to reach out to a friend in this community or to one of the pastors.

    I love we are a community that can find space to be vulnerable enough to do a series like this. I love the privilege you have afforded me to preach this series. Thank you. But, I’m not alone in sharing that privilege. 

    I’ve often wondered why Youth Sunday was a stand alone day. Why have we not turned to our young people during high holy seasons or turned to them in the midst of a sermon series? As we were developing this series, it struck me that our young people have much to teach us about the things we all carry.  

    I’m honored that that this week they will lead us in worship, as we dive into the issue of relationships. I look forward to being led in faith by their prophetic and caring voices.  

    We are just reaching the halfway point in this series, and if you have a friend or family member you think would benefit from the series, please invite them!  

    Thank you again for the great privilege to be your pastor.


    With great hope,

    Matthew

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