The following is a newsletter article written by Courtney Krueger in the summer of 2014
Cherished and Appreciated
Jesus promises us, “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30) There are many things which can make us weary and cause us to feel as if we are carrying heavy burden including grief, health concerns, relationship difficulties, financial problems, or an uncertain future. In my experience, the peace that calling out to Jesus can bring is beyond description. Jesus assures me that everything will be all right even when I am in the midst of everything not being all right.
One of the places where everything does not feel all right to me is the sense of divisiveness and hostility present in our political and theological world today. Washington is hopelessly gridlocked with both parties more concerned with vilifying the other party than with working together for the common good. This divisiveness happens within Christian denominations and between Christian denominations.
I am convinced that THE church (not to mention OUR church) must always be a people who value one another in spite of and even especially because we have different ideas, opinions, philosophies, and even theologies. When Paul writes that we are one in Christ: male and female, slave and free, Jew and Greek (Galatians 3:28) he is crossing nearly every divisive barrier that his culture and even the early church set between people.
In my July 20 sermon, I quoted David Gladson, our Deacon vice chair who said, FBCP is called to be a place where liberals and conservatives learn how to live together and how to cherish and appreciate the other. That is our purpose, our calling, our vision. We are the place where folks who are tired of the fighting can come and learn how to live together. You can put any two other modifiers in the place of liberals and conservatives in that quote and it still holds. If we have taken the yoke of Jesus upon us, any differences we may have become unifying strengths rather than divisive weaknesses. I love that David didn’t say that we would learn to tolerate one another, but we would cherish and appreciate one another. No one enjoys merely being tolerated. We want and need to be cherished and appreciated.
I think the world is tired of divisiveness and weary of party politics. I think the world needs a Savior who can offer peace and rest in the midst of all of the division and turmoil. I think the world is desperate for a place where people who are tired of the fighting can come and learn how to cherish and appreciate one another under the Lordship of that Savior. My experience is that First Baptist Church is and can be one of those places. And THAT gives me a sense of peace that is beyond description!
First Baptist Church of Pendleton 351 South Broad Street, Pendleton, SC 29670
PO Box 187, Pendleton, SC 29670-0187 (mailing address)