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From the Pastor’s Desk:

How to Be a Community

On March 11th, Michelle and I went to the Cortland gym for the meeting about the Dual Immersion Program (where ½ the day is taught in English and the other ½ day is taught in Spanish) that the school board is investigating and thinking about utilizing Cortland Elementary to house this opportunity.  I wasn’t sure what would happen at the meeting because I know that people are not of one mind on this program and whether or not this is a good thing for Cortland Elementary.  Part of this uncertainty is because of knowing that there are a number of strong thoughts and opinions surrounding the issue.

As a pastor, I was pleased with how the meeting went—for the most part everyone was very respectful of the presenters and those with differing opinion from their own.  To me, this is how we are called to be a community.  Even amid disagreements, how can we find a way to be a community that is respectful to one another.

What I try to remember is that everyone (parents and also the school board) is thinking about the children as a whole and what may be best for them.  This is a struggle because different people may have different ideas about what is best as well as individual children may have different needs than others.

This respectfulness should also extend not just when we gather in large groups but also when we may gather in smaller groups or have conversations with school board members and school personnel.

This is true not just about this one issue the community is wrestling with right now, but also extends to all issues and disagreements with our community and our world.

In terms of what it means to be a community; I think about Paul’s letter to the Roman Church, particularly the 12th chapter.  In the book of Romans, Paul is articulating what it means be to justified by Jesus (helping people to understand the gospel message).  In the 12th chapter, Paul turns to what does the gospel message mean for daily life.  How does the message of salvation impact the way we live out our lives.  In the Bible that I use most, it has titles for the various sections of the text.  For Romans 12:9-21, it titles this section—‘Marks of the True Christian.’  Or in other words, what are the visible signs of someone seeking to follow Jesus.  

Listen to Paul’s words:  
‘Let love be genuine.’  
Love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor.’ 
‘extend hospitality to strangers’  
‘live in harmony with one another’  
‘do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

These are just some of the characteristics or marks that Paul lifts up as how as followers of Jesus we should live.  It seems to me that these are helpful words to keep in mind as we seek to be a community together especially during times of disagreement.

I pray that no matter what the outcome of this proposal maybe, that we would remember that we are a community together and should continue to support, respect and honor each other.  

Change is hard and most of us want decisions to be made that support our own thoughts and opinions.  What we can always control is how we respond and react.  Do we respond in ways that honor God and seek to live out the gospel even amid disagreements?