I can remember being a four year old child and running through the halls and pews of Maplewood United Methodist Church. I had older siblings and my parents were heavily involved in the youth ministry at the time. I can still remember the smell of the cookies and punch that we had every Sunday morning for Sunday School. Long before the pews were padded, I can remember playing with my Hot Wheels cars on the wooden pews during the service.
Most of all I remember feeling at home. We were in a place that was safe. We were in a place where everyone was accepted. We were in a place where we cared about each other and our little community of Maplewood. We lived on Clay Street in a modest home that is no longer there. We were able to ride our bikes up and down the street and even go over to the post office to get a pop from the machine.
More than ever, I feel that Maplewood is need of being community again. We still know each other, but we don’t see each other on Sunday mornings at church. Society has a way of changing the rules and putting us in places that don’t look like they used to. That is okay, but how do we (the church) need to change with it?
Maybe we should be a little less about judgement and a little more about acceptance. Remember where you were when God accepted you? Everyone is on their own spiritual journey. No one is in the same place as the other, and that is okay. We all have turmoil and struggle in our past and present, and our sins just look different than each other. One thing is certain, God is still God, His love still knows no bounds.
I would like to encourage you to engage in your walk with God. Whether it is getting back to where you once were, starting from the place you are in, or refreshing and improving the relationship with God you have, we all need more of Him. Don’t worry about what you think it is supposed to look like. Take steps, and let God move you through where He wants you to be.
My prayer for Maplewood United Methodist Church is that we are building upon centuries of church history and that we are reflecting the love of God found in Jesus Christ.
I pray that you will join us in that journey. The family of faith is a place where we can share in each other’s burdens and bear those pains with each other. Would you join us?