On December 14, 1996, a 763-foot grain freighter crashed into a Mississippi riverside shopping mall at New Orleans, and 116 people were injured. The crash destroyed a major part of the wharf, where 200 shops and restaurants were located. The ship lost control in a place on the river that is considered to be the most dangerous stretch to navigate. After a year’s investigation, the Coast Guard reported that the ship lost control because the engine had shut down. The engine shut down because of low oil pressure, caused by a clogged oil filter. The filter was clogged because the crew had not maintained the engine properly. This was a consistent problem with this ship’s owner and crew, who failed to test equipment and repair long-standing engine problems. “Sudden” disasters often have a very long history.
The Apostle Paul wrote, “Don’t be misled. Remember that you can’t ignore God and get away with it. You will always reap what you sow! Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful desires will harvest the consequences of decay and death. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit.” (Galatians 6:7-8, NLT).
The New Year is a good time to check our spiritual “engines” and make necessary changes or repairs. Christianity goes beyond attending church and participating in an occasional special study. It is not an accumulation of completed events. It is a way of life to be lived out each and every day, in order for us to keep our relationship with God and each other in good running order. When we consistently fail to put into practice that which we claim to believe, we are flirting with a future disaster. There will be injuries beyond our own ship. And we will be held accountable!
We will begin the new year in worship with John Wesley’s covenant service, where we will be given an opportunity to renew our promises to God and celebrate the Lord’s Supper. Pastor Nikki will lead us in a two-part series that starts with our invitation to the Lord’s Table, and then sends us out into the world to serve and invite others. In late January and through February, we will be taking a look at what it means to live as a Christian steward. It goes beyond financial campaigns and recycling programs; Christian stewardship points to the heart of our relationship with God. Also in February, our youth will be leading worship, and we will celebrate a special United Methodist Women Sunday. You won’t want to miss worship!
How’s your engine running these days? Join us in worship as a beginning place to “tune up” your spiritual engine!
Yours for the Journey,