Brandon Hudson, Pastor
During a sermon series earlier this summer, we explored the seven values distilled during our 2019 visioning process and what they meant to us as a church. The values we hold are as follows: being inviting, acceptance, authentic community, the affirmation of women in full ministry participation, the worth and gifts of children, an examined faith, and missional engagement. We ponder these values as we plan worship, approach spiritual formation, and seek out ways to engage in missions at home and in the larger world.
In 2019, when we underwent our visioning process, we chose to include the lyrics of the song we sing each anniversary Sunday, “To Be a People Who Love the Lord,” as a kind of preamble to the values that we had distilled. These lyrics, we concluded, were a good opening statement about the values and dreams that would follow. It was a statement that explained “why we are here” before we discussed what we valued and where that might lead us in the future. Sometimes, we simply refer to this song as “The Crosscreek Song.” It is a song that was commissioned and written for the church, a song that seeks to distill some of the important aspects of what it means to be a part of Crosscreek.
The lyrics of the song included in that visioning document reflect a beautiful image of what it means for us to worship and work together as Crosscreek:
To be a people who love the Lord their God with heart and soul and mind;
To be a people who follow His command to love as He has loved.
To be a people who know the Word of God and love to teach the truth;
To be a people who gather in His name, a fellowship of love.
To be a people in partnership with all who bear the name of Christ;
To be a people who gladly share their faith, a witness to the world.
Over the next several months, we will be exploring the seven values in a different way, through reflections in the newsletter from various members. As a means of introducing that series of reflections, I want to begin by exploring the “why we are here” and reflect on the way that “To Be a People” helps us understand our calling as a church.
In his book Ruthless Trust, Brennan Manning writes the following: “Our very existence is one of the never-to-be-repeated ways God has chosen to express himself in space and time. Because we are made in God’s image and likeness, you and I are yet another promise that He has made to the universe that He will continue to love it and care for it.”
I think that is such a beautiful truth. Your very existence, my very existence, every individual’s very existence, is a unique manifest of God’s self into the world in this particular place and time. It is a privilege to be alive. I also believe this is true for us as a congregation. Who we are called to be is a unique and beautiful manifestation of God’s work in this time and this place.
Your very existence, my very existence, every individual’s very existence, is a unique manifest of God’s self into the world in this particular place and time.
With that in mind, and with these lyrics in our hearts, what does that mean exactly?
I think it means that we are called to love God fiercely, with all of who we are. That fierceness and thoroughness is to be expressed in the way we treat one another and all of God’s children. When we are loving God fully, we are called to a sacrificial love for one another. Of course, to learn to love in that way, we must be not only well versed in God’s word and the Way of Jesus, but also remain in fellowship and community with one another, seeking to learn the ways of God in the midst of authentic community. When we do this, we will find ourselves connected to other followers of the Way of Jesus around the world and we will be compelled to invite others into the grace which we know.
All of this is why we are here.
As we enter into this months-long reflection on our values, I hope you will keep the words to this song in your heart. God has put us here in this time for a purpose, and by reflecting our reasoning for being here and the ways in which that reasoning plays out, may we all grow more intentional in helping Crosscreek become all we are called to be. We are a people who love God, one another, and the world. I look forward to exploring the particular ways our values inform these ideals with you in the coming months.