We are approaching Easter, a time when faith communities and families gather to celebrate the joy that we have in the saving grace and resurrection of Jesus. We are also distinctly aware of new life with the signs of spring surrounding us in God’s good creation.
I love this text from the book of Job. In chapter 14, verses 7-9, it says, “ There is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again…and though its root grows old in the earth, and its stump dies in the ground, yet at the scent of water it will bud and put forth branches like a young plant.” There are those who would say that our experiment of covenantal structures and diverse belief is passe and obsolete, but I respectfully beg to differ. The text of Job proclaims that at the very SCENT of water, new life and new growth is possible! Your faith, indeed you, are that scent of water, standing and persevering wherever you are, still trusting and believing in the gospel of Jesus Christ, and in the power of that gospel to transform lives.
I have seen grass roots efforts to speak up with the poor just as Jesus did. I have seen faith communities reach out with kindness to those on the margins, just as Jesus commanded in Matthew 25. Our work together through regional and general ministries touches people all across the U.S., Canada and, indeed, the globe with the message of hope that is ours in Christ Jesus.
I want you to know that I have confidence in you, Disciples of Christ! More importantly, I have confidence in God, who has begun this work in and among us, and who will complete it! I have seen the passion with which you serve your communities. God is not finished with us. As long as we abide in God, persisting in sharing the love God shows us through Christ Jesus, we can live; we can thrive.
We have another opportunity to gather as a faith community in Des Moines this summer. There we can see and demonstrate how the unity of our whole church matters. The rich diversity of our church means that while we are united in love, we are not uniform in how we live out our call. Whether you are able to attend or not, I invite you to spend some time in the Word with the Bible studies available from the General Assembly website (https://disciples.org/ga). “Abide in me,” Jesus says, and you will bring forth good fruit.
You are a Church – a movement – whose time has come, Disciples. You can show this fragmented world what it is like to live together, united in our love for Jesus. We can show the world that when we walk together, even when we disagree, we make the most powerful witness to the love of Christ for us all.
With joy and love –
Teresa “Terri” Hord Owens
General Minister and President