Thank you for your warm welcome as I join you at Church of the Redeemer UMC. We are now entering an exciting time of grace and forgiveness as we do ministry together.
Nearly 10 years ago, I took on an 18 month project in Iceland related to youth ministry. At the time my family lived in Chapel Hill, NC, so I commuted to Reykjavik, stayed 4-5 weeks in Iceland at a time and then 1-2 weeks in North Carolina.
The project was to re-create and re-think youth ministry in a broad sense. I had great co-workers, a Lutheran Campus Minister, a Social Worker, a Special Ed teacher, and a camp ministry specialist with over 40 years of experience. As I introduced myself at our first meeting, I told them my role was to be a mistake specialist, my goal was to make at least 100 different mistakes the first year and learn from them.
Mistakes happen when we stretch outside our comfort zone. When we try something that doesn‘t go according to our plans. It might be an idea for Worship that looks awesome on my computer screen, but falls flat on a Sunday morning. It might be the great idea of referring to Loki Laufeyjarson in preaching, forgetting that few of you are probably familiar with Norse Mythology, and even fewer are familiar with Norse naming traditions.
There are two things that are crucial when we embrace the notion of 100 different mistakes a year. First our own willingness to learn from mistakes. Secondly and equally important, a lot of grace and forgiveness from those we serve and work with, our ministry partners.
As I am only part-time at COR, I might not get to 100 mistakes the first year (but probably), but if we like to grow and prosper, we must be allowed to make mistakes. We need to be allowed and ready to fall as we learn to walk, and be willing to stand up and try again.
So, with my first email to you, I ask for a lot of grace and forgiveness, not only for me, but for all of us, as we journey together, attempting to reflect glimpses of God’s kindom into the lives of those we meet.
I ask for grace and forgiveness, as we make mistakes on the way, learning and lamenting and laughing together.
Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Colossians 3:13-15
P.s. The texts for Sunday worship on July 11, are from Psalm 85:8-13 and Mark 6:14-29.