For the last ten weeks, the children and families of Derry have had the opportunity to open their Bibles together as a family and learn about the Fruit of the Spirit gifts that God gave to each of us. For many, we have heard of the Fruit of the Spirit but never had the chance to study and understand the incredible power of these gifts. This summer we have had all kinds of fun exploring and learning through movement, reflection, creation, eating, sharing and thinking.
At a time in our lives when so much feels out of our control and comfort zone, it has been a blessing to use this summer as a time to be reminded of the truly important things. I know for me it has allowed me to think about more than a just virus that has changed so much, distract my mind from worrying about all the things I cannot control right now, and has offered my family the chance to carve out time at home to gather and learn about the gifts that God gave to each of us.
This fall our learning opportunities will likely look quite different from our traditional classes we offer. Many programs will probably move to an online format, be shared through a study-at-home guide or become Zoom gatherings. While most of us do not prefer these learning and teaching styles, we know there are times where they will be needed to help us stay connected, continue our learning together and simply see the warm and comforting faces of our church friends, all while keeping one another safe.
Recently I was asked to offer the Conversation with Children to help the younger members of the church connect with our scripture reading. We had just heard in the Gospel of Luke 24:36-43 the story of Jesus returning to his disciples after the Resurrection. The disciples, who had locked themselves in a room in fear of their own lives, stood in complete shock and disbelief seeing Jesus standing in front of them. Jesus reassured them that it was him. He asked them to touch his hands, see his scars and then he joined them for a meal.
In my planning, the recipe for chocolate chip cookies rose to the top as my connection to this reading. How in the world can you connect a Resurrection story with a recipe for cookies? Simple. The disciples had many of the ingredients they needed to go out in the world and continue to live like Jesus and share the amazing news and stories of God and Jesus, but they needed one last “ingredient” to give them to undeniable courage to risk their own lives to share the amazing news of God’s miraculous ways.
When we think of our own lives, do you have all the ingredients you need to live a life with Jesus and God at the center? Have you studied the word, used all the stories to help guide your choices, and feel you have all the knowledge you need to live the life that God gave you? I am guessing none of us can say YES. We are all still learning, and that is how it should be. No matter what age we are, there are still stories from the Bible that we have yet to hear and let influence our lives. Those stories, the INGREDIENTS of life, are our recipe for the most amazing chocolate chips cookies ever! Sure, we can cheat ourselves, go to the store and buy a package of cookies, but I can assure you that those cookies will taste nowhere near as amazing as the ones we make from scratch… the ones we make with our hands with all the best ingredients (including Hersheys’ chocolate chips) and using a recipe that has been perfected by God.
So, as we move to the fall and find our lives going in a new direction with new work experiences and new school days, I challenge you to make time to keep finding the ingredients of a God- centered life by joining us for classes here at the church. I know there will be times when you just want to be left alone, you want a day off and free of online learning, and that is ok. Give yourself, your family, that day, but then rejoin us the following week. I can promise you that the church staff and leaders will be doing our best to create programming that will be engaging, informative and inspiring. You will enjoy seeing the faces of your church friends and letting them fill you with encouragement and promise that these crazy days won’t be here forever.
Please know that we are all here for YOU! Please reach out to say hello, stay in touch and let us know how we can be helpful to you and to your family.