Sunday, September 27
The Lord’s Day
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Global Week of Action against Gun Violence / Season of Peace
Minute for Mission: Evangelism Sunday
One of the things I enjoy about my hobby of collecting books is all of the interesting people that I meet. I met Peter, a book dealer, a couple years ago and we became quick friends. Eventually he asked what I did, and I told him I worked for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and was a local church pastor before moving to Louisville. I immediately sensed a bit of discomfort and felt the walls begin to go up in our interactions.
After several months, he shared that he had grown up Presbyterian but had a falling out with the church in the late 1960s over a number of issues and experiences. He had since became cynical about the church, Christianity and Christians, and organized religion in general. I listened and even agreed with some of his observations and continued to build an authentic friendship with Peter. In many conversations I shared about how I had come to faith in college and about the God I had come to know since. I also shared how followers of Jesus and churches are trying to live out what being a disciple of Jesus means in their lives. Those conversations broke down some of the perceptions and hurt that had built up in him for decades. We continued just sharing life and enjoying each other’s friendship and love of books. I also constantly prayed for Peter, that he would once again know God’s love for him.
Just recently Peter asked if I still preached. I told him I did occasionally. He then said, “Well, the next time you preach in town, my wife and I would like to come and hear you.” Was I hearing this correctly? Peter had not stepped foot in church in nearly 45 years. I said, “I would love to have you come.”
I realized again that God had been at work in Peter for a long time and had never given up on him. James 5:19–20 says: “My dear friends, if you know people who have wandered off from God’s truth, don’t write them off. Go after them. Get them back and you will have rescued precious lives” (The Message).
On this Evangelism —Rev. David Loleng, associate for evangelism, Presbyterian Mission Agency
Let us pray
Gracious God, give us eyes to see others the way that you do. Prompt us to join with what you are doing in people’s lives and in our communities. Empower us, by your Holy Spirit, to share the good news of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Sunday Lectionary and Hymns
Esth. 7:1–6, 9–10; 9:20–22
“Lift Every Voice and Sing”
GTG 339, PH 563
“Our Help Is in the Name of God”
“Rejoice Ye Pure in Heart!”
GTG 804, HB 407, PH 145, 146
“Where Cross the Crowded
Ways of Life”
GTG 343, HB 507, PH 408