There are tons of sad stories online about inviting people to help celebrate a birthday and no one shows up. It is a social scene that causes anxiety – after all, no one wants to live in isolation from friends.
Some of the reactions are chastising to those that didn’t come. I don’t think a nice application of guilt will solve the friendship problem. Others seek to commiserate with an online community that will give sympathetic anecdotes of similar circumstance.
There are also usually helpful people that give out advice such as: if you are throwing a party, you should make sure you have some guarantees – people you are sure will show up – before you send out invitations. These should be contacted ahead of time. While this is sound advice, I’m not sure people who’ve felt abandoned by their friends are ready to hear it.
As we celebrate Pentecost this Sunday, it is the birth of the church. We remember that Pentecost was the beginning of the gift of the Holy Spirit among the faithful who heard the preaching of the good news of Jesus Christ. It was marked by the baptism of those who came to believe that day.
The church has gone through many changes since that time. Not all of them have been successful. I have tried various ministry ventures in my career and some of them have not survived. There are times we’ve prepared and hoped and prayed and found the turnout was not quite what we expected. While disappointing, this is not the end of the line. We continue to strive for a way of communicating the good news that will be effective for a new generation.
This particular year is the 50th anniversary of The United Methodist Church (when the Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church combined). Some would point to the overall numbers in the United States now in comparison to when it started and declare that this has not been the success for which we had hoped. I would say that we have done a good job of trying to adjust a very large organization of people to a new time. While the overall numbers may not be up, there are many fresh and faithful expressions throughout the denomination that are very effective in reaching new people. I believe First United Methodist Church of Edmond is one of them.
This Sunday, we will explore Ezekiel 37:1-14 which is the story of the dry bones that come to life. This is a reminder that the people of God have previously felt that their brightest times were behind them. God takes a longer view of working with us! I hope you’ll join us as we celebrate the birthday of the church this Sunday. And we would like to count on you being one of our guarantees!
Check out Sam’s Blog here: http://precedinggrace.blogspot.com.
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