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It's a Great Day because God is in it!From the Superintendent ...
Michigan Nazarenes, beginning this month we are presenting a series of articles for the district website written by our ten Missional Area leaders. There will be a focus on reflections about the church. I know you will find these articles helpful and challenging as we do our best to be the church across the Michigan District. As you may recall, following the district assembly we divided the district into five Missional Areas, each with an Undershepherd and Missional Coordinator. They are the key leadership team for your area. This month’s article was written by Rev. Jim Spohn, Undershepherd for the 19 congregations in the Southwest Missional Area.
As I have been preparing for the Lenten season and Holy Week, my eyes have fallen on scripture that surrounds the beautiful work of Christ on the cross of Calvary. It is here that Jesus has again reminded me why we as a Michigan District exist.
Through various generations we have heard words that describe religion something an individual does on their own… in their solitariness. This description gives us warm fuzzy feelings when we contemplate the quiet times of walking on a beach at sunset or sipping a cup of coffee while we watch the sunrise. These moments enjoyed with just the presence of Jesus can be truly wonderful. Solitary times bring refreshing.
However, one of Jesus’ statements on the cross reminds us that Christ’s mission is accomplished in the social, not the solitary. It reminds us that His holiness is made perfect in us as it flows out of our relationship with Him. It reminds us that as long as individuals exist for only themselves, there will be social discontent and broken lives that are neglected.
26 So when Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing there, he said to his mother, “Woman, look, here is your son!” 27 He then said to his disciple, “Look, here is your mother!” From that very time the disciple took her into his own home. (John 19:26-27, NET Bible)
On the cross, Jesus not only entrusts his earthly mother to a dear friend, but establishes the physical representation of what Kingdom relationships look like here on earth. Jesus said ‘woman’ rather than ‘Mother’, so that she would not be seen in future generations as just His mother, but as a grieving woman in need. Likewise, Jesus said ‘son’ rather than ‘John’, so that he would not be seen in the future generations as just the disciple whom Jesus loved, but as any son of God called to minister to his fellow man.
Even as Jesus hung suffering, he was teaching that to follow Him and to love Him meant more than what we do in our solitariness. What we do in our relationship with Him and with other brothers and sisters prove to the world that this religion is not one centered on self, either of an individual or of a class or even a single congregation. It is the cooperative work that combines compassion, gifts, obedience, and love which Christ defined as ‘His Body, His Bride, His Church.’ About one and a half years earlier, Jesus shared words that would prophesy this day at Calvary and would forever describe His Church.
33 He answered them and said, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” 34 And looking at those who were sitting around him in a circle, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 For whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.” (Mark 3:33-34, NET Bible)
The Michigan District is committed to setting aside individuality and to empowering His Church, in its fullness, to live in unity that reflects that of family—the Family of God. This mission has already been set in motion because with Jesus as our Savior, we are all brothers, sisters, mothers, and fathers who need one another.
Rev. Jim Spohn
SW Missional Area
Yours and His,
Dr. John Seaman
MICHIGAN DISTRICT CHURCH OF THE NAZARENE
Kings Pointe Business Park
15180 S. Wright Road
Grand Ledge, MI 48837
"The Michigan District exists to assist and encourage our local churches in their mission of making Christ-like disciples."
Luke 2:34 (NIV)
Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: "This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against,
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