As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth; and he said to him, “Follow me.” – Matthew 9:9

What a grand day it was last Sunday, as we celebrated the 10+ years of Pastor Paul’s ministry at Bethany.  We sent Pastor Paul out with a warm hug of words, gifts, and love as we shared what he has meant to us.  I could not have been prouder of how perfect the day was.  So many hands helped to contribute to making the day special and I am grateful for how our community came together.  We had many wonderful moments as we shared laughter and tears.  As noted in the speeches on Sunday, Pastor Paul led this congregation through faith, love, and compassion for all that he met along the way.  He has taken his call to follow Jesus seriously and that was reflected in how he touched the lives of this community.  Now Jesus has called Pastor Paul to follow him to a new place, and out of honor of how Pastor Paul modeled his faith and ministry to us we carry a piece of his joy and love for people as we too are called to follow Jesus in this community. 

Jesus calls Matthew to follow him and eats a meal with Matthew, the tax collectors, the sinners, and the disciples.  Then Jesus goes out and meets and connects with people along the way.  This is a reflection of our ministry together. Sometimes we are called to go out to people, other times we listen for what’s needed, and respond to the people around us.  In this week’s Gospel reading, Jesus stops and listens to those in need, pausing to bring the power of God’s love to the people he meets along the way.  May we do the same. 

We are focusing as a congregation and community to spread God’s love through connecting and caring for each other and our community through service opportunities.  This Sunday we are having our first Care and Connect Service Day and I hope you can participate.  We'll come together for worship at 9:00am and then be sent out to serve.  To sign up, you can click here.

Jesus calls us to follow him, so let’s do it together, Bethany!  Amen.