By Pastor Stacey Littlefield
In our conversations with people at ECC, we are keenly aware of a growing need for connection and community. We are also aware that we have to find a way to move forward with the mission of ECC, pandemic or not. The good news is: We have a plan. Beginning the week after Labor Day, we want to invite you to join us for a church-wide project that is both deeply connected to our ECC Touchstone of Welcome and very timely. Our nation is divided by so many things, as are our churches. And a lot of that has to do with how we treat our enemies.
The late philosopher and writer, Dallas Willard, once said that the litmus test for true Christian spiritual maturity is whether or not we are able to spontaneously love our enemies. I don’t know about you, but that one stopped me in my tracks.
This fall we will begin a churchwide project to teach us how to live as Jesus taught us—how to love our enemies. In addition to a 10-week sermon series on love of enemy, we will also read a book together. The book is Dan White, Jr.’s Love Over Fear: Facing Monsters, Befriending Enemies, and Healing Our Polarized World. It is a book for our time. You can find it at moodypublishers.com, amazon.com, or wherever you buy your books.
We know that in our nation and in our congregation, we are all over the map when it comes to how comfortable we feel meeting together or how much time we have to do so. For this reason, we have several levels of engagement available for you. For example, if the most you can do right now is what we do here on Sunday mornings, that’s fine. We will do everything we can to provide you with the resources you need to have the most fruitful experience possible. We want everyone to learn from this project in the way that is best for them. After that, there are options for community groups that will meet either in-person or on-line at a frequency that you decide. You can meet weekly, bi-weekly, or once a month.
Loving our enemies is hard. If it were easy, Jesus wouldn’t have needed to make it part of his greatest commandment. But there it is. And we need to grow in our ability to befriend our enemies and bring healing to our polarized world, so please prayerfully consider at what level you, your friends, or your small group can take part. Then, go to ecclife.net/LOF to explore the options and sign up for the option that best meets your needs. And then join me and others as we pray for God to do a powerful work in our lives, that we might become a community of people who truly know God, follow Jesus, and pursue God’s purposes in the world.