A Living Part of Something Bigger Than Us
by REV. JEFF WILLIAMS
Courtland-Oakfield United Methodist Church
“Present yourselves as building stones for the construction of a sanctuary vibrant with life,” 1 Peter 2:5a; The Message.
The Grundtvig National Church in Denmark was started in 1921 and completed in 1941 by seven handpicked masons. The masons, in turn, rejected all bricks that were not perfect. There is an entire community surrounding the church built from the bricks, which the masons rejected (Henry N. Huxhold, Access to High Hope).
While we can appreciate the value of using quality materials for our physical structures, I am more interested in the people living around the church because I believe that we are their neighbors; people whose lives are built with broken spirits, ideas that don’t fit or beliefs that are judged unacceptable. Thankfully, the good news is that in such a life we can get acquainted with and be welcomed by another neighbor, Jesus Christ, who the writer of 1 Peter describes, using Psalm 118:22-23, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This is the LORD’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.”
I am leaving White Pines and Courtland-Oakfield United Methodist churches to begin serving at Hartford United Methodist Church on July 1. Our life here since 2002 has been full, challenging, blessed, burdened and beautiful. We have built up and worn down each other on the journey. The energy and potential of White Pines partnering with the Wolverine World Wide Family YMCA is exhilarating, and the country, traditional Courtland-Oakfield faith family truly offers “hope on the hill” along Myers Lake Avenue.
The heart of faith is accepting God’s grace and love with a willingness to be built in to something bigger than us, a sanctuary vibrant with life. Building and restoring churches and communities calls for great investment, commitment and resources. Thankfully God has already provided a sure foundation for us in Jesus Christ, “a cornerstone chosen and precious; and whoever believes in Him will not be put to shame,” 1 Peter 2:6. God bless you, and may you find joy in giving yourself to a purpose that inspires and outlives you.