A Testimony of the Unknown: The Future Faith for Me

EDIT: I asked my pastor yesterday, and realized all beliefs are welcome, including Arminian. I even asked my pastor if she was Calvinist, and she said no!! She said she follows mostly Wesleyan beliefs, and that she takes comfort from each church in Christianity – United Methodist, Presbyterian, all. I misunderstood everything for York FCC! As always, I am always learning. I took out the wrong parts about my church in this essay.

Hi everyone,
I just wanted to share a small testimony of my future in faith:

While I don’t know what the future holds, I know Christ holds me in his arms.

Just this past year, I’ve moved away from works and grace theology (Catholicism-like theology) to just being saved by grace. I’ve also moved from my sacred Unitarian faith, which made me feel alienated from all other Christians, to the Trinitarian faith. There are still some days that I struggle with the Trinity, I just know that I have to press on and continue to believe. I can do this.

Now, what does the future hold? While I am and always be Arminian in faith, I’ve been looking at Calvinism. I’m still hung up on certain things, such as God ordaining the Holocaust and pain and death. I mean, even Jesus cried at Lazarus’ funeral. Although, a Calvinist could argue that Lazarus died to give God the glory (by resurrecting him). So, I’m not sure. I just don’t see anything glorious about the Holocaust happening, and the rape and murder of women of genocide in Africa. People are endowed with freedom of will, and there are times when we really screw up and abuse our free will.

I’m kind of looking for a happy medium, where God ordains all things, but also allows for freedom of will and apostasy. I know, multiple times, the Old Testament tells us of a God that ordains both good and punishment, but I know from my OT classes that that was the Jewish people’s way of understanding their situations and pains. Unlike what literal biblical studies tells us, the Bible wasn’t written by 40 men, but hundreds of authors who struggled with the terrible things that happened to them. I bet most of the Bible was written in hindsight, not by current events.

Alleluia and Amen.

Love, Leigh Todd

God Has a Habit of Calling the Unlikeliest People

Dear future congregation,

While I haven’t met you yet, and I imagine we don’t share the same beliefs, I just want to say that I am excited to serve you in the future.

With today being the fifth Sunday of Epiphany, we are covering four scriptures: 

  • Isaiah 6:1-8, (9-13)
  • Psalm 138
  • 1 Corinthians 15:1-11
  • Luke 5:1-11

In Isaiah 6, we meet Isaiah being caught up in a vision.  He fears greatly, because he has seen the Lord with “unclean lips.”  By this, he means he is a sinner.  

In Luke 5, Simon declares “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” when Jesus causes a miracle to happen at the Sea of Galilee, with loads of fishes.

In 1 Cor. 15, Paul considers himself the least of all apostles, because had had persecuted the early church of God.  He considered himself too sinful to lead Christ’s people.

Do you see a connection?  Do you see a connection within this church, within yourselves?  Have you ever considered yourself “too sinful” to be called by God?

I know I have.  Before I discovered grace, I thought I was too sinful to be a Christian.  Surely, I failed God everyday.  Every day I forsake salvation by my sins.  Everyday I committed myself to Hell.

Truth be told, folks, we’re saved by grace.

Nothing in highest heaven, lowest hell, widest earth, and deepest space can separate us from God’s love.  When we entered those waters of baptism and were immersed in Christ’s love, we were saved.  Past, present, future sins forgiven – not because we were righteous, but because Christ died for us on that cross.  As we look forward to the season of Lent and Easter, let us meditate on our forgiveness and bask in the glory of the resurrected Lord.

But let us not stay in this meditation.  Let us go forth, as Jesus called Peter, “to become fishers of people.”  Let us carry this meditation in our hearts as we reach the world out in love, peace, and liberation as we preach the gospel.  But what does this preaching look like?  How is it done?

In Psalm 138, God is considered majestic, holy, exalted.  But he considered the lowly, those in the midst of trouble, those troubled with foes.  The Bible is clear: Although we are citizens of Heaven, we should make a home with the lowliest because they first will be last, and the last will be first.  

Preaching looks like reaching out to the old lady who is lonely, and wants company as she watches the news.  Preaching and spreading the Gospel looks like helping homeless vets, drug addicts, children, women, literally everyone.  It means giving away perishables.  LORD, you know what I’m talking about!  It’s the same thing I will preach every day, and I never tire of preaching this: The Leader is the Servant.  The Least is the Greatest.  The Weak are God’s People.  Those struggling with rent or the electricity bill are God’s angels.  

When we become children of God, we become servants of Christ.  We are not raised on a pedestal, but lowered on a humble chair as we serve our Master.  As we serve His People.  If you think you’re something special when you become a Christian – think again.

As we look forward to celebrating Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, let us remember who he reached out to during his ministry.  The poor, the disabled, the sinners.  He even said that he did not come to call the righteous, but the sinners unto repentance and healing.  He came to reach out to heal, to help, to humbly raise the lowliest to the greatest heights. 

I hope you do the same.  

God has a habit of calling the unlikeliest people – sinners saved by grace. “I am what I am” and grace is grace. Now let us carry that love God gave us at baptism and give it to the world.

Alleluia and Amen.