The Oasis - November 6, 2019

Author: Rev. Estelle Margarones
November 06, 2019

Matthew 19:26
With God, all things are possible!

Dear friends,

The Bible tells us that with God, all things are possible, but it doesn't say that all things will be easy. The Bible doesn't tell us that that we will never experience tumultuous times, but it does say that God will always be with us.

Isaiah 41:10-13 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.  11 All who rage against you will surely be ashamed and disgraced; those who oppose you will be as nothing and perish. 12 Though you search for your enemies, you will not find them. Those who wage war against you will be as nothing at all. 13 For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.

Praise God, Article 7 passed with a margin of several hundred votes! For the last several months, I have been proud to witness the thoughtful and prayerful way you approached the issue of land ownership of our First Parish campus, First Parish cemetery, and other important parcels of land in York Village. I have the utmost respect for the way you engaged in meetings from long range planning to Council to informational sessions to cozy chats with neighbors in your own backyards and living rooms.
Our process was clean, above-board, and respectful. First Parish took the high road throughout, always focused on coming from a faithful and loving place.  I praise God that through this months-long (and at times rather challenging) public debate, you have truly shown yourselves to be Christians.

Phil 1:27-28 Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit,[a] striving together as one for the faith of the gospel 28 without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you...

Several years ago, I was part of a grant-writing team. We had a very specific goal in mind, but learned that the grantors were less interested in the outcome than they were in the process.  It's been a joy to observe the process with which you engaged the land agreement. It's been a pleasure to see just how very much you care about this church. I watched as each person did what they could do, whether it was to write a letter, call a friend, do some research, speak in public, place a yard sign, or stand and wave in the rain. This has all been part of the process...and one that continues.
James 1:12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

(What? There's more?)

First, it's important to realize that though Article 7 passed, and nothing changes for us as far as worship or day to day operations, what will change is that we will make a concerted effort to heal divisions and continue to introduce and reintroduce the church to our community.
Colossians 1:11-13 May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. 13 He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son.

I look forward to seeing you in church on Sunday when we’ll be talking about the fact that we are stronger together!

Rev. Estelle

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