Dear Church Family and Community,
In the Brethren in Christ Church, we have identified ten Core Values that are rooted in our doctrine and tradition. These core values help to express our family within the larger worldwide and historic Body of Christ. Our Core Values are altogether distinctive. They call us into action. They make us who we are in Christ, and they remind us of who God has called us to be.
Our Core Values may be found individually scattered in many other families and traditions of our faith. However, our grouping and focus of these values, makes us unique. One value that drew me to the Brethren in Christ Church is our value of pursuing peace – we value all human life and promote forgiveness, understanding, reconciliation, and non-violent resolution of conflict.
Our high call to valuing all human life leads to our love for mothers and the children they carry, for babies and the women and men they grow into, and it compels us to love one another as our God loves each person – a love that chooses the best for the other. Our value of all human life calls us to reject war but to love soldiers and their families. It callsus to hate crime but to love people because everyone is redeemable. It calls us to not just open doors but open hearts to people God so loved.
We value all human life because we serve a God who chooses life over death. We value all human life because God gifts us life and calls and expects us to bring that light and life into our world. Our value of all human life puts us at odds with political parties, and maybe even with people we love and care about. However, valuing all human life is our call, witness, and work. It pleases our God and it blesses our world.
Trust and Obey has been what God has asked His people to do from the beginning. The message to Eve and Adam and Abraham and Sarah,who we have studied in recent weeks, can be summarized with trust and obey. So, it makes sense that now as we get to Isaac and Rebekah, God’s message to His people continues to be trust and obey. I love that in starting with our introduction to Rebekah, Abraham and Sarah, Isaac, Bethuel and Milkah, Laban, and, yes, even Rebekah herself, are tasked with trust and obey.
Our call to valuing all human life is why I am so excited to tell the story of Shiphrah and Puah this week as we continue our Faith Builders: Lessons from Early Women of Faith series. These two amazing women are spiritual mothers in the faith because of their love of God and value of human life. In a time of great oppression of their people, living under the unjust and cruel law of their land, and seemingly without power, they chose life over death, and their call, witness, and work must inspire us to do the same.
Last week in our Faith Builders: Lessons from Early Women of Faith series, we revisited Rebekah. God chose her because of her deep commitment to Him, to serving others well, and to her family. God chose her because of her high character, which helped her to look and love like our God, whom she served. God knew her heart, and it pleased God that Rebekah trusted Him, believed in his promise, and never went blind to His will. Rebekah reminds us that we must actively trust and obey God wholeheartedly, always know we are loved and chosen by God, commit to God and doing His will, make a daily choice to follow God, and to live and love by looking like the God who we all serve. If you missed hearing this message, please be sure to check it out here on our website, or through our sermon podcast on Soundcloud, Google Play, iTunes, or Stitcher.
This week, in preparation for our journey with Shiphrah and Puah, please take time to read and pray through Exodus 1. As you read, ask yourself, where do you see oppression in your world today? How is God calling you to choose life? What is your witness and testimony to the world around you about value of all human life? Shiphrah and Puah’s love of God and deep commitment to God saved lives. Where is God calling you to do the same?
As always, thank you all for reading. I hope and pray this finds you doing well.
May the Lord continue to bless and keep you all!
Love in Christ,
Pastor Hank (Exodus 1:17)
P: (717) 561-2170, ext. 104