Last week I was on a treadmill at the gym, listening to a podcast about how pastors are struggling with discouragement while flipping around news stations on the television screen that portrayed one depressing story after another. When I got home I turned on the news and as the weatherman was going through his routine forecast he put up a live picture of the sunrise and stopped in mid-sentence and said something to the effect of: look at how beautiful that is! It was a reminder that in the midst of the mundane and profane moments of life, we need sacred moments that remind us of the existence of the good, true, and beautiful.
Jesus’ first sermon proclaimed freedom from oppression (Luke 4:18-19) and invited those to follow him into this sacred life (John 10:10). As I mentioned in yesterday’s sermon (listen here), the freedom secured through Jesus’ death is precious (objectively secured through divine blood) and precarious (subjectively lost through human idolatry). As we reflect on the freedom celebrated today (Juneteenth) and in two weeks on July 4th (Independence Day), let us heed Paul’s warning to stand firm in the ultimate freedom secured for us through Christ and, like sunrises, be signposts of God’s goodness, truth and beauty to one another and our neighbors.
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.Galatians 5:1
Volunteer for our Vacation Bible School
We are excited to offer Vacation Bible School in person again and we need your help. Happening from July 11 to 15, our children will learn about God and his love for them through skits, Bible lessons, music, games and crafts. We need volunteers to help make every aspect of this “Monumental” week happen, so please sign up. If you can’t serve during the week, you can help us set up on the Sunday before.
- APEST Spiritual Gifts Seminar, June 28: APEST is a spiritual gift framework from Ephesians 4. Paul says Jesus has given apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds, and teachers—hence the acronym APEST. After registering, you’ll be given instructions on how to take the brief online assessment.
- Join the Gospel & Race Cohort, registration ends June 30: The Gospel & Race Cohort is an intentionally multiracial and multicultural community of 8-12 people that explores issues of culture and race through a biblical and gospel lens. Our time together will be a journey of learning more about ourselves, growing personally and spiritually, building cross-cultural community and friendships, expanding the way we see and move through the world, and becoming better equipped to work for gospel reconciliation and justice.
- Volunteer for Tuesday in The Park, going until Aug 30: Young Life is hosting gatherings for youth from across Manhattan all summer long in Central Park! We need volunteers each week to support our staff and leaders. TiTP will kick off next Tuesday, June 14 and run through August 30. Time will be 6-8pm again this year, with volunteers arriving at 5:30pm. We will be at the same location as well–Great Lawn Basketball courts in the middle of the park, just south of the 86th St. transverse.
- Summer volunteers needed: Will you be in NYC this summer? Whether you’re here on a summer internship or have been wanting to see what volunteering might look like, help our vacationing volunteers by joining a team, once a month, meet great people and help to serve your neighbors!
- Join Young Life’s virtual interest night: Get to know Young Life’s powerful mission to serve youth in our city! Attend a virtual event to understand the why, what, when, and how of Young Life, and the ways you can get involved in volunteering in the Bronx & Manhattan.
- Provide care to isolated families this summer: Safe Families for Children recently won a $20K Community Investment Award at HFNY Pitch Night! This event invited three HFNY affiliate partners to share plans for broadening programs that support their communities. Safe Families will be using the funding toward expanding a program that connects isolated parents. This summer, find ways to connect with Safe Families to support their work!