Greetings in the name of risen Christ! My name is Jad Taylor and I am the new(ish!) pastor at Beulah UMC. If we haven’t had a chance to meet yet, I hope we will soon. My wife Erin and I have been thrilled by the warm welcome by so many in our wonderful church family.
Family. That’s a good word to describe Beulah UMC, isn’t it? In my first conversations with folks at Beulah, the one image that kept coming up over and over was family. People described how the church family at Beulah supported them through their hardest times, celebrated with them during their most joyous moments, and walked alongside them during all life’s in betweens.
We spent our first Sunday together exploring Psalm 145 and the theme “We Are Family.” We focused on how we are all part of God’s family. We considered the different types of families in our lives, some biological and some that run as deep as blood. We celebrated how our families teach us about God’s all-encompassing love, gracious hospitality, and mighty deeds. I shared how my immediate family raised me so that I have never questioned God’s love for me. And how my in-laws, who welcomed me into their home for four months during the pandemic, taught me how God continually invites everyone into God’s family. What sorts of families do you have in your life? What are they teaching you about God these days?
The beauty of the church family at Beulah is that we don’t just teach these truths about God, we live them out! We stand with a great cloud of witnesses at Beulah who have been co-laborers with God for well over 100 years. Generation upon generation have found a home at Beulah because of the love they’ve felt. The greater community relies upon Beulah as we offer space for vital gatherings and support for those in need.
Just like any family, our church family at Beulah is not perfect. If anyone claimed we were, I’d be concerned! We’d have no more work to do as a family and what fun would that be? We realize that there are those who have been hurt and who are hurting in our family and in our community. We realize that “We Are Family” is both a declaration of who we are and an aspiration of who we will become.
As proclaimed in the psalm, God is “abounding in steadfast love” and “upholds all who are falling, and raises up all who are bowed down.” These are great guiding words for us as a family. As we experience frustration, isolation, and fear during this pandemic, we could all use God’s steadfast love, which casts out fear. As millions question whether they’ll be able to feed their families, put a roof over their heads, and stay healthy, we yearn for God to uphold us. So let us proclaim with boldness that we serve a God who cares deeply about all of creation. Even more, let us continue to live in such a way that all who are hurting will know of God’s goodness. I can’t imagine a better family, can you?