Blessing the Earth

How are you blessing the earth?
In worship this summer we have been reading the beginning of our story in Genesis. The covenant that God made with God’s people, beginning with Abraham and Sarah, is that because the Lord God blesses us we will be a blessing; all the families of the earth will be blessed by God’s people (Genesis 12:1-3). Through Jesus we have been grafted on to this story. This is our story. So we also are meant to be a blessing to all the people of the earth.
That’s why in the United Methodist Church, our mission is to make disciples of Jesus Christ who transform the world. We are to help care for and renew everything and everyone that God created.
John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement, understood God’s grace as power — the power to live a transformed life, the power to transform the world. He never doubted that we are saved only by God’s grace through faith. But Wesley believed God calls us to participate, to be fruitful. That is, God saves us by grace so we can do something, so we can work for God’s will in the world. That’s why one of Wesley’s rules for living is to do all the good you can. “Whoever does good is from God” (3 John 11b).
God blessed Abraham and Sarah so they and their family would bless all the earth. Now that’s us; we’re that family. We are the people meant to bless the rest of the world, the people showing the world what it means to be the world that God intended in Creation.
How do we do that? How do we bless the families of the earth? How do we show the world what it means to be the world God intended in Creation? How do we transform the world? How do we make life good and beautiful where we live? Following Jesus means doing something, engaging in doing good.
That’s why we seek to live out our name. “Salem” comes from the Hebrew word, shalom, meaning God’s peace. Much more than the absence of conflict, God’s peace is wholeness, completeness, health, well-being, joy, beauty, love, friendship, justice, and salvation. Living out our name, Salem, in our own lives and in the world around us is one way to be a blessing to the earth.
Of course there are thousands of ways we can do this, both individually and together as Salem. So many opportunities already exist: participating in Salem’s mission focus each month (school kits, blankets, blessing bags for shelters); serving with the Salem Servants at Green Square Meals the first Thursday of each month; serving with Matthew 25; giving new children’s books and/or volunteering to read with a student at one of our elementary schools; helping send educational materials to Sierra Leone with Books without Borders; getting involved with Justice for Our Neighbors; or making or buying hats, scarves, and mittens for children in area schools. These are just a few examples.
The Mission Team is organizing a mission fair this Sunday, August 27, during fellowship time (10-11 AM). We’re making it easy for you to get involved. How do you or how will you respond to God’s call to bless the earth? What existing ministry might you participate in or what new ministry might you start?
Thank you to all of you who are already blessing the earth. Thank you for what you’re doing!

If you aren’t sure whether you’re blessing the earth somehow, or if you know God keeps poking you about this, take the next step. Get involved with a ministry that blesses, that does good. Even the little thing you do, joined with the little things we all do, makes a difference, transforming the world, blessing the earth. God saves you by grace so you can do something.

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