Grace and peace to you …
Jesus said: “My grace is sufficient for you …” Grace is God’s Original Love. The LOVE before all other love. The Love that exists for us … before us. Yes before we even exist, grace waits to welcome us. It is the canvas upon which all other love finds expression. God’s Original Love holds everything together – everything! Every aspect of life is infused by grace. Our lives originate by grace. They are sustained and supported by grace; educated and corrected by grace; inspired and challenged by grace; nurtured and nourished by grace; renewed and resurrected by grace. Grace is Life’s DNA.
We don’t always do life with this grace-full realisation and that is why the paradox of Paul regarding his strength in weakness is so true. We are strong in our weakness because it is in our weakness that we discover that grace is holding our life together and not any strength of our own. By all means let us pray for the “thorns in our flesh”/weaknesses to be removed, but until they are let us pray that they will gift us with the truth that Jesus’ grace is sufficient for us.
Or as Johann Christoph Arnold writes:
“The more confidence we have in our own strength and abilities, the less we are likely to have in Christ. Our human weakness is no hindrance to God. In fact, as long as we do not use it as an excuse for sin, it is good to be weak. But this acceptance of weakness is more than acknowledging our limitations. It means experiencing a power much greater than our own and surrendering to it. Eberhard Arnold, a founder of the Bruderhofs, said, “This is the root of grace: the dismantling of our power. Whenever even a little power rises up in us, the Spirit and the authority of God will retreat to the corresponding degree. …”
So regardless of how strong we are – we are weak. Not in an inferiority-complex-kind-of-way, but just as a fact of our human condition. Accepting this truth about ourselves helps us to see the grace that holds us and in this we are strengthened.
In weakness. Grace, Alan
Welcome to Rev. Michelle Shrader
Michelle is an Ordained United Methodist Elder who will be based at CMM for the next three years as a Missionary Pastor. She will be a full member of staff at CMM, preach and teach here and in the Circuit from time to time and will also share her skills with the District and MCSA. Travels to various African countries on behalf of the wider Church are also on her agenda.
We welcome Michelle from Myers Park United Methodist Church in Charlotte, North Carolina — her most recent place of ministry where she was the Minister of Mission & Outreach.
Michelle brings to CMM a wealth of experience in social justice related ministries and matters such as ensuring that conversations around religion and race take place and that justice is sought. She was actively involved in prison ministry, started support groups for those caught up in domestic violence and many other issues which Jesus calls us to take seriously. In short, Michelle has a heart for helping others grow in their faith and deepen their engagement in the world around them — a ministry sure to enhance community life.
Welcome to your new home Michelle. We know and trust that through CMM and the wider Church you will continue to serve God wherever you are called!