For some of you this might be a radical idea but I am going to throw it out there any way. What if you decided right now to love the new pastor who will be assigned to Key West UMC? What if before you even met her/him or heard him/her preach or had a personal encounter with her/him you decided you were going to love him/her?
Some of us do this with our future sons or daughters in law. We decide when our kids are little that we will love who they decide to love and welcome them into the family. Because we love our kids we will love who they love. This is a good way to build very strong families filled with love.
It works that way in churches too. If we wait for the new pastor to impress us or say something we agree with or clearly show she/he is the ideal Pastor we were hoping for, then love is conditional. I will love whoever does or says what I want.
If we love before someone does or says what we want, then that is called GRACE. Love that is unmerited or unearned. This is one of the things we appreciate the most about God. Thank you God for loving unconditionally!
Granted this is much harder for we humans but it is still an aspiration that can bring great harmony and a powerful sense of community. Loving each other in spite of those annoyances or disagreements or unmet expectations is a beautiful gift of grace.
So as radical as it seems, why not decide right now you already love the new Pastor coming in July?!
Love and Prayers,