Mississippi United Methodist Church as a Commonwealth

posted Aug 6, 2014, 6:53 AM by Web Ministry
In a 1994 interview with the Blue Grass Magazine, Wendell Berry, Kentucky farmer and author, proposed that a community is a commonwealth of values. Although there is a lot of sentimental talk about communities these days, Berry observed that building and maintaining communities require tremendous commitment.

“Community in the real sense is a commonwealth. It’s a holding in common of many different things of value…It seems to me we belong to each other and God. If that’s accepted, there are many practical things you are committed to do. You see that nobody gets hungry, for instance. You see that nobody sleeps in the street. You see that children are taught—not just enough to get them a job or get them a diploma—but taught enough to function as responsible, affectionate members of the community.”

The church is God’s commonwealth on earth. The people of The United Methodist Church in Mississippi have identified our Core Values as love, justice, generosity and apprenticeship. We seek to live out those values as we hold everything God has blessed us with in common. It is so good that we do because tragedies invade our lives that none of us can overcome or navigate through on our own. We simply need each other. We want desperately to be self-sufficient and it grieves us when we discover we need help. Have you ever thought that this is God’s plan for us to be there for each other and to not be fully independent? Maybe we discover in the midst of these tragedies that people were created by God to be in relationships with each other. We discover that each storm that hits a community, each devastating fire, each heartache and blow of life is an opportunity for us to love each other and be loved.

Tragedies will come, storms will blow and heartaches will invade our tranquil worlds but our ability to love and to practice generosity toward each other will get us through this and we will shine even the greater.

This Sunday, July 27, 2014 we can give to help us be prepared when those storms come and tragedies strike in Mississippi. I realize that each congregation has various forms of benevolence funds, mission monies, sunshine funds and other names for them but sometimes the tragedies go beyond the reach of your community. This will help us to reach throughout Mississippi to create the commonwealth where all may be cared for. It is a freewill offering so just simply give your people a chance to donate so that you and your church will be there when tragedy strikes and by the way, thank you for caring!

Bishop James E. Swanson, Sr.