An Article from the September 2019 Illuminator
I love studying human behavior; why people do what they do. It explains why I enjoy watching some reality TV like Married at First Sight. This show follows couples that get matched by experts and the first day they see each other they are meeting at the altar to be married. Through the season we get to watch the couple navigate a new relationship and being married all in one go. It’s both terrifying and exciting to watch. Another area that is fascinating for me is cults, gangs, and extremist fringe groups. I learn about these through documentaries, podcasts, and interviews which usually include testimony of those who were members. Every single person who joined a cult or an extremist group stated that they joined because it gave them purpose in life, and a place where they felt like they truly belonged. They felt this sense of belonging so much and feared losing this belonging that they are willing to give up every person they know in their life and usually participate in activities that go against their own values. When I hear these stories, I wonder; where in our culture and in our churches have we missed the opportunities to offer this belonging in a more effective way?
When I think of belonging, wholeness comes to mind which quickly turns to an understanding of separation. Humans understand separation much better than wholeness. After all, it is the human condition that separates us from God. This separation is why God sent Jesus to live as a human to bring us into wholeness with God through the sacrifice of God’s son. Separation exists in our experience as a human much more than wholeness, so much so that we are almost immune to the subtleties. Sometimes the separation is more obvious and painful.
In what ways do we see or experience separation in our world, country, cities, communities, and families and even within our own selves? In preparing for my internship, Pastor Sally, Pastor Dan and I did some imagining of what it would look like to integrate this question into our life together at MCLC. After all, MCLC has proclaimed hope, healing and wholeness as our mission. Over the next 9 months as a community we will be exploring the different ways separation exists within these spheres of our lives. As we begin to shine a light on these separations we can then bravely move into understanding wholeness. This conversation will be supported with the teachings of Jesus, hearing stories from others, and exploring our own stories. During these months you’ll hear the topics mentioned during worship and a non-profit will be supported through a penny pail offering. Each month, we will host a special event that will be open to the public to discuss a topic of separation. The information will be available on our website and posted to our Facebook page, and in the weekly bulletin and Illuminator. As we come to understand the separation in our lives, may God give us the strength with wisdom of the Holy Spirit to work towards the wholeness promised to us through the death of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
With excitement and love,
Kaye Mills, Intern Minister of Word and Service