No Fear In Love: Loving The Other In Church

Each week Pastor Sarah offers a devotional reflection to connect with the South Shore UMC Family. Use this entry as a way to prepare your heart and mind for worship. See you Sunday!

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Sunday’s Scripture ~ Luke 18:9-14 and I John 4:20-21.


Devotional Scripture ~ II Peter 3:9.


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This Sunday South Shore UMC continues in our sermon series entitled No Fear In Love. This series is framed by Bishop Will Willimon's book Fear Of The Other: No Fear In Love. Each week of the series we will explore a reading from First John and a reading from The Gospel of Matthew or Luke, and place those scriptures in conversation with Willimon. I look forward to this time of learning together!


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Our devotional scripture verse this week is a much beloved verse by my friend, Jared. Jared and I met on his first day at Candler School of Theology in 2009. I was the peer advisor assigned to his ‘first year cohort.’ Jared was (and is) quiet and thoughtful...once you get to know him, though, his quick wit and infectious sense of humor make you forget you ever thought him quiet.


Our friendship developed that year, and our families remain close. Jared “followed me” as the youth director at the church I served my last year at Candler. That transition summer of 2010 we co-led our youth mission team with Appalachian Service Project. On our worksite, Jared was instrumental in leading our youth in constructing a deck and a two-story staircase so that the homeowner would now have two safe and completed exits from her home in the event of an emergency. It was a privilege to stand back and watch Jared lead. I was so proud of him at the end of that week. I remain so proud of him today.


As our week closed our team decided to honor our work and investment of time together by writing notes of encouragement to one another. In his note to me Jared included II Peter 3:9 in his signature. I remember looking it up on our way home and laughing because we shared many conversations with our youth that week about patience...

  • Patience when waiting for concrete to cure

  • Patience when anticipating the delivery of overdue supplies

  • Patience when at the back of the line for meals and showers

  • Patience when a team member was tap dancing on our last nerve

What incredible patience our God has

  • Patience when waiting for our sinning to be cured - meaning stopped!

  • Patience when anticipating the long-awaited arrival of personal and social holiness

  • Patience when placed on the back burner of our lives

  • Patience when we tap dance on God’s last nerve

Praise God that nerve does not fray.


Praise God that our God does not leave us! Does not forsake us! Does not give up on us!


Our God is patient because our God does not want any of us to perish. I think God hopes the wait for each of us will not be long, but even if it is, our God does not grow weary. God has a specific future in mind, and it includes us.


I was grateful for Jared’s message of inclusion then. I continue in gratitude for his message - which is God’s message - now.


Thank you, Jared!! I miss you and love you, my friend!


Reflection: What comes to mind when you consider ‘the patience of God’? Describe a time you received the gift of God’s patience. How does receiving this gift further shape your view of God?


Prayer: “Lord, I want to be more holy in my heart, in my heart; Lord, I want to be more holy in my heart. In my heart, in my heart, Lord, I want to be more holy in my heart.”* Amen.


*”Lord, I Want To Be A Christian,” The United Methodist Hymnal 402.

**Devotional Resource: The Weekly Prayer Project by Scarlet Hiltibidal