A Note From The Pastor

When I was little, one of the great joys of spending my summers in Carlsbad, New Mexico, was going with my grandmother down to the local bread store. The smells alone were worth the visit but the very best part was the children’s sized loaves of bread they sold, sliced and prepackaged. Getting sliced bread was a pretty good deal ― my grandmother made delicious homemade bread but when you tried to slice it for a sandwich, it was hard to get the right thickness. If you cut it too thick, that was too much bread, if you cut it too thin the bread wouldn’t cover the fixings or it would collapse because it wasn’t sturdy enough. A trip to the bread store was needed for efficiency’s sake and for the delight of any kids in tow. All the kids in town looked forward to the small loaves, just enough for a great snack.
I was once asked why I liked being Methodist and I remember saying ‘I think it’s the best thing since sliced bread.’
We have this thing called the “Quadrilateral” in the UMC. It speaks, in a nutshell, about a well-rounded, well-grounded faith and fleshes it out in such a way as to give voice to what we know to be true. We believe that the living core of the Christian faith is revealed in Scripture, illumined by tradition, vivified in personal experience and confirmed by reason. The bricks of the quadrilateral build a very strong foundation of what is necessary for an animated faith journey. Vivify – what a beautiful word!! (to give life to; animate; quicken. 2. to enliven; brighten; sharpen.) The living core of our Christian faith can only be summed up in our walks, our thoughts, and our actions. Our lives are our experiences in Christ. To be animated by God’s grace and love, to know the comfort of the Holy Spirit, to grow in grace and love for our fellow sojourners, this is where we live.
We are not looking for pat answers; we dive headlong into the hard moments, to flesh out, to grapple and to consider issues. I know that the commitment to education and reason are why we can wallow in those issues and come out the other side, changed and motivated. In the United Methodist Church, it is okay to disagree about things – it is okay to have different ways of working out one’s faith. The phrase which Wesley borrowed from others: “In essentials, unity; in nonessentials, liberty, in all things, love,” is a refrain we must always keep front and center in the UMC.
Now that I think about it, United Methodism really does have a lot in common with sliced bread. Not too thick with too much dogma and legalism, not too thin so that we forget orthodoxy and purpose – but just right – the via media (the middle road).
It is my prayer that you will find the road you are looking for and remember: you are most welcome at LSUMC!
Pastor Janet