El Segundo United Methodist Church

Pastor's Page

"Come to the Water"
Pastor Lee's Sermon Podcasts

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Dear Friends,

“So, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation: 
everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!”
(II Corinthians 5:17)

It’s the time of year when we feel the urge to give our lives a “make over,” and often that means cleaning out cupboards and closets.  TV shows like Marie Kondo’s “Tidying Up” and countless self-help books promise to help us do this very difficult task.  You can even pay someone to clear away the clutter for you!

So here is a news flash for you!  I have discovered the best way to do this without devoting time to watching TV or reading or paying a specialist!  You paint!  

For the past three weeks, our church offices have been undergoing a transformation with new ceilings in all the rooms and new paint for the main office, the workroom, and my office.  Having the office painted is wonderful; everything looks great . . . except for the piles of books and papers on my desk, my floor, and my table.  In order to have my shelves painted, everything had to come off, and there are a lot of shelves in my office.  

So, the process of sorting has begun—and, as you know, it’s job.  A lot of stuff has accumulated over the eight and a half years I’ve been in this office, and I’m amazed at the things I’ve saved—or, rather, not thrown away—over the years.  No, I’m not following Marie Kondo’s advice and saving things that “spark joy.”  I’m making decisions on what to keep because I need to have space in which to work!

All this got me thinking, and I found myself asking some interesting questions:  What room or space in my house do I want to clean out?  What is keeping me from doing that?  What help do I need?  Hmmm . . .

When we are baptized, we are given a new start in life.  With the water, we are symbolically washed clean.  We die to our old lives and rise to a new one in Christ.  It’s a new beginning.  Most of us were baptized a while ago, even decades ago, and since then, stuff has accumulated in our lives:  grudges and guilt, doubts and fears.  Along with cleaning out cupboards and closets, maybe we need to do some spiritual cleaning out.  Maybe we need to ask ourselves:  What do I need to sort out in my relationship with others and with God?  

Do I need to forgive or be forgiven?  Is there a gift that I need to give?  A broken relationship I need to mend?  A new connection I need to make?  Do I need to create space in which to be with God?  What do I need to sort out in my relationship with others and with God?  What is keeping me from doing this?  What help do I need?  

The season of Epiphany in which we find ourselves is a season of revelation, when we celebrate Christ as the Light of the world.  May Christ shine some light in the crowded cupboards of our souls so that we can do some much needed “sorting.”  May we open our hearts to the work of the Spirit and allow it to create space for new life.  May God guide us into a life that will indeed bring us joy! 

Working on my shelves and my spirit,
Pastor Lee

P.S.  I will inadvertently have time in the coming weeks to do some spiritual sorting while  I am recuperating from surgery on February 18.  I am fine, but some physical “repair work” needs to be done, and I’ll be out three or four weeks.  Glafy Carr and Eric Iki will be preaching on February 24 and March 3, respectively, and I’m lining up two other pastors for March 10 and 17, as needed.  Rev. Erika Gara, pastor of Hope UMC, and Rev. Molly Vetter, pastor of Redondo First UMC, will be on call for pastoral care.  You’ll be in good hands, and I ask for your prayers for successful surgery and recovery.

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