Greetings to all in the Love of Jesus Christ:
Like many of you, I like to cheer for underdogs – those less well known, less publicized, or less popular people or teams or … Christian holy days. I’ve written here before about my love for Pentecost, the forgotten stepchild of Christian holy days (Christmas and Easter getting all the attention). But here in the fall we have two more special days that I love. October started with World Communion Sunday, in which we recognize our connectedness with people across the planet. And as October begins to wind down, we prepare to celebrate All Saints Day on the first of November, a day when we celebrate and recognize our connectedness with all whom have come before.
The key scripture for All Saints is Hebrews 11-12 – “the great cloud of witnesses.” The writer of Hebrews tells the stories of many who have come before us and lived lives of faith, culminating with Jesus, whom the writer calls “the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.”
Have you ever sat and meditated on this phrase? I find this one of the most fascinating descriptions of Jesus: “the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.” Pioneers go before us, they blaze the trail, they go first, and if all goes well, others will follow and find the way easier. To call Jesus a “pioneer” is to suggest that Jesus is walking the same journey we do, but walking it first, blazing the trail, showing us where and how to go. Jesus walked boldly forward in love, never giving in to fear. He spoke love, showed love, taught love, and even expressed love to those who were putting him to death. This is the trail he blazed, the path he pioneered – love for all, no matter the consequences. It is a path he perfected – not bailing out, not caving in, not compromising because he was afraid of what would happen to him. Jesus: “the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.”
We call ourselves Disciples, followers of Jesus. As Jesus was our pioneer, we too are called walk the journey of radical love, of expressing love to all – no matter how much we may disagree with their opinions, no matter what they look like, how they self-identify, or what they profess to believe. We are called to love, not to be afraid, not to live in fear, not to worry about our own well-being to the exclusion of others. May God bless us on our journey of radical love, as we seek to follow the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.
Dios les bendiga!
Regional Minister and President, Christian Church in Arizona
We invite you to pray for the following congregations in the months of August and September. Visit our Regional Calendar of Weekly Prayers for our annual list.
24 Glendale Mission and Ministry Center (Glendale) led by Executive Director Tiffany Fehr
31 Arizona Saints and Congregations that have come before us
7 Cristo en Pan de la Familia (Mesa) and Pastor Aurelio Lopez
14 Larkspur Christian Church, Casa Builders Ministry (Glendale) and Pastor Job Cobos
21 Seminarians and Disciples Education Institutions (Thanksgiving Special Offering)
28 Iglesia Cristiana Ebenezer (Tucson) and Pastor Sandy Flores