Throughout the 8 days at conference, my thoughts kept coming back to the same statement:
We are bound together.
My sister, Becky Brinlee, and I spent a good amount of time together this week. I think it’s the first time I’ve ever been on such a long road trip with JUST my sister. We chattered and laughed on the way up and fell quite silent by the time we got home. I loved getting to know her better as a sister and friend at this stage in our lives.
I was so blessed to watch my son, Parker Johnson, work the crowd there. Because he’s who he is, he knows a lot of people from all over the world. He treasures his relationships and friendships and kindles each one. He is bound by the relationships and perspectives he has gathered as he’s grown up in our church.
We are bound together as a community of believers...
...When we sang “The Spirit of God Like a Fire is Burning” with the huge gathering of saints at Sunday morning communion service with such vigor and enthusiasm and HOPE.
...When we gathered together each day to sit, side by side, in delegations from all over the world, working to achieve common consent on issues where all perspectives needed to be voiced in order to completely understand.
We attended a garage sale or two (or was it 25?). At a particular church sale, we noticed after pulling out of the parking lot that it was a restoration branch of our church. I began to notice more congregations like that one as we drove from here to there. Honestly, I was pretty disappointed to see so many who had left our church to take a stand in another direction. I was unclear of the beliefs of the restoration and remnant churches. I soon realized it’s not who we AREN'T, it’s who we ARE. And that’s what I believe ties Community of Christ together in the most important way. Community of Christ is bound by the belief that stands for the worth of all persons.
We are bound together with a common cause.
The new tithing policy is something I am quite appreciative of, thus challenged by.
A testimony was given one day about the first conference in Independence, more than 100 years ago. When the offering was taken there, money was gathered, but things like diamonds, pearls and rubies were also in the baskets. The members felt compelled to give the treasures they were wearing to support the cause of Zion.
Steve Veazey’s words at the final Saturday morning service spoke to me. “The only way that there will be no poor or oppressed is for the rest of us to change our ways.”
I heard those words. They rang true to me.
He also said these words, “Generosity is spiritually liberating for those who are caught in excessive consumerism and self-indulgence."
I would like to align my time, talents and budget with the church’s new tithing policy. I plan to make more purposeful, responsible purchases, budgeting more carefully, so there is more money to contribute to the work of the church and the needs of others.
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