Power and Weakness

by | Aug 28, 2023

The Lord said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9a

After what felt like a long summer, all of a sudden the September Presbytery meeting is coming up quickly! The meeting will be on Tuesday, September 19th, and is full of the power of our God to give us a glimpse into the future of the church.

The Executive Commission has shifted the meeting to be hybrid, so that those who can make it to Claremont on a Tuesday evening can meet International Peacemaker Milagro Mejía of El Salvador. She has a distinguished place in the organization of the Calvinist Reformed Church of El Salvador. As an attorney, she has advocated for education of children, women’s entrepreneurship, and the peace agreements after civil war in her home country. So that we may greet her more fully, we will have dinner prior to the meeting, where Ms. Mejía will speak and take questions. She will also speak briefly during the Presbytery meeting.

She cannot speak more because we already had a very full docket for this meeting! We anticipate that we will consider advancing two wonderfully gifted inquirers to candidacy under care of CPM. We will welcome newly-ordained Beth Putney, San Marino Community Church’s inaugural O’Grady Resident for Theology and Culture. Beth has just started her two-year residency at San Marino, with an emphasis on social entrepreneurship in the church and community. And, we will consider renewed funding for two of our new worshiping communities, Interwoven with Harlan Redmond and the New Worshiping Community at Temple City with Andrew Ritiau. That’s a lot to celebrate!

Even as I look forward to this action-packed, consequential presbytery meeting, I am reminded that we cannot forget our need to lean on God’s grace to witness these paths into the future. I am aware that there is a new wave of COVID coming through. I noticed hearing folks mentioning testing positive, and one of our pastors ended up in the hospital. And then I got a tickle in my throat, and yes, I tested positive myself! After a week, my symptoms have been quite mild—I have always felt that God has had to coddle me; I guess because my faith is so weak, I can’t handle greater personal challenges. But I am constantly monitoring myself for signs of the illness, and I can get hit with a wave of fatigue at least once during the day. Thank God my headache and fatigue go away after a nap (though I have never taken naps!). But the symptoms are just enough to remind me of my weakness.

I know of two other pastors in our presbytery who are having a much harder time with COVID, so I do ask for your prayers for all who are facing the illness again, and I definitely suggest that you pull out your masks again!

And as we celebrate the ministries in our presbytery family—those who are just emerging, those who are thriving in our maturity, and those who are feeling the weakness that reminds us of our need for God—may we rejoice, not only in our own efforts, but let us rejoice all the more in our Lord, who fills our mortal bodies with the power of the Holy Spirit to reflect the glory of God. And as we celebrate God’s power in our weakness, may we offer hope to the hopeless, through the grace of Jesus Christ.

Now to the One who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to God be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21

With thanks and faith,