Saturday, December 16, 2017

Pastor Tonia Fisher

Journeys in Faith

Rise up and build

“When the Jewish remnant was allowed to return home from Persia, Nehemiah asked of the king permission to go with them to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. With support of the king, Nehemiah declared, “Let Us Rise Up and Build.” (Nehemiah 2:18)
This declaration can serve as a mantra for all of us today. Let Us Rise Up and Build — our individual physical selves, our spiritual selves, our relationships with family, friends, classmates, co-workers, and those with whom we disagree. Let Us Rise Up and Build our families, churches, our businesses, schools, our community, and beyond.
Martin Luther tells us we are freed in Christ – freed to love and serve our neighbors. This is the message of the Gospel of Christ and actions resulting from our faith. We live our faith as we Rise Up and Build to feed the hungry and care for those in need as we support and volunteer at Project Hope or any of the hard-working service organizations in Columbus. We rise up and build as we raise our children or help raise our grandchildren. We Rise Up and Build our young people through our schools and after school activities. We Rise Up and Build when we go to work. We Rise Up and Build relationships with our elders through the services offered at the senior center or activities at Beartooth Health Center and Meadowlark Assisted Living. Some Rise up and Build as they protect and serve our city and our county.
We Rise Up and Build whenever we step out of our comfort zone, or sacrifice time to serve, or go the extra mile to use our time, talents, and treasures to love and serve others.
Wherever or however we serve to make Columbus a thriving community, we are making this a better place to live. A place where all are welcome to live, work, and play. Where people are accepted and encouraged, where people strive to create a healthy community looking to serve future generations. As we work together using our own individual strengths and abilities, we serve the good of the entire community.
At this time, when we are dealing with the aftermath of fires, hurricanes, and earthquakes, as we see neighbors lose loved ones, homes, and livelihoods, we realize we can reach outside of ourselves and Rise Up and Build.
We can still give financially. There are many good organizations helping in the areas hit recently by fire, water, and wind. One is ELCA Lutheran World Relief. I don’t mention this because I’m a Lutheran, but because it is one of the organizations where 100 percent of the money donated will be sent to the affected area.
Some people will literally Rise up and Build as they volunteer to go to those areas of devastation to help people to rebuild fences and barns, to rebuild homes and businesses. It is good to come together with a common cause – to Rise Up and Build – no matter our differences.