God is still speaking! You have heard it many times before. But is God still listening to the UCC? Is God finished with us?
I am an active member of my local church, my Association and my Conference. I serve on the Office of General Ministries board of directors and the UCC's Executive Council. I hang out with church people. And I hear things.
Often what I hear is pessimism and defeatism. I hear whispers that maybe God's face is turned away from the UCC. You know what I mean. You have heard those whispers, too.
I answer the whispers with shouts of steadfast faithfulness. No! God is not finished with the UCC. No! God's face is not turned away from us. Yes! God still listens to the UCC. God hears our prayers and our hopes. God is still speaking.
God and Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit are present in my life. If you are reading this column, I know that God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit are present in your life, too. And you and I—we are the UCC!
The body of Christ's church has many members, each with its unique gifts and contributions. Some members do some things better than others.
Some churches in this body have higher attendance numbers. Some members have more money. Some members offer God worship and praise in different ways. Still, we are the UCC together.
Some members honor the saints who went before us and lift up those who will follow. When this happens, the whole UCC is there. When some members in Christ's church cry out for justice, peace and healing for the outcast, downtrodden and powerless, the whole UCC is there.
Some members wrestle every day and night—feeling sometimes as if they are taking two steps forward and one step backward, struggling to discern God's will. They try as best they can to bring the better day of God's realm a little closer. When this discernment happens, you know as well as I do that the UCC is there. We are there in the struggle together.
God sustains us with a love that is like a steadfast rock. God does not turn away from faithful servants. Any crisis of faith does not belong to God, because God always speaks to us, saying, "Believe."
When your dark moments come, it is my prayer that you will believe, that you will tie your faith to God's steady rock, that you will find the strength once more to take up the work that God has called you to do.
With such faith, the UCC will move mountains. Just believe, and we will be on our way.
Robert D. Sandman, a member of Lakeview UCC in Maineville, Ohio, is chairperson of the board of directors of the UCC's Office of General Ministries and the Ohio Conference delegate on the Executive Council.