Pastor's Note
A Message from Reverend, Jane L. Leechford, Senior Pastor

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The month of May brings with it thoughts of beauty, nature, and family. When I think of these things, I am drawn to recollections of my mother. Perhaps it is because her birthday falls near the end of April, and she is already in my thoughts.

My mother was a patient woman. I'm not saying that my sister and I were bad girls, but we certainly were not perfect daughters. It was not until I became a mother, did I understand what my mom must have gone through as she raised us and loved us and taught us to love.

The greatest gifts my mother offered were how to love and what it means to follow Jesus no matter the cost. Although my mother never traveled out of the United States, I suppose that's why I follow Jesus to many parts of the U.S. and the world to meet Jesus where he is at work. Because of love. Because of faith. Because of hope. They prepare me to hear a call and follow.

In his humanity, Jesus initially must have learned how to love from his mother. He knew her love. He felt her love in the way she looked at him; in the way that she cared for him, and in the way she taught him to love and to share that love. She told him the stories of the angel that visited her and how he had been born in Bethlehem. She told him that he had been sent by the Father to save his people from their sins. As he lived into his mission, he realized that he was one with the Father who called him into being; that he was loved by the Father and that he was given a mission to show all humanity what it means to love.

Author Frederick Buechner has observed, "In the Christian sense, love is not primarily an emotion, but an act of will." What is this saying to us about our faith's distinctive understanding of love? It says that love is the very essence of Christian faith. If we are not able to love, then there is something superficial about our faith. And sometimes the most difficult people to forgive are those closest to us.

Jesus understood love. He said to the Jews, "My sheep hear my voice. And I know them, and they follow me" (John 10:27). We are called to demonstrate our love of God, our recognition of Christ in the world, and to follow where Christ leads because when you love, when you truly love, no sacrifice is too great. In fact, love for us, prompted God to send the son into our midst because God so loved the world that he gave… John 3:16-17 reminds us, "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him."

God sent Jesus into the world through a young mother who was called to carry God's child and who said "yes" to the tremendous task before her. Mary was a mother who loved her son with her entire being and prepared him for the day he would offer his life for the good of all. So, as we remember our mothers this month, may we do so with the love of Christ in our hearts and may we share this love as we follow the one who calls us his own.

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