January 19, 2014

Pastoral Letter

Greetings brothers and sisters,

This past Sunday afternoon, I was able to participate in holy conferencing with our Bishop Minerva Carcano, and United Methodist Church members from all over our conference. We had a great group of Los Altos UMC attend, and the main part of our time was spent on working, discerning, praying, and singing over what it means to us as disciples of Christ to be “Biblically obedient.”

To me, being Biblically obedient calls us to step into a place of deep challenge — questioning how we connect who and whose we are with how we live that out. Being Biblically obedient calls us to step out in our faith and truly live in the ways of Jesus — deeply compassionate with one another and neighbors near and far; calls us to feed the hungry (physically and spiritually); pushes us to extend past mere tolerance to understanding and love of God’s people everywhere; and leads us to a place of speaking for those whose voice has been silenced (sometimes even by us in the Church).

I am still wrestling with the notion of being obedient to the Bible, a source of wisdom that sometimes contradicts itself and spans hundreds of years, cultures, languages and socio-economic strata. But, I find myself deeply resonating with the idea that I began to discern this past Sunday afternoon … that being obedient to God’s wisdom can look very different than being obedient to our human understanding of that wisdom. And now, I turn to you, the people of God reading this. How would you define “Biblical Obedience,” or describe what being “Biblically obedient” would look like?

For me, today, being Biblically Obedient looks like …

  • Loving and prioritizing God, my family, and my health so that I can serve God to the best of my ability in my place of vocational service here at Los Altos UMC.
  • Learning to live a life clothed in prayer; and

Attending the Charge Conference after the 11AM worship to participate in the discussion and decisions of how our Los Altos UMC will use the resources we have in order to most appropriately, effectively and lovingly live out our mission at Los Altos UMC.

Then later, worshipping together with nine different faith traditions celebrating our brother, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

And even later, hanging out with our youth and families tonight at the lock-in, and visiting the Museum of Tolerance with some of them tomorrow.

What does it mean to you, and how do you live that out?

Your sister in Christ,
Pastor Melinda T. Dodge