CCC Blog

Relax... He's Got This

I’ve always been intrigued by a particular detail in every one of the accounts of Jesus feeding the multitudes.  As the gospels all tell it, before Jesus took the bread and fish and multiplied it to feed the hungry crowds he had everyone sit down in green grass.  The writers of scripture go out of their way to highlight the fact that there was green grass in the area and that Jesus wanted the people to sit down on it before he acted. 

Why did Jesus do this?  Why didn’t he just take the bread and fish and turn it into a feast with the people standing up?  Why did the grass have to be “green?”  Would it have made a difference if it was “straw-colored” instead?  Obviously, we’ll never know for sure.  But I have to believe those two details are important or they wouldn’t be there for us to read.

Of course, green reminds us of the green pastures of Psalm 23 – perhaps the most gentle, peaceful, bucolic image scripture has to offer.  Green pastures remind us of calmness and tranquility – the perfect companion of “still waters.”  With nary a breeze to be felt, the green pastures adjacent calm waters are as far from the stormy tempests of life as could possibly be. 

And sitting down is the opposite of, well, standing up.  Standing up implies readiness – being prepared to move, to follow, to serve, to witness, to testify.  Standing up signifies action.  Sitting down, on the other hand, evokes images of reclining around an evening meal – after the feet have been washed and with the hard work of the day receding in the proverbial rear-view mirror.  Sitting down implies rest and relaxation. So maybe it is fitting that Jesus had the crowd take a seat in the green grass before performing the miracle.  It was his way of saying “Relax.  I’m here.  I’m in control.  I’m going to do this work and you can sit back and trust that it will be done in your midst.”  Taking a seat in green grass represents letting go and having faith.  It is noteworthy that Jesus had the crowd sit down in the green grass after he took the bread and fish from them but before he performed the miracle.  The bread and fish came from them.  They brought him what they had.  They placed it in his hands.  And then, before he did anything with them, they sat down in green grass.  It is as though this signals the transfer of trust – from our own abilities and resources to Christ.  Our abilities and resources only take us so far.  But in the hands of Christ, we see them to be more than they ever were in our own.  And that… that change of view; change of perspective… is a miracle.

Sitting down in green grass, far from being an oddity in the story that might seem superfluous, has come to stand out in my mind as perhaps the most significant detail of them all.      

Posted by Michael Karunas with

Our Home, Our Future

You are invited... to an open house in the next week.  The Capital Campaign planning committee has been meeting regularly since the winter and is ready to make an initial report to you, the congregation.  Actually, there will be two (2) opportunities to attend the open house.  The same material will be shared both times, so you need not attend both (unless you want to).  The open houses will be:

Sunday, April 28 from 12 – 1 p.m. in the Disciples Room

Monday, April 29 from 6 – 7 p.m. in the Connection Café

For the last several decades, Central has undertaken continuous triennial (3-year) capital campaigns in addition to the annual stewardship campaign.  The stewardship campaign, held every Fall, supports the operating budget of the church.  This budget follows the calendar year.  The capital campaigns begin in June every three years, so as not to conflict with the Fall stewardship drive.  Gifts to the capital campaign, also known as the “building fund,” support voted-upon projects that support that improvement of our building.  It is because of these capital campaigns that Central has been able to keep a building that is in tremendous shape, while making significant upgrades along the way.  There is not a single Disciples of Christ in the country, of which I am aware, that voluntarily undertakes such thoughtful and conscientious actions.  The entirety of the credit for this tradition goes to my pastoral predecessors, Bill Nichols and Charles Watkins, and to you, the members past and present who have supported it.

During the 2013-2016 campaign, themed “Blueprint for Growth,” we laid the foundation of the major renovation to the Friendship Center and West Entrance, as well as repair the roof over the Administration wing, the steps at the Tower entrance, and the sound and lighting in the sanctuary.  During the most recent (2016-2019) campaign, “Pathways to Possibilities,” we not only began paying back the debt we incurred for the 2016 renovation of the Friendship Center and West Entrance, we continued our upgrades of the sound and lighting in the sanctuary.

Oh.. and perhaps the best part of these capital campaigns is that 10% is always dedicated  to outreach.  Which means that since 2013, Central has donated over $100,000 to the Decatur area!   

The current capital campaign planning team is excited to share with you its proposed plan for 2019-2022.  Team members include Gregg Foltz (congregational president), Dale Ford (president of the Trustees), Paul Gorden, Sandy Garver, Theresa Fulk, Roberta Gorden, Doug Soebbing, and Jeannie Backes.  They, and I, will be presenting on both dates:

  • A goal for the campaign (in terms of overall dollar amount to be raised over 3 years)
  • A breakdown for how the funds will be spent, including
    • A portion for the reduction of the debt incurred in 2016;
    • A portion allocated for “new improvements;”
    • Along with 10% to outreach (of course!)
  • A theme for the campaign.

I know I speak on behalf of the entire team when I say that I hope you can all make it to one of the Open Houses next week.  Again, the dates are: 

Sunday, April 28 from 12 – 1 p.m. in the Disciples Room

Monday, April 29 from 6 – 7 p.m. in the Connection Café

Blessings… Michael

Posted by Michael Karunas with

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