The assembly theme “Strength for the Journey” was well inspired throughout Thursday evening’s Synod Assembly Worship. Created specifically for the 2021 Synod Assembly, the bulletin art reminds us that God’s redeeming love breaks down barriers, invites us to join a community of discipleships that strives to faithfully worship, grow, and serve God together. Despite the barriers that we may place upon God’s active and redeeming ministry ourselves, God’s love continues to flourish.
From the Invocation to the closing blessing, we are reminded that God is with us always, carrying us on the journey when we cannot do it ourselves. Connected as the body of Christ, we need each other to do God’s ministry together.
Assistant to the Bishop Deacon Tammy Jones West faithfully brought the message as she preached on Mark 3: 20-35. In Mark 3, those who opposed Jesus had every good intention. Jesus’ family, the Pharisees, even the disciples believed that their intentions were right and just. Yet, they were stopping the gospel at work, limiting who was at the table with them. Deacon West reminded us that, as a church, we often have the right intentions but sometimes, we limit Jesus’ work too. She told us that it is time to have those hard conversations and confront those voices, those opportunities, those “isms” that hold us back from allowing Jesus to work in and through us. Despite our attempts to restrain, Deacon West proclaims that “Jesus cannot and will not be restrained.” Being fed with grace for the journey, the Church must go to Jesus, embracing and caring for others along the way.
Thursday night worship was a wonderful opportunity to see collaboration at its best as NC Synod leaders and invited guests created an amazing virtual worship opportunity. The invitation of our congregational choirs, the Lenoir-Rhyne University A Capella Choir, and various instrumentalists provided us with wonderful hymns that reminded us of God’s faithfulness for the journey. Particularly moving were pictures that showed congregational ministry continued while COVID-19 forced our doors to close a while. Overall, the Thursday worship service was uplifting and faithful, connecting us together in God’s Word in our communities across the synod. Thanks be to God for the many gifts our leaders bring!