Psalm 124

1 If it had not been the LORD who was on our side — let Israel now say 2 if it had not been the LORD who was on our side when our enemies attacked us, 3 then they would have swallowed us up alive when their anger was kindled against us; 4 then the flood would have swept us away, the torrent would have gone over us; 5 then over us would have gone the raging waters. 6 Blessed be the LORD, who has not given us as prey to their teeth. 7 We have escaped like a bird from the snare of the fowlers; the snare is broken, and we have escaped. 8 Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth.

When I read this Psalm recently, my mind was filled with many good things I’d encountered and experienced because I knew  the Lord was with me. One of them is the ministry of the Open Door Churches. The ministry mission of Open-Door Churches is to be an inclusive parish where there is a place for everyone in our communities. Four churches with diverse ministries, each church’s goal is to minister and welcome all God’s people to experience God’s love with friends. This is not as easy as it sounds. Each church has their unique ministry focus while still supporting and sharing resources throughout the parish. There is a place at First Salem for you and there is a place at Morningside for you. There is a place for you at Trinity for you and there is a place a Clear Lake for you.

As a Tongan American cross-cultural pastor, I can chime in with this Psalm for it speaks to my heart. If it had not been for  the Lord who is always on our side, I wouldn’t have such a wonderful place at Open Door Churches.

When the spaces at any one of our churches are filled to the rim, there is always room for you at another of our churches. The Open Door Churches extend from the hills to the valleys of our social-economic climate. The Lord, who is on our side, enables us to go far beyond the social, economic hierarchy to support one parish collaborative ministry and have a healthy safe place for all.

On September 30-31, we celebrated the 250th Anniversary of Francis Asbury in America. With the Lord on our side, Francis Asbury was sent to America. With the Lord on our side, Asbury helped form the American Methodist church. With the Lord on our side for the last two hundred and fifty years, we are widening the circle of our churches and ministries in Salem and Keizer to be a collective parish with shared resources – one group supporting each church, serving and welcoming people to God’s community.

Let’s pray: “Lord, God, we thank you for being always with us on our side. We know we must endure together in this endeavor to structure ways of healthy leadership and plans of passionate worship with our Open Door Churches.  We need your presence of wisdom in our hearts for our listening sessions and committee meetings. We invite your presence of creativity in our House Maintenance Plan and Christian Education and your presence of compassion and love in our care ministry for each other and our communities of Salem and Keizer. Thank you. Amen.”