Word Cloud by Rev. Dr. Nadine Burton

Have you ever awakened to a brand-new day of possibilities? Has your life ever changed, because of love, and you felt that change deep within, in an instant? Love awakens us to the exceeding greatness of the God who is love. In the blink of an eye, love awakens in us, and we, like our retreat duck (remember the retreat duck), take to the sky, moving across the darkness beneath us, looking up and holding onto the faithfulness of our God.

The word cloud above represents some of the Great River Region’s small group work from 2016. These words reflect who we are, who we desire to be, and what we are called to do as a regional body. What words jump out at you as you prepare for Regional Assembly in Vicksburg, MS? The word that inspires me in this cloud is love. I am so glad that love made our list! Love jumped out at me, as I understood that we are a region of love. We love each other. We respect each other. We serve each other. I saw love with the Ukraine Project. I continue to see love with the water crisis in Jackson. I have seen love countless times through hurricane relief efforts. We have some wonderful donors who provide love, sustainability, and support to the work of the GRR!

I see love plainly as plans unfold to move us toward Regional Assembly (And, we have guests coming, so we need to show up. Don’t let company come over and find that we are not home). We show up as friends and colleagues, to hear and learn from each other. We show up as church, whether large or small, struggling or with means. But more than this, we show up with stories to tell, with an amen and hallelujah, because we understand what it means to be a region with the love of Jesus Christ as our model and witness.

I pray that this cloud that identifies us as a body, will transform us into a great cloud of witnesses, prepared and eager for the continued work of the Great River Region! I anticipate the new possibilities as we come together in Comm-Unity, in the bonds of Christian love. “Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than we all can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever, Amen” (Ephesians 3:20-21).