If you heard the sermon Sunday, you know that we’re studying Oakland’s P.S.A.L.M. – Oakland’s Core Values.
P. is for “We PRIZE PRESENCE,” by which we mean:
We Prize the Presence of God above all else, so we prioritize individual and group worship through prayer, song, preaching, and Bible Study.
We Prize the Presence of other believers at Oakland, and so we prioritize meeting together weekly. We do not follow Jesus alone.
We are intentionally Present in the Cleveland Community, and so we try to be present to love and serve our neighbors and our community.
Here is one of the quotes our Session reads at least annually, by Henri Nouwen. It reminds us that being present to our community and to each other is vitally important and the heart of ministry.
“More and more, the desire grows in me simply to walk around, greet people, enter their homes, sit on their doorsteps, play ball, and be known as someone who wants to live with them. It is a privilege to have the time and the freedom to practice this simple ministry of presence. Still, it is not as simple as it seems. My own desire to be useful, to do something significant, or be a part of some impressive project is so strong that soon my time is taken up by meetings, conferences, study groups, and workshops that prevent me from walking the streets. It is difficult not to have plans, not to organize people around the urgent cause, and not to feel that you are working directly for social or spiritual progress. But I wonder more and more if the first thing shouldn’t be to know people by name, to eat and drink with them, to listen to their stories and to tell your own, and to let them know with words, handshakes, and hugs that you do not simply like them, but truly love them.”