Hi Everybody... Happy September!
When I last wrote, we were preparing for a few slower months while Judy Gilbert recovered from a hip replacement and I took some time off for some rest and rejuvenation. Summer has a different rhythm in the life of the church than the rest of the year, and I really enjoyed the change of pace. As promised, I read a whole bunch of books – some for pleasure, some for spiritual nourishment, and some to enhance my preaching – and David and I traveled to some very beautiful parts of this country. Utah was a first for us both, and it is beautiful!
Following our trip, I spent some time planning worship for the rest of the year and am going to be incorporating a few new things from time to time. As those of you who have been in worship recently are aware, I’ve been doing a sermon series that will conclude on September 4th called, “I’ve Been Meaning to Ask...” Each week in August, we explored a different question (“Where are you from? “Where does it hurt?” “What do you need?” and “Where do we go from here?”).
On that first Sunday, I encouraged folks to write something called an “I am from...” statement. It’s a creative way to share who you are, where you are from, who and what you like and love (or vise-versa), or anything else you want to include; and there is no right or wrong way to write one. I shared mine in my sermon, and I’ll share it with those of you who weren't there to hear it, because I want very much for you to put some thought to it and write your own. It’s a different way of thinking about your life and who you are, and I think you might like the experience. And then... in time... with your permission, of course, I would like to collect and compile them into a book to have for us all to enjoy together.
Our church is changing. We know that. With each death, we grow smaller; and with each year, we slow down a little more. But, we continue to be a worshiping community that loves God, loves each other, and reaches out to those who are in need; and thinking about where we are from is something we can do with and for each other. It might also help us begin to think about not only where we are from, but where we are now, and where we are going in the future.
God willing, the creek don't rise, my health holds out, and you and God still want me here, I hope to be your pastor for another 4-5 years; and I want our time to continue to bring glory to God and be a blessing to others. We are different than we were in 2016, which is when you called and installed me; and we are different from how we were before the pandemic. We will become different again when another illness strikes us or others; we will become different again when we lose another member; and we will become different again when life throws us some other curve ball. But different can still be good, and different offers new beginnings.
As for me, I’m looking forward to the new season of fall that will quickly be upon us and to all of the other good things God has in store for us. Have a great month.
Grace and Peace,