Meet Our New Pastor!
Many years ago, I was the appointed pastor of East Main Street Church, which was located one block off the Susquehanna River, just upstream from its confluence with Bald Eagle Creek. Floods happened there, and when they did, important papers like birth certificates washed away, resulting in requests for copies of baptismal records, which put me searching through old church records.
It was on one such search that I found an old “fill in the blank” postcard listing the date and time of a quarterly conference with the church, the arrival time of the Conference Superintendent’s train, its morning departure time, and a request for overnight lodging with the pastor and his family.
My mind began to wonder: Was this request for hospitality seen as a welcome or worrisome honor? How much anxious hurrying and scurrying did it create? Was it unnecessary intrusion or a sustaining grace?
Building and caring for our connections to the body of Christ has always been an intentional work in progress. The Apostle Paul closed his letter to the Roman church with a long list of greetings, commendations, some brief advice, and a thank you to Gaius his host. His letter to the Philippian Church mixes a call for humility and unity with his gratitude for their support. Portions of his letters to the Corinthian church are devoted to collecting an offering to provide for the church in Jerusalem, his note to Philemon asks him to forgive Onesimus, and he writes Timothy for his cloak that he left with Carpus at Troas along with his papers. Each of these moments reveal the value of the small stuff to the big stuff.
Our life together is no exception.
A card here, a phone call there creates a church full of care, all of it telling the truth that nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. Each grab and go meal served on a Wednesday is answer to the prayer for daily bread. A Sunday morning together for an hour encourages us to live to serve and worship the Lord as our God. Stained glass windows, worship folders, music, and media give honor and praise to the Lord whose beauty fills our lives. Each lesson taught, each check written, each light bulb changed, and record carefully kept is a moment of grace that binds us together as the body of Christ.
All this takes work. The sort of work that builds and connects disciples in Christ for the transformation of the world. Church is a labor of love, which is always the best work of all.