Psalm 27 begins with this wonderful proclamation:
The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
The church is a unique establishment in our world. We sometimes closely resemble other ‘community’ or ‘volunteer’ organizations. We pragmatically seek to work ‘for good’ within our world, much like so many other organizations and clubs.
And yet, we are profoundly different. We express and explore the mystery of the ‘divine will’ in all that we do. We offer worship and praise at the fundamental core of all that we do (not just Sunday morning!). Our primary goal as an organization is growing in faith together as God’s people, living and serving in Jesus’ name. We are a family, knit together as so aptly described in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians,
So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.
Together, we the church, are being built into a dwelling place for God. The church is not bricks and mortar, but rather, flesh and blood. We celebrate and offer thanksgiving for the work accomplished this past year as we continue to be part of this eternal family of God. We have many and varied ministries here in our congregation; we partner with other missions and efforts in our community; we celebrate the work of the church in the larger world as we seek to bring peace and promise and hope in Jesus’ name.
When times are tough, the church leans even more deeply into faith and fellowship.
We believe that God has called us into being; God has equipped us to serve; God has been faithful! As we continue to move forward in the midst of this time of social upheaval and transition/turmoil (I.E., whatever it is that future historians will name this pandemic recovery period), we, as a people of faith, are encouraged to continue to set our eyes on God who will continue to lead and guide us. Psalm 16 says it this way,
I keep the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.
Therefore my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices; my body also rests secure.
Join with me in offering thanks to all those who have participated in this family of faith and served through this year. Join me in offering thanks to our staff team who have shared so generously of their time and talents. Join with me in offering thanks and praise to Christ Jesus our Lord, who is leading and guiding and building us into the eternal household of God!