A Peaceful Easy Feelin’
I can’t believe we are celebrating 10 years of mission and ministry together this month! I have been pondering for a while what to write in this “10th Anniversary Edition” of the SPIRE. My nature is to attempt to cover the waterfront and try to mention and remark on all the amazing things we have accomplished, the numbers of people we have met, prayed with and for and impacted through mission and ministry. But alas, there’s not time (or space) to cover all the blessings we’ve experienced in these last 10 years.
I did however, re-read my first SPIRE article in February 2007. Already in that article I was addressing you as “Dear Saints”! Huh! I did not learn to call you “saints” because of advice from a colleague or in some seminar at seminary. I learned it here; because of your immediate and deep kindness, faithfulness, playfulness and willingness to partner
together from the start, like the saints in the early church in Acts.
I want to share with you some excerpts from that first letter because as much as we have grown and changed we have also stayed the same…in a good way.
The letter began: “Dear Saints, Wow! what a wonderfully warm and spirit-filled church you are! Your genuine welcome, enthusiasm and hospitality have been immediate and beyond my expectations.”
The reason why we’re still partnering together ten years later is that you are still that same congregation in spirit and in truth! Yes, we’ve had some surprises and challenges as every church does, and many unexpected blessings, as well as continual new faces, new children and healthy finances that many churches don’t enjoy. But mostly it’s because you continue to be faithful to your call as Tekna Theou (children of God) as you seek to live out your baptism in community with others here.
The second revisit from that February article that I wanted to share with you was my dinner with 2 members
of the PNC (Marilyn Ward and Ken Nickel). When we arrived at Poor Henry’s on a cold Monday night, when little else was open, there was a 3-person combo playing music in the bar. As we sat down in that cozy dining room and
began perusing the menu, in the background I could hear the band playing an old, but classic song by the Eagles. I felt the Spirit stir deep in me as they sang… “I got a peaceful, easy feeling, and I know you won’t let me down, because I’m already standin’ on the ground.”
I knew God was speaking to me and giving me assurance that I was in the right place with the right church. And I still do.
The last excerpt from the letter in 2007, was my attempt to encourage you as we began our time together saying: “As we worship, work, pray and discern together how God is calling us to be, change will happen… I pray that we work and grow that you all have a peaceful easy feelin’ about being part of First Church’s history and future.” And I still do. I thank you for a marvelous, fun, faith-filled and blessed decade at the diamond on the hill. We have grown and supported and strengthened each other through many years of mission and ministry; Again, this a story that not all churches can tell.
So, I now close this letter (my 110th SPIRE), the same way now, as I did then. “I pray that God will bless us all individually and as a church family, for many years to come.” And I still do.
Serving with you in Christ,
[photo by Clik Maverick from Flickr]