Pastor's Note | Monday, April 8th2
I was so sorry to miss gathering for worship this weekend, especially as we began our new series. I was unable to join you as I am currently in Springfield, Missouri, where I presented on the mission of the church in postmodern culture at a conference held at Drury University. Presenting a paper was a great deal of fun, though I truly missed being with you!
Saturday evening, as I grabbed a bite to eat after a long day of presentations and discussions, a couple next to me struck up conversation. Sitting at the local diner's counter, Jerry and Jan explained they were in town for their daughter's color guard competition, and inquired what I did. When I explained that I was a pastor, and was in town at a conference, they were curious to know more. One of the things they were most interested in was what it mean to be a Presbyterian.
Through the course of dinner, they leaned over and asked me a few differnt times, "What do Presbyterians believe about this - or that?" With each question, I tried to find words that expressed how the Presbyterian church is a big tent, that there is a wide perspective on a lot of questions. And then, as it seemed appropriate, I would try to come around to what I believe on the particular question.
It wasn't until after they had returned to their daughter's color guard competition (and I to my room at the La Quinta!) that I realized the connection between that conversation and what I missed at Good Shepherd this weekend! At all three worship gatherings, we embarked upon a new series, Rooted: In the Soil of a Vibrant, Growing Faith, in which we're seeking to (re)discover the sources of our Presbyterian heritage. This series is inspired by the "five solas" of the Reformation (sola meaning "only").
As the Reformers themselves sought to (re)discover biblical Christianity, they found these five doctrines to be indispensable: Only Scripture, only Jesus, only grace, only faith and only glory to God. In the coming weeks we'll engage these five, with an extra week (or two!?) to unpack how these central biblical doctrines can help us in our mission, as we seek to connect with God, grow in faith and serve in love.
If I'd been quicker on my feet at that diner's counter on Saturday evening, I'd have shared these doctrines with the couple sitting next to me, or pointed them to some resources on how to unpack them in our day to day lives. To be sure, we each encounter neighbors, friends, relatives and coworkers who have similar questions to Jerry and Jan: "What do you believe about _____?"
May we truly (re)discover the roots of biblical Christianity, that we would live lives of vibrant, growing faith, so that we can engage with the Jerry's and Jan's of our lives, inviting them to join us in our journey of connecting with God, growing in faith and serving in love.
Again, I'm sorry to have missed being with you this weekend, but I look forward to seeing you again soon.
Grace and Peace,