Interesting Times

From the Pastor's Desk It’s certainly been an interesting month. As in “May you live in interesting times”… which is (supposedly) an old Chinese curse. I say “supposedly” because no one really knows the origin of the phrase, and we don’t really know if living in an interesting time is truly a curse or not.

We *do* know, however, that this month has had more than its share of events: our family was very involved in the musical at the high school, as well as volunteering to participate in other school activities. I even got to “host” the 2011 Miss Warden pageant, and get to know some really wonderful young people in the process. This is my one-year anniversary month: the church ordained me on May 15, 2010, and it’s been fun getting involved in the life of the community.

We also confirmed seven students in my first Confirmation class. I am so proud of the work these students did in exploring their own faith, and learning tools that will help them find their place of service in the Kingdom of God. The personal projects that each student put together to show their faith formation were very encouraging to me as well. I must confess, it’s pretty gratifying to see a new Confirmation Class photo up on the walls with current faces in it!

Easter, of course, is a highlight of the entire church calendar. It was good to be able to worship the Risen Lord with so many of you, and I was even more gratified that I recognized almost every face: I was a bit concerned that my first Easter with you would feel like my first Sunday here with a bunch of faces I didn’t know. Blessedly, that didn’t happen.

We also had a nice visit from the Ugandan Orphans Choir – their concert was inspiring, and I was really blessed by your generosity towards these kids and their organization. You really embodied what St. Paul talks about in 2 Corinthians 9:12-13: “This service [of generosity] that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else.”

We also had two funerals this month: Pam Larson, of Pamela’s Pantry, went to be with the Lord after a very short bout with cancer. I spoke at her potluck-service on the first of May… and less than a week later, I did the funeral service for Jim Rauter, Royal and Elsa’s son. These deaths were unexpected and a shock to the families involved; it was my honor to help them gather together and support one another in their time of grief. As a church family, we also experience times of grief when sudden trials make themselves known.

As Paul wrote in his first letter to the Thessalonian church, the experience of suffering can threaten to derail us, to take us off track in our spiritual journey. This is why he sent Timothy, his disciple in the faith, to help the church in their time of trial. He was to “strengthen and encourage” the believers, and that is our current privilege as well – to strengthen and encourage one another in our faith as we are being shaped to be like Christ.

As always, Keep Following Jesus – Ed

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