Like most people at their jobs, there are days when I “can’t seem to see the forest for the trees.” The weight (and anxiety) around maintaining a nearly 100 year old building, serving a transient congregation, keeping the bills paid, and living in a world always on edge is more than a notion.
As a pastor, hardly a day passes that someone does not reach out to me: “My marriage is falling apart”; “I’m getting a divorce”; “My (child, spouse, partner, parent, sibling, friend, or I) was diagnosed with _____ or is having surgery________”; “Please pray that I find a job”; “I’m having a crisis of faith”; “We lost our baby”… not to mention seemingly endless reports of earthquakes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters as well as justice and political issues, on and on.
There are other moments, though, when I am blessed just sitting in meetings and hearing members volunteer to do things, offering sacrifices of time and finances, and motivating others to step up and do what they can. There are those who up their pledge and offer to write grants, volunteer to be in the choir, feed the homeless, revamp the website, usher, teach Sunday school, support one another, and show up for worship or Bible study yearning to be inspired and in fellowship in the healthiest of ways.
Out front, people walk by and take photos of the quotes in the sandwich board or step inside to sit and pray. They grab the prayer of the month or sermons from previous weeks. This past Monday someone showed me a handwritten note scribbled on a post-it that simply said, “Thank you for helping to keep us sober.”
This Saturday evening, we’ll celebrate our shared life and 180 years of existence during the 5th annual Homecoming Gala. That’s a long time, isn’t it? 180 years of presence and service in our community and beyond. It’s certainly worth celebrating. More than that, I hope you will take a few minutes to consider the future of PAUMC, those who will come after us, and the kind of legacy you wish to leave behind. I think that’s what it’s really all about: keeping one eye on “the trees” (the day-to-day) and the other eye on the forest (the big picture) and the future unfolding. I hope you’ll be part of both, for it is the very best witness of how much we truly love our church!
Grace and peace,