If it’s not the kids, it’s the job. If it’s not the job, it’s our health. If it’s not our health, it’s the state of our democracy. No matter what’s going well, it seems like there’s always something else to worry about. We fret about the future because it’s out of our sight, and often out of our control.
Think of a cottonwood tree at this time of year, with the days getting shorter and the nights so cool. If the tree had a mind like ours, and saw its leaves turning yellow, drying up and starting to fall, at first one by one and then in clumps, it might well panic. It might try to hold on tighter to them. It might try to pick up the fallen leaves and paste them back on. It might weep bitterly for the loss of foliage it had spent all summer growing. After all, if the cottonwood had a mind like ours, it wouldn’t see the bigger picture that includes thousands of new leaves budding and growing in the spring.
Just so with the church. Our beloved older members die. Newly retired but active leaders move to the city. Young people go off to college. And, doggonnit, if the pastor doesn’t leave again!
But we are the Church, and we know that’s not the whole story. As followers of Christ, we trust in God, who has the greater perspective.
That’s what Paul’s talking about in 1 Corinthians 3. Paul and Apollos had a tag-team thing going. Paul founded the church at Corinth, and then moved on to spread the Gospel elsewhere. Apollos followed him at Corinth, supporting that budding community of faith. Some of the Corinthians liked Paul better. Some preferred Apollos. But those two able teachers were nothing in themselves; their purpose was only in service to what God was doing.
What is God doing here in our churches? A lot! The coming month is chock full of good things. A community-wide fundraiser for youth mental health, children leading worship, new members joining, a remodeled sanctuary, lots of great music, even baptisms at both churches! Check out all the details in this newsletter.
Children and youth programming, meaningful worship, and community outreach are some of the main ways we have channeled our time and energy together in the last three years. I’ve been proud and grateful to play cheerleader to the work God is doing here with you and among you. October 2017 is just the latest example of the spiritual growth that our churches are experiencing, and will experience.
My last Sunday will be October 29. After that, I will not be able to do weddings or funerals or visit the churches, so that you are free to bond with your next cheerleader. Come November, I will no longer be your pastor, but I will always welcome you as my friend, think of you with a smile, and give thanks for all the growth God has given us together.
Planting and watering with you,