A Message From Our Pastor...
Pastor Chris

May/June 2019
Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ …Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’ “‘Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’ “Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full.           -Luke 14:16-17, 21b-23

Last weekend a young woman named Rachel died following complications after a severe infection. In itself this tragedy isn’t anything new, it happens all the time, but I’m mentioning it here because her voice was one that I appreciated in the church today. It is a voice that will be taken up by others and still it will be missed. One quote that has shown up often in the many articles written following her death is this:
“This is what God's kingdom is like: a bunch of outcasts and oddballs gathered at a table, not because they are rich or worthy or good, but because they are hungry, because they said yes. And there's always room for more.”
― Rachel Held Evans (1981-2019), Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church
Yep, I appreciate that voice, a voice that reads the Bible and sees something that shows us the law and gospel for today. Rachel read the parable of the banquet and saw what the church was supposed to be and what it still is – at least some of the time. You can still see some of her evangelical roots peeking through, while also seeing the overwhelming grace that brings her back to the table.
There is something here for us – and something being said about us. Many an adult has looked at a child who didn’t want to eat their dinner and said something along the lines of “If you’re hungry, you’ll eat it.” If we are hungry, then we will be at the table. The invitation has already been issued. I’d argue that you’ve already RSVP’d ‘Yes’. The question is if your hunger will drive you to the table, no matter who else is around it, no matter if you like the hymns being sung, no matter if it’s convenient or entertaining or familiar. Are you hungry?
Thanks to the world around us we are filled with empty calories. We are starving and don’t even realize it.
At the same time, as a congregation, we need to ask ourselves if we are a table ready and willing to feed those hungry people who are coming.  Have we set the table and prepared the meal, have we made sure that the doors stand open wide enough to receive the multitudes, are there enough cooks and servers?  As disciples, we aren’t only asked to satiate our own hunger, but we are called to fill the bellies of those who come to us in need.
I am grateful for Rachel’s voice. In June, following our evening prayer service on Wednesday, our adult study group will be working through her book “Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water and Loving the Bible Again”. I hope you will consider being a voice around the table at that time.
Blessing on you and your family this summer! If you are traveling please text, email, Facebook or call me and let me know. I’d love to include you in the prayers while you are away. If you have someone graduating or getting married, if you will be participating in an event or whatever, let me know that too – for the same reason. I want to raise us all up in prayer when HCLC gathers together.

-Pastor Chris

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