A Message From Our Pastor...
Pastor Chris

November/December 2018

Peter said to them, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins
may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you, for your children,
and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him." - Acts 2:38-39

In a recent sermon my friend and fellow pastor, Rev. Chris Halverson said:

    In the face of human violence
    Do not be afraid, for the Lord says:
    “Be still, and know that I am God.”

It’s incomprehensible this week there were attempted assassinations of two former presidents, a former secretary of state and a former vice president, and three members of congress (including two who may run for president) — along with some activists and national security officials. We were a hairs breath away from 2018 becoming 1968 — the assassination of modern day MLKs and RFKs close at hand.

If that wasn’t enough, on Wednesday there was the man in Kentucky who tried to do a repeat of the shooting at Emmanuel AME — but when he couldn’t get into the church, he settled on shooting two grandparents to death in a supermarket, because they were black.  And if that still wasn’t enough, yesterday, out in Pittsburgh, a man attacked Tree of Life synagogue and killed 11 worshipers…

    In a world going nowhere fast
    Do not be afraid, for the Lord says:
    “Be still, and know that I am God.”

Can you believe it was just over a year ago that a man tried to gun down the entire Republican Congressional Baseball Team — it was the biggest attempted political assassination in the history of the country (until this week) — yet it probably took you a second to remember what I was even talking about — these days, a year ago is so very long ago…

Into this world the Christian church now turns to celebrate the birth of a baby – the Christ child. Every year we celebrate this birth for innumerable reasons, but this year I am reminded that because of Christ’s coming we have been changed. Changed into a part of the kingdom of God, the only kind of kingdom that can stand against the violence, and be the people we are meant to be, baptized children of God in the world: We are a people who learn to trust God, proclaim Christ through word and deed, care for others and the world God made, and work for justice and peace.  The same promises made at every baptism.

When we celebrate the coming of the Christ child we tend to focus on the cute little baby, but the Christ child grew to experience the breadth and depth of human experience. In a world that knew violence, oppression, intolerance, and cruelty better than most of us ever will, Christ came to usher in a new kind of kingdom. All of the pain, joy, suffering, loss and happiness that make humanity what it is are important to the God who created us, loves us and sent Jesus to us.

No matter what the future brings we will take heart in the promises of baptism made to us: That through water and the Holy Spirit God gives God’s children new birth, cleanses them from sin, and raises them to eternal life.

-Pastor Chris

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