NEWS & NOTES
Walking my kids to school this past Wednesday, I felt the sticky air of summer clinging to the calendar as though it wanted just one more month. Then, on Thursday, it was fall. This is my favorite season -- cool air, normalized life rhythms, and barbecuing in a hoodie.
And for the church, people seem to remember the value of gathered worship. Tans fade and hearts rise. With travel schedules subsiding, Sundays mornings become family reunions of a sort. Connection is reestablished. Stories are shared.
The challenge amid this resurgence in communing is seeing beyond the familiar faces. Many people will walk through our painted doors for the first time this fall. And our call is to welcome them, something we've not always done well in the life of our church. It is always easier to greet old friends than it is to make new ones. But we are the people of God. And God is one who welcomes the stranger.
This year, let's commit to that way of love. Let's be hospitable, perhaps by:
arriving to church early enough to notice those people sitting alone and approach them with a friendly introduction
committing each week or maybe each month to meet someone you haven't met before
inviting newcomers into deeper connection through a community group or the Incarnation Class on Sept. 29
playing friendship matchmaker and introducing new people to those who may share an interest or similar background
These are simple things, but they can matter quite a lot to someone who has taken the brave step of visiting a church. All people need to belong. And we are the people of a God who embraces.
- Pastor Mark
If you are interested in donating meals to families with a newborn, here are the latest meal train links to participate!
THIS COMING SUNDAY:
TPD Values: The Freedom of Forgiveness
Pastor Mark Bergin
Jesus faced false charges, a phony conviction, and an unjust crucifixion. Yet, as the Roman soldiers nailed him to the cross, he thought nothing of his own salvation. His accusers and the soldiers and even one of the criminals at his side challenged him to prove his divine identity by rescuing himself. Instead, Jesus proved his divine identity by giving up himself for the salvation of others. “Father, forgive them,” he prayed and then became the very answer to his prayer. Jesus on the cross is forgiveness. He is forgiveness made flesh. He is the laying down of all rights to self-preservation and self-salvation for the sake of preserving and saving God’s relationship with us. This is who God is: one who gives up everything to know and love even those who hate him. Jesus lived and died in that divine way. His cross is an emblem for all times and all peoples that the forgiveness of God is ours. It is ours to receive and ours to give. We have been rescued from self-preservation into the cruciform freedom of love.