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From our Pastor

Have you ever had a time when you were waiting for some special event and the anxiety of the anticipation was starting to get to you? Maybe it was your high school graduation, or your wedding day. Perhaps it was waiting for the birth of a child that seemed to be delayed day by day. I remember waiting for my graduation from Iliff School of Theology. I had put in four years of college on my way toward ordination requirements and was finally finishing up four years of graduate work and was beginning to wonder if I was ever going to get there. After eight years of school, I was ready to be ‘FREE’!!!!

Now as I look back on that particular time, those eight years really don’t seem like they were all that long or tedious. Put them together with the thirty-three years of ministry, they sort of pale in comparison. At the time though they were the focus of my time and life and loomed over me. There were times of joy and excitement as well as difficulty and frustration of course. However, life has continued to be that way even after those days were long behind me. AND I must confess that they still have a lot to do with how I understand ministry and the power of a God that never leaves us in the darkness, even in the worst of times.

On February 14th we will begin working on in-person worship again. It has been eleven months since we were able to gather and worship as a congregation and I am so looking forward to it. It has been a long year and I think we may have come to appreciate the opportunity of worshipping together all the more because of it. Even though there will be some restrictions that will damper the celebration, we will still rejoice in the opening of worship—however slowly it goes to full participation. Like waiting for a graduation day, or wedding, or a birth, I am filled with anticipatory anxiety for the day to finally arrive. Not anxiety like we normally think of it, but rather an impatience filled with a deep desire that it will be all that I hope for it to be. One thing is certain, it will be wonderful to be a congregation worshipping together in one place again. Even though we will continue to live stream the service on Facebook Live and record it for the radio station, I will rejoice in having a congregation to worship with as we lift our voices in praise.

The joy we have over this step up is not unlike that of the people of Israel who were marching to the Temple to worship together. Many of these people would have traveled for days, if not weeks, to get to Jerusalem to worship. They would have traveled in caravans of worshippers who most likely were singing songs of praise along the way to the Temple. The joy they must have had when they came up over the hill and caught their first sight of the Temple across the valley and most likely continued their songs as they marched to it in joy. The wonder in their souls as they entered the gates and walked into the mystery and grandeur of the Temple surely raised their spirits and hopes. Together they would offer their sacrifices and prayers, since it may well have been a high holy day such as Passover, they had made such a trek for, they would have prepared for festivals in the shadow of the Temple. And somehow, in some way, they would experience the presence of God’s glory renewed in the participation.

This is what I am praying for as we come together again as a congregation to praise God and share in our worship to the one who has carried and will continue to carry us through another storm of life.
 
In Christ’s love,
 
Pastor Paul




 
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