Friday, September 19, 2014

For Where Two or Three Are Gathered

One hundred years is a very long time: so long in fact that most of us here have only memories of those who remember the people who started this church.

When we look at the picture boards in the hallways, we are reaching back twenty, thirty, maybe forty years. In one way, that seems long ago: the photos are grainy, or Polaroids, or black and white.
There aren't very many of them either. We memorialized big events with posed and formal pictures in the not so distant past: church directories or a black and white spread in the Avalanche, not just a tap and a click on our universal and ubiquitous electronic devices. Our hair is funny in these pictures:it is big, or it exists. There are big glasses, mustaches where there are none these days, and embarrassing styles on men and women alike.
Here are group photos of groups that no longer exist and events that no longer take place. We place on our fingers gently on the photos of beloved faces, no longer part of our congregation here on earth, but smiling parts of the church of our memories and our future.

It is good to slow down and step back. We aren't the same, but why should we be? We are not called to stand pat, to bury our 'talent' in the ground for safe keeping. We ebb and flow with the passing of years, the population of our community, the talents of our members. We can get discouraged; we can be uplifted. We falter and we fail, but because we believe, we open another door.
And because we are family, we do it together.  As families do, we fuss, we disagree, we go away mad, but we also forgive and forget our differences.  We comfort, we rejoice, we lean on each other from cradle to grave, from generation to generation.  

We are celebrating our past, using our past as a vessel of thanksgiving for today's blessings and a prayer for such mercies to be granted in the future for this body of believers, this changing tapestry of people in the pews. This season begins the time of harvest. It is the perfect time to gather, give thanks, share memories, eat ( because this church does that so well!) and rejoice in a living, changing, and sustaining community of God's people.


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