Pastor’s ponderings

It’s hard to believe, but summer is already coming to an end.  Perhaps not the heat and humidity we associate with summerlike weather, but the various activities we associate with this timeframe.  Children are already returning to school.  Vacations are coming to an end.  Pools will soon be closing.  All the things that we associate with summer fun are coming to a close.

            This also includes our summer sermon series.  For the past eight weeks we have revisited the stories many of us heard in our childhood, stories like: Noah and the ark, Daniel and the lions, David and Goliath, and Jonah and the whale.  In so doing, we have learned a lot, a lot more than perhaps we previously recalled in these accounts. 

            Interestingly enough, I have had several people tell me that they are sad to see it come to an end.  Their reasons are varied.  Some enjoy the deeper look at these biblical accounts.  Some celebrated as we worshiped through the children’s songs that we sang.  Some simply felt a sense of great comfort as they recalled when and where they were when they first heard the passages.  For them it was a return to better days, easier days, days with loved ones that they truly enjoyed.

            In reality, that was part of the point of this series, to get us to remember what it was like to encounter the Bible as a child, and the joy that it can bring.  In these days of “adulting” we can often forget the wonder associated with our faith; we forget what it means to set aside our presumptions and hearts that have been hardened by the world in which we live.  I suppose that is why Jesus told the disciples, “I’m telling you, once and for all, that unless you return to square one and start over like children, you’re not even going to get a look at the kingdom, let alone get in” (Matthew 18:3, MSG).

            It really is time for Christians everywhere to start over again, to return to our faith through the eyes of children.  It is time for a renewal of what we believe and what we do because of that belief.  Every single one of the children’s stories that we discussed during these past two months were not about religion, about doing church, but about relationship, being the church.  They were about our relationship with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, who enable us to do so many things that the world says is impossible.  Yes, we can love our neighbor.  Yes, we can stand tall in the face of adversity.  Yes, we can!  (Perhaps Bob the Builder had it right all along.)

            So, as we begin this change of seasons, and transition from childhood to lessons perhaps a bit more mature, let us approach them also with childlike hearts, for we are still children of God.  Ponder in your heart, how can I return to the sense of childlike wonder in my faith?  How can I be in relationship with The One who has promised to care for me no matter what the circumstances?  How can “I do all things through him who strengthens me” (Phil 4:13, NRSV)?

Always pondering,                                

Pastor Steve

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