“A Slight Pause As We Enter 2018”
My first car was a used 1972 Camaro. It had a small eight cylinder engine. The engine was elementary enough that I could do some of my own repair and maintenance work. I could change the spark plugs, change the oil, adjust the timing belt, and even replace the headlight bulbs. Sometimes, when it was cold, the car had a tiny hesitation when you applied your foot to the gas pedal. Probably had something to do with the car having a carburetor instead of being fuel-injected. I can remember stopping at a light, and when the light turned green, pressing on the gas and there was just this slight pause as the engine got a new flow of gas and the RPMs raced higher and the car took off. I loved that car, but I would certainly say my car today is more dependable than my car was in 1975.
With that being said, as we enter 2018, let’s pause for just a second to look back at the year we have just finished before we race off into the year ahead of us. 2017 was a year that had a significant focus on the celebration of our 275th Anniversary. As part of our celebration, we had: lectures, concerts, receptions, articles revisiting our significant history, a significant donation to the Barrier Island Free Medical Clinic to furnish their new waiting room, and we sent off our organ console for some much needed maintenance, refurbishment, and several improvements. And all this was in addition to our regular ministries and activities. 2017 was a great year and there are a large number of people to be thanked for giving of their time, energy, and ideas to make it the wonderful year it was.
Now 2018 looms before us! What will we do that challenges us like last year did? Some are suggesting that 2018 be a year to take a deep breath and let everything settle back to normal. I get that. I agree with that. But while we are pausing, let’s look at what “normal” is for us. “Normal” includes: Bible study and growth in our Christian faith, regular worship, social ministry and outreach, the sharing of our faith, the sharing of our Christian fellowship and compassion and concern, the caring for and maintenance of this marvelous church, the issuing of invitations to others to be a part of our faith-filled family, the joy of being a part of something so historic that at the same time is also so futuristic, Christian Education opportunities, Ladies Circles, Lutheran Men’s Ministry, and a list of other things too numerous to name. The point of this is to help us remember that normal is still quite busy doing the work of Jesus and the Church each and every day.
Now, let’s give 2018 a little nudge and push on the gas pedal a bit as we get involved in all the things that are “normal” at St. John’s. Let’s accelerate the many ways we learn about the love of our God and the gift of a Savor. Let’s accelerate the many ways we invite others to come and experience God’s Holy Spirit in our midst and the reverent ways we worship the Lord our God. Let’s allow 2018 to be a year where we truly “Know Christ and Make Christ Known” in all the places where we work and live.
I pray that as we take a deep breath this year, our breath will be filled with God’s Holy Spirit, empowering us and uplifting us for the ministries of our church. Happy New Year!
Pastor Butler +