“What Does This Mean?”
This past Sunday, confirmation students, their parents, and I met to discuss our confirmation program. It’s a large class and this year is our “Lutheran Year.” St. John’s confirmation program is two years of instruction with one year spent in Bible study and one year spent studying all things Lutheran. We will begin with a study of Luther’s Small Catechism. The Catechism is always a good read and I return there often to read through Luther’s explanations on a number of key Christian topics. Of course, the Catechism was written in such a way as to make it easy to read, learn, memorize, and share.
One aspect of the Catechism that is appealing is the way Luther presents a topic to be discussed, and then begins the answer by asking, “What does this mean?” Luther continues that format throughout the Catechism, thereby making it easy to understand what he thinks we should grasp from each topic or each section of a topic. “What does this mean?” is a good way to go after finding answers and meaning to lots of topics and conversations in the world and the Church.
Let’s consider that question as it relates to our congregation and the beginning of the fall season and new activities. The following have all resumed their activities and meetings during September: Chancel Choir, Confirmation ministry, Sunday School, Ladies Circles, Ladies Sewing Society, Ladies Bible study, Bible study, Lutheran Men, Children’s Choir, handbell choir, and a number of other regularly scheduled ministries. What does this mean? As you look at the list you quickly realize that a lot is going on and a lot of activities are scheduled. You also realize lots of volunteers as well as participants are involved. It also means there are places, activities, and ministries for all of us to participate in. Give some thought to what you might want to be involved with and join us.
St. John’s is presently asking for the congregation to submit names for consideration to be nominated for our Vestry. What does this mean? Our congregation has been blessed with fantastic leaders throughout its history. These leaders come from within the membership of our congregation. We all need to look around us and identify persons who would be great leaders and turn their names in for consideration.
We have been seeking to identify and hire a Director of Christian Education, Youth, and Family Ministries. And now, with our Office Manager Cathy Catalano returning to New York, we are also seeking to hire a new Office Manager. What does this mean? Two things immediately come to mind: 1) include in your prayers our search for two individuals with the gifts, faith, and compassion to be successful – quickly; and 2) if you know someone who might be just the right person for our staff, have them contact Sheila Sines Thomasson, Robert Pickard, or me, so we can conduct an interview.
There are a lot of ministries we would like to be involved with but currently are not. What does this mean? The Church, and St. John’s, needs people willing to volunteer and people willing to participate. If we want “To Know Christ” then let us be active in this wonderful faith community that is St. John’s. If we want “To Make Christ Known” then let us take our faith and compassion out into the world and share it with others.
As we consider “What does this mean?” it seems likely that Luther is first addressing what we should know, and then what we should do. I encourage each of us to find a ministry at St. John’s that helps us learn what we should know, and then leads us in doing those things Christ calls us to do in the world.
“What does this mean?” is a great question to start our thinking as we consider God’s gift of a Savior and our response to that gift. I pray God blesses us with answers we can use and put into action. I look forward to seeing you at church and our activities this fall.
Yours in Christ,
Pastor Butler +