Dear Friends in Christ,
Summer has arrived and, with it, the opportunity to relax in the sun . . . soaking up much needed vitamin D. Thank you, God, for the wonderful sun that powers our earth and even heals our body. Of course, the sun can also harm our bodies if we are not careful about how much time we spend in it and how we go about protecting it from the sun’s rays. We are blessed at St. Peter’s to have many opportunities to gather together in the sun. What a joy it has been to be with you at the Memorial Day Service in the cemetery and the outdoor worship service in the parking lot; and, what a blessing it will be to participate in the Old Fashioned Picnic for the first time! I will try to be sure not to soak up too much fun in the sun.
When the sun shines on us and on the earth, it cannot help but have an effect. It is too powerful not to. In this respect the sun is a perfect metaphor for the word of God. When it is spoken within our hearing it cannot help but have an effect; it is too powerful not to. How much has the word of God been shining on you lately? It’s one thing you can never get too much of.
For this summer and in preparation for the autumn stewardship ministries, might I encourage you to meditate on the word of God from Lamentations 3:22-33, which is printed below and frames our absolute faith in God like no other passage of Scripture outside of the passion narratives of Jesus. “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul that seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD. It is good for one to bear the yoke in youth, to sit alone in silence when the LORD has imposed it, to put one's mouth to the dust (there may yet be hope), to give one's cheek to the smiter, and be filled with insults. For the LORD will not reject forever. Although he causes grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; for he does not willingly afflict or grieve anyone.
Why this passage? It represents the first and most foundational step we all must make if we are to be true stewards of all that God has given us: pure, unbounded faith. What this passage teaches us is: Faith is not sufficient when it only praises God for deliverance. Faith that comes from God also blesses God for our afflictions, for by them we learn that faith must transcend understanding before it can be faith at all. This passage from Lamentations directs us to just such a faith, and teaches us to meditate on it. Here, in the middle of the book called Lamentations, we find the heart of lamentation: our laments FOLLOW our faith; they do not precede it. As Jesus said on the cross, “My God, my God.” Before asking why God had forsaken him he made the true confession of faith: God of mine, God over me, God in whom I trust even beyond the “what” of my current circumstance. We are allowed, yes, even encouraged by the Bible and our Christian faith to ask, “Why?” But to whom? To a living God in whose hands are all things, not just the ones that make us happy. It works something like this: “Bless you, Lord, for the pain in my back and the sorrow in my heart. These, too, are from you. Now, would you please tell me why!” When we can say the first, ask the second, and wait for the answer, then we are beginning to understand what Biblical faith is all about!
This is the kind of faith I am asking you to contemplate this summer – while you are soaking up the sun and nourishing your soul with a little relaxation now and then. Contemplate what it would be like to believe in a God who held in his hands your whole life, not just the good parts, and willingly bore the weight of your pain as if it were his own. When your heart begins to warm like your body does when you are sitting in the sun, you will understand why I am asking you to reflect on such a challenging yet empowering word from God.
Yours in Christ,
St. Peter’s Church is entering a time of transition. The board is confident that God will lead us through this process and the many important decisions that lie ahead. We are asking for prayers and support from the congregation during this process.
The Board would like to thank the following people who have offered their time, knowledge, and patience to represent our congregation and serve on our Search Committee:
Mike Hunsicker (Chairperson) Cathie Miller
Terry Miller Burdell Snyder
Jill Hoppes Charlene Miller
Jan Altenberg Nancy Knadler
We pray that the congregation will trust our leadership, and trust that God is working through us. We ask for the congregation’s strength and support to help guide us through this time of transition.
Matthew 7:7-8 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and for the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”
We unanimously decided to suspend the search committee meetings with the introduction of the idea to become a Federated church. This is very exciting to us to look into this new chapter, we all have spoken about being one as a church opposed to just Lutheran or U.C.C. This gives us the ability to accomplish that, as one of the search committee’s members spoke “Now we would truly be a Union Church”
- With that being said our identity (as a church) will change through this process, which will help the search committee to determine the direction we will move forth in the future.
- The Shared Ministry we adopted has paved the way for this next step for all of us.
- We as a search committee have had numerous discussions about us voting as one, this would alleviate that.
- Please reach out to Board Members as well as Search Committee Members with your questions and we will do our best to find you answers.