Greetings Church Family,
Even as we settle in the summer months and church life slows down a bit, I sense this revitalized energy stirring around in anticipation of the future of our church. Our budget is better than we could have even dreamed, and our session continues to come to meetings with ideas and hopes, prepared to think about possibilities of what is next for Elk Grove Presbyterian church. I am so thankful to God!
All of this has left me pondering about the purpose of the church and more specially the purpose of our church. Why do people come to church? Why do people choose not to come to church? Regardless if one goes to church or not, I know the world, the community and individual lives are hungry and searching to find something or someone to hold to; a greater power that will help us make sense of this crazy world we live in. Mark Barnett read a devotion at our session meeting that brought great clarity to my ponderings. It was a sermon by Tom Bower, one of Mark’s dearest pastors. Below I will try to summarize with edits the seeds of understanding that arise from his sermon titled, Take Off Your Grave Clothes.
“Martha and Mary were desperately trying to find Jesus because their brother Lazarus was dying. When Jesus arrived at Bethany, Lazarus had already died and Martha greeted Jesus telling him the news of Lazarus’s death. Jesus prayed to God and demanded Lazarus come out of the tomb and Jesus told the people to unbind him. Tom Bower concluded that this unbinding might mean that we need to cast off whatever is killing us. It could be bad habits, additions, prejudices, hurts, anger, jealousies, or any of the things that keep us from being closer to Jesus. But then Tom stopped in mid-thought and admits that he had made a mistake. He hadn’t read that passage correctly. He read the passage again where Jesus commanded Lazarus to come forth. Lazarus was bound from head to toe and could not free himself. Jesus commanded the people there to take off his grave cloths, he commanded the people there to do it for him. Does this mean that we need each other? Isn’t this what church is supposed to be about? We need each other, especially to accomplish the things we cannot do by ourselves.”
We do need each other, we need each other to pray for one another, to cry together when our hearts ache, to support one another, to encourage one another and most of all to love one another regardless of our imperfections. Come and be part of our church family!
Peace and blessings,