As I have said on a few occasions, one of the things I really enjoy about being back in Greencastle is how personal everything is. The evidence of the intimacy and interrelatedness continues to come: articles in the Banner about neighbors and church family, connections made, bumping into new friends at the store.
Everything is personal here. And that is what I enjoy about this place. It’s also what I enjoy about our congregation, about our church.
But, do you know what? “Personal” and “local” really aren’t all that popular in the modern world. I was reminded of that again this week as I spent forty minutes on the phone – being bounced around from person to person in AT&T’s elaborate (that’s the nice word) customer service system. We have been told and promised that big business and modern conveniences can deliver the world to us in seconds … until you actually want to talk directly with someone on the inside. Then you feel like you’ve gone in search of the Wizard of Oz.
This – to me – is all the more reason to celebrate the value and goodness of our church … and not just our church, but all our local churches. The local congregation is where we remain ever and always personal. Programs are valuable, yes. And having a clear vision is important. True. But, uppermost, we are a body, not a slogan or a tag-line.
It was great to see our personality come out again last week during the ice-cream social. It is such an absolute joy to see us as a people talking with each other – talking about swim lessons, parenting, and vacations. And the hurts and the hopes. Because this is us. This is what it means to be a congregation. This is how the Holy Spirit is alive in us.
This week we get to celebrate our communal life in definite ways. First of all, we will recognize two new members of our church family. Dottie Sawyer and Allie Peabody became members of our congregation last week by stating their faith and desire to participate in our life together before our elders. I will share more with you about these two sisters in Christ in worship, and I invite you to say hello to them after worship.
Secondly, this Sunday is also “invite a friend” Sunday, so I encourage you to think about a person or couple that you think would benefit from being a part of our community. I know how hard it is to extend an invitation. But, from the earliest days of the church, this is how God’s grace has been communicated: relationally, personally … one person going to another person and saying, “Hey, I was wondering if you would like to come with me to … uh … church.”
Also, a week from this Sunday we will go to the Indianapolis Indian’s game in the afternoon. Some of you have already expressed interest. For anyone else who would like to go, please be sure to email our church (firstname.lastname@example.org) or sign-up on Sunday morning (there will be a sign-up sheet on the table where the bulletins are located).
I look forward to seeing you Sunday. God’s peace to you until then and at all times,