Pastor

Soon enough, you’ll be able to tell that a change is happening. We’ll be getting a break from the heat of summer. The days will begin to grow noticeably shorter. And the green, growing things that have surrounded us all summer will gradually head towards going dormant, going to sleep and, in some cases, even dying. Fall arrives this month, and though there may be some sadness at summer’s passing, fall brings with it pleasures of its own. Soon enough, we’ll be in the midst of weather that’s perfect for taking a walk after dinner or putting on a light jacket first thing in the morning. The countryside will seem to let out a breath after the frenetic growth of the summer. Even our scripture readings this fall will reflect what’s going on outside, to a degree. Although, in many ways, our fall readings do tend to be a continuation of what we shared over the summer: further stories about Jesus’ identity, stories of his ministry and broad hints about what he is really here to do. But within this cycle, you’re also going to find a growing emphasis on the cross. Jesus will tell his disciples plainly that there’s going to be a cross in the road ahead of them, and that this forms one of the central reasons why he has come. Change, and the approach of death, are even going to be a part of our Sunday gospels. But the weekend of September 11 and 12, we’re also going to encounter a quite wonderful reading from the prophet Isaiah. The text is Isaiah 50:4-9a, and it forms one of what has been called “the servant songs of Isaiah.” Since the very beginning of Christianity, Christians have read these songs with interest, finding in them the hope of the Savior. This particular reading will show us the servant who knows, no matter what kind of opposition may lie ahead, that the Lord is at his side. It’s a text that fits well with the gospel chosen for that Sunday, but it also kind of informs our theme at worship this fall: “The Lord is with us!”— a theme that will invite us to reflect together on all the ways that Christ guides us and helps us to be what we are called to be. And it will also reflect our confidence that, no matter who or what may be against us, the Lord continues at our side. I hope you will be able to find both the comfort and the challenge that lie within this theme. As we begin to move forward into this new season, may we all be sustained in the Lord in everything that we do. There’s a lot to look forward to, and I’m glad you’re along for the ride! Have a blessed September! Peace and love, Pastor Jim

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