Pastor Gayle’s Reflections
“Most important, live together in a manner worthy of Christ’s gospel. Do this, whether I come and see you or I’m absent and hear about you. Do this so that you stand firm, united in one spirit and mind as you struggle together to remain faithful to the gospel.”
Paul’s Letter to the Philippians, chapter 1, verse 27 (Common English Bible)
As I write this, September is nearly upon us. I return to my role in regular worship planning and leadership, including preaching, on Sunday, September 3, for the first time since June 11. It will be our final “summer” worship, starting at 10AM, before we return to our regular school-year schedule.
Rally Day is Sunday, September 10, with a pancake breakfast and choir rehearsal before worship begins at 11AM. People of all ages are invited to join together in intergenerational worship, which will include the return of the choir, praying and singing together, a special rite, and the sacrament of communion. The rite is the Blessing of Backpacks & Briefcases. Whether you’re a kid or a teacher going back to school, someone continuing to go to work every day, or even a retiree, bring your backpack, your briefcase, your purse, your toolbox, or whatever else you carry with you on a regular basis, and participate in this rite of blessing, as a sign that our congregation, your faith, and God go with you through all you do, even when you aren’t at church. It is a day to RALLY together for worship and fellowship! Join in greeting old friends and new friends. Show our neighborhood who we are and why we are. Show those attending the final performances of the Fringe Festival some great hospitality. Rally as God’s people, doing the best we can to support people and community by sharing our faith and having fun!
While this time of year brings us back to a “regular” schedule, it is my hope that, after our summer sabbatical, we will not simply return to “business as usual.” What have you learned, as individuals, families, and as a congregation during our summer apart? A summer of experimentation in worship? If you were able to attend worship this summer, what was your favorite type of sermon or reflection? What have you learned – about yourself, your family, the congregation? Your role in the congregation, in the neighborhood and community? What do the answers to those questions mean for your reflections on these questions, which I asked in June: What will you do to help renew the life of the church in this generation? What might it mean to live into our congregational covenant and our Open and Affirming Statement? What can we do to “walk the talk”?
As we come together for Rally Day, and all that follows, please continue to take time to intentionally reflect on who we are as a congregation, and who you are in relation to the congregation, to God, and to our neighbors. On Sunday, September 24, we will gather after worship for a time to share our reflections. I will share some of my many, many photographs, as well as learnings from my readings & scripture study, and personal reflections from during sabbatical. Perhaps this will be a new type of gathering for us, which we could repeat periodically, to check-in on how we all are doing and to discern where God might be leading us.
May we be open to God’s leading in new ways, even in the midst of “business as usual”!