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Pastor's Monthly Newsletter Message

August 2010

“As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion…”

~Colossians 3:12

               It’s humbling to be chosen.  When Amos first heard someone referring to him as a prophet—a person chosen to speak hard truths—he protested.  “I am no prophet!  I’m not even the son of a prophet.”  The imaginative reader can almost hear Amos’s voice getting shrill.  “I’m just a herdsman.  Well, I also tend sycamore trees.  But I’m not a prophet!” Then on second thought, Amos added, “But you know, if I were a prophet, I’d say a thing or two about the events taking place up in Jerusalem.”  And that’s when he…prophesied.  He didn’t dare think of himself as a prophet; it was too humbling.  He preferred to be called a herdsman who just happened to tend sycamore trees, and maybe just occasionally prophesied a little…on the side.  A “prophesying-herdsman-who-tends-sycamores,” but not a “prophet!

               It is humbling to be chosen.  You, the congregation of Bower Hill Community Church, have chosen me to be your pastor.  Unlike Amos, I cannot claim to be a herdsman, and if sycamores are anything like philodendrons, then I can’t tend them either.  My vocation is clear: I am called to “the care of souls.”  I am called to hear God’s people, to come to know them, to walk with them, and to love them.  I am called to point out God’s presence in the life of God’s people, and amid all the changefulness of our world, to attest to a steadfast love and faithfulness that never change.  That’s how I see the task for which you have chosen me, and it is humbling!

               But don’t forget that I have also chosen you.  I chose you for your longstanding tradition of inclusiveness, dating all the way back to a hard stand taken by one of your pastors during the days of the Civil Rights Movement.  In an age where faith is mainly about “feelings,” I chose you because you have the courage to approach faith with both your hearts and your minds.  I chose you because I sensed in you a congregation that would welcome spiritual seekers and perhaps speak meaningfully to those who distrust the “average” church.  I chose you because I sensed a connection with you from the start, and I was convinced that, in your midst, my family would have a place to call home.

               The secret is that everyone is chosen.  There are certain tasks that only you can carry out.  What tasks have you been chosen for?  Being chosen is both humbling and a little disconcerting.  It calls us to reach beyond our vision of ourselves, to strive for something greater.  Our work in the days ahead will be to help the people around us recognize the ways that God is choosing them.  But for now, I simply rejoice in God’s choice that you and I should walk together in the years ahead.  I’m excited about tomorrow, as I hope you are.                

Serving together,