More than a few people are surprised that Christ Our Hope is still here and they wonder why we are still here.
Well, one answer is...
Because we are needed
Now more than ever our culture needs models of how people of different races, nationalities, religious traditions, cultural backgrounds, orientations, and political stances can come together under one roof and feel welcome, become friends, care for and support one another, learn Christ, worship as one people, and serve others. We are needed: God needs us; our community needs us; we need each other. God needs us to be his people in this place and be a light to our community, be Christ to our community and to one another, proclaim the hope that is Christ.
To put it another way, we are still here…
Because we still have a mission
Our mission is to invite and welcome all people to the grace and mercy of God in Christ and be Christ to all. And over the years you have done just that: you have invited others, welcomed all who have come through the door, made others feel at home, been Christ to others. But if we are to remain here, we must continue to invite others to come and worship, welcome others as Christ ahs welcomed us, serve one another and the community.
And that leads to another way of answering why we are still here…
Because we do serve
Congregations that focus on surviving usually don’t survive; congregations that focus on serving not only survive but eventually thrive again. And over the years we have served one another and our community in many ways through our ministries of care and support, community agencies, feeding the hungry ministries and more. But we need to continue to serve if we are to thrive. In particular, we need to develop ministries for seniors and for children and youth, especially children and youth in the community who are at risk, and over the course of the next few months you will hear about plans for such ministries.
But there is one more way of saying why we are still here and that is …
Because we give
That’s simply the truth of it: we are still here because you have given and continue to give yourselves to God and God’s purpose for us in this place. Your faith in God and commitment to Christ, your giving your time and talent and money, your dedication and devotion, have enabled us to do our mission, serve others, and be God’s people in this place. But another truth is that we must give of ourselves even more, if we are able, so that we can continue to do our mission and serve and grow as a congregation. To give ourselves fully to God is to give the congregation a future in God.
Of course by now you’ve figured out where I’m going with this. Commitment Sunday, the day we present at the altar our pledge cards and time and talent commitment forms, is October 12, and what that day is all about is being needed, mission, serving, giving ourselves to God.
Really, you could say that what it’s all about is declaring to God and one another and our community that we want to still be here years from now.
God be with you,