WORDS OF WELCOME
From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way.
So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away;
see, everything has become new!
2 Corinthians 5:16-17
Each and every day and season, we have the opportunity to have a fresh start. God, revealed to us in Christ Jesus, gives us the gift of being claimed and forgiven as God’s Beloved Child. Our identity as God’s Beloved Child insures that whatever other identities we pick up along the way will not outlast or bring us greater comfort or belonging as this identity. Other identities may come and go, yet our identity as a Beloved Child of God remains.
Siblings in Christ, today marks the beginning of a new day and season. What was before no longer remains. We are no longer New Jerusalem and Christ Lutheran. We are no longer us and them. We are no longer neighbors separated by a few miles. We are no longer congregations that worshiped and worked together for special seasons and events. We are no longer two congregations with two separate histories and paths.
We are one. We are one body. We are one congregation. We are one community of faith. We are New Jerusalem Evangelical Lutheran Church.
This one congregation will look and feel different to us all; there will be new leaders and new personalities, new traditions and new practices, new memories and new learnings. There will be new projects to undertake, and new conversations around why we do what we do.
One thing will remain the same; Jesus Christ lived, died, and was resurrected by God, so that we could see and experience the power of God’s unconditional and reconciling love, in each and every day and season.
To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul...
Make me to know your ways, O Lord;
teach me your paths.
Lead me in your truth, and teach me,
for you are the God of my salvation;
for you I wait all day long.
Psalm 25:1, 4-5
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Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
As I visited with one of our members this week, this Psalm seemed to jump off the page at me. Make me know your ways, the Psalmist writes. Lead me, teach me, God of my salvation. I’m not sure why this psalm came to my attention, but it seemed incredibly appropriate, considering the next project I see coming down pike.
Since the very beginning of our time together, I have been aware of the lack of regular Christian Education opportunities for groups other than the children in Sunday School. Also, it seems that those who are helping to lead Sunday School (by the way, THANK YOU a million times over!) are finding their tanks empty before they have made the desired impact on our young people.
From what I have seen across the wider church, we are not special or unique in this situation. We have come to a time in the church when the model of Sunday School that always worked does not work anymore. What used to work no longer meets our needs of shaping and supporting one another in our relationship with God. In these current conditions, we must ask ourselves, why do we come to church? What are we looking for? How can we continue to learn God’s ways of truth and salvation as individuals, families, and community?
Would you like to join in on the conversation around Christian Education? If so, please call or email Pastor Lauren. I look forward to hearing from you, and trust that this conversation with surely be fun and fruitful.
Peace in Christ Jesus,
Pastor Lauren Applegate