Pastor’s Corner – February 2021
My Dear Ones,
The year 2020 is behind us, and we survived violence, political upheaval, and are working our way through a pandemic. None of these things kept us from celebrating God in community, and doing work for the community of Red Bud. We have grown and adapted in many ways. I couldn’t be more grateful to be a part of this congregation.
Many years ago, a Philadelphia congregation watched as three 9-year-old boys were baptized and joined the church. Not long after, because of dwindling membership, the church sold the building and disbanded.
One of those three boys was Tony Campolo, who became an author and Christian sociologist professor at Eastern College in Pennsylvania, as well as someone whom I read and quote in my sermons often. Listen to this short story as he tells it:
“Years later when I was doing research in the archives of our denominations, I decided to look up the church report for the year of my baptism. There was my name, and Dick White’s. He’s now a missionary. Bert Newman, now a professor of theology at an African seminary, was also there. Then I read that church’s report for the year of our baptism. It read: ‘It has not been a good year for our church. We have lost 27 members. Three joined, and they were only children.'”
Now, not everyone who is baptized grows up to be a Tony Campolo or a Seminary professor like Bert Newman. And while we might not go on the mission field like Dick White, we all become missionaries through the water of our baptism because, that water is the water of life. It changes everything. It cleans us up and gives us a starting over point. And it reminds us just how much we are loved. And all we’re asked to do is drink deep from the water of life.
Year B is the year of Mark. Mark starts his gospel, “The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” I like that. It tells me every Baptism is a beginning. Every Christian has a new chance to tell the story of the beginning of the Gospel.
This is also a year to start again. May 2021 give us a new opportunity, in new ways, to share God’s Word.