Tomorrow is our annual Stewardship Dedication Sunday. A day to rededicate ourselves to Christ’s ministry in this time and place at First Presbyterian Church of Hollidaysburg.
Two weeks ago, on Reformation Sunday, we looked at the long history of our church. At the ways our forebears chose and chose again to keep moving forward, in spite of remarkable challenges that continued to cross their paths. Our passage that morning, about everyone’s favorite Bible School Song character, Zacchaeus, reminded us that God calls us to keep our eyes and our ears open, that we may not only overcome challenges to get to where God wants us to be, but also that we may see the forgotten neighbors in our midst. Plus be ready for a new Reformation when God’s ready, too, of course.
Last weekend, on All Saints Sunday, we looked at some of the incredible things our church is doing now. From reaching out to our neighborhood with Halloween candy to “adopting” kids for Christmas to engaging our children in Confirmation and our annual nativity to housing a community exercise class, our congregation continues to find ways to extend our ministry beyond worship on Sunday mornings. Our paired passage from the prophet Haggai reminded us that we will never find what we are looking for in the past. Instead God pushes us to seek the future God holds and to have courage. To work. To remember that God’s Spirit abides and God will bring flourishing in our midst.
Tomorrow, we look to the future. While we cannot know all that it will hold, we do know Who holds it. Just as importantly, we know that we are in this thing together, as God has always intended us to be.
It is oh-so-appropriate, then, that our passage for the morning comes from the end sections of the prophet Isaiah. When the people had returned home after exile, the prophet gave a vision of a Utopia, of a world where God defines what prosperity and flourishing are meant to look like. And oh what a dream it is.
More than a prophecy, though, it is a promise. A promise that the God who has remained with the people through all they have experienced, the God who called out the wee little man and joyfully joined him for dinner despite what people said, that same God who has been stirring up a ferment here at First Presbyterian Church of Hollidaysburg lo these many years, who has been here long before any of us were born – our God will still be with us in the days ahead. (And even long after we have all been returned to the dust.)
So come and celebrate God’s family in this place. Your family. Come make a joyful noise as we entrust all we have been given back to the God of all creation.
Blessings, Pastor Janie