Happy New Year!
It is a new year, in a new place, in a new chapter of ministry. We have celebrated advent. We have celebrated Christ’s coming to Bethlehem at Christmas. In addition, we have been settling into our new place of meeting and place of worship, and into this new relationship with First Plymouth. As we move into the season of Epiphany, we want to consider together what it all means – what does it mean for our lives and our ministry in this new year, and in this new chapter of Calvary Presbyterian Church?
Starting January 10th we will focus on stewardship for three Sundays. If you have followed the rhythms from year to year, you may notice this is not the normal season for talking about stewardship. Stewardship is normally in November, the season of harvest, of giving of our plenty as we plan for the New Year. Stewardship is often a practical season in the life of the church; encouraging and motivating your necessary giving and volunteering. And yet, stewardship also taps into another important impulse; a deeply important question: How does God’s coming into our world affect the way we live, and give, and love and serve?
This season of stewardship is a season for us, like the Magi on Epiphany, to respond to the birth of Christ with our gifts, with our love, and with our service. It is a season to rediscover how we respond to the advent of Christ in our world, in our lives, and how we live in light of the future advent of God’s kingdom, the one we pray would be on earth as it is in heaven. For if the world has been so greatly altered by Christ’s coming, by the life and the forgiveness and the redemption offered; if our lives are so affected by Christ’s love and invitation to faith and forgiveness, then what does a response to so great an event look like? How do our lives reflect the grace of God offered to us?
Furthermore, we begin a new season of ministry with new opportunities in our relationship to First Plymouth. It is an appropriate season to consider together what God would have us do with our time and our service. So in this season of Epiphany we will consider together how a life of giving reflects our understanding of the order of the world, and the one who rules and redeems it. We will consider how a life of love invites us on a journey – a journey of discovering God’s love in a deeper way, and opens us up to being changed in Christ’s image in the process. And we will consider together what it means to discover ways to serve that express our love for Christ, and deepen our love for Christ.
Give January 10th Matthew 2:1-12 Giving – Reflecting the Order of the World.
Love January 17th Luke 10: 25-37 Love that Reorders our World, and Remakes Us in the World
Serve January 24th Luke 10: 38-42 To Serve or to Sit – That is the Question
We will conclude our season of Epiphany and Stewardship with our congregational meeting on January 24th. It will be an opportunity to review and celebrate 2015, and to consider what our ministry and our commitments will look like in 2016. The meeting will follow worship. Please plan to be with us.
I look forward to this new season and what we will learn together as we respond to the birth of our Savior!
Peace, Pastor Dave