The Pastor's Pen, January 2018
Guard the Good Treasure
My time with you as Interim/Transition Pastor began in the middle of June. It has been a busy six months, now going on seven, since then. Much has happened. Smith Church is not the same as it was six months ago. We have had a major office transition. There have been deaths. And a much-needed Transition Committee has been put in place to spark the discussion about who we are, where we have been, and where we might be going.
This initial phase of the Interim period has been a time for listening and for assessment. Assessing the past means recognizing the strengths of this church and building upon them. It also means identifying whatever darkness there may be that hinders our functioning, naming the demons and casting them out as Jesus so often did with the unwell.
The strengths and blessings of this church are many. They are both spiritual, relational, and programmatic - evidenced by the constant activity in the building and the engagement of members and friends in worship, leadership, committee activity, and community offerings for both adults and youth. All of these good things are building blocks for the future.
I give my special thanks to Betsy Kovacs, our new office secretary/Administrative Assistant, the Deacons, the choir and lay readers at worship, the Church Council, the Deborahs, the Trustees, and all the other Committee members, officers, chairpersons, and participants who make up the treasure of this church.
And I give thanks for each and every one of you who is a faithful participant in worship each week. Worship is what the Church does. It is unique. And this is of a different order of things from every other activity or engagement we have in this mortal life. Guard it, and regard it, well.
In Matthew’s Gospel, after Jesus has instructed his disciples about why and how he uses parables to teach, he leaves them with this short, cryptic, and full of promise comment (Matthew 13:52):
Every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old…
The mission of the Church is to train disciples, and to worship the Lord who summons us. Everyone who is attached to this church is “a scribe in training” as Jesus describes those who follow him. I pray that each of you will continue to master the skills and spiritual treasure our Lord provides.
Most of all, I give thanks to God for my time with you on this transition journey.
- Pastor Duke