The 40th anniversary is not just looking back. It is looking forward. I am told that when someone knits or crochets, they create a loop that is connected to the loop behind it. Everything is connected to the past loop and the next loop. Forty years is not just looking at our beginning. It is looking at everything that has made up the 40 years. It is looking at the entire fabric.
I have enjoyed watching all the people come into the church who are planning and setting up for the anniversary. There is, of course, all the original members but there is also people who have joined along the way who have added to the start date. But even more enjoyable is watching new people learn about our past and who are part of making the present and future.
In October, I will attend the 150th anniversary of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Atlanta where I was an intern. You can imagine the long history of that church. St. John’s and Redeemer are the mother churches of all other Lutheran Church in America (LCA) congregations in metro Atlanta. That piece of fabric is huge. St. John’s for one has several ministers in Metro Atlanta area who have been nurtured there, including our present Bishop, Bishop Gordy, who will retire at the end of the summer.
When we gather to celebrate this grand occasion we will not just be staring into the past but also imagining the future. The theme of the event is “You are the Church.” New things are always happening at our church. Each new member, class, service event, worship service, youth gathering, etc. adds to the ever changing picture of who we are.
An important question that I will be posing over the next three years is where are we and where are we going. We have an important place in this community. As the community’s needs change, our ministry will change to serve it. As our community changes, so will the make-up of who we are.
What will not change is God’s presence with us. Looking back will be fun and full of delightful stories. Looking forward will be exciting as we imagine where God is leading us. Looking to God is always mysterious but always rewarding as he is the one thread that connects us all, past and future, together. With our eye on Christ and Christ’s eyes upon us, we are well.
In His Service, Pastor Mitchell