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Sep 08 2011

A Time of Anticipation

September is a time of anticipation and undertaking. Rally Day inaugurates a new Sunday School year. Students and teachers alike embrace fresh learning and opportunities to grow together. The Senior Choir, Children’s Choir, and Bell Choir begin their practices, the fruits of their dedication sure to bless God, and us, again and again. As the weather grows cooler we will honor our deep connection to brothers and sisters around the world, and celebrate the lives and history that have brought us to this place and time.

In my enthusiasm I am tempted to say, “Welcome Back!”, but this summer has taught me again that the communal life of God’s People here never stops; in fact, it has flourished in some remarkable ways these last couple months.

We engaged a journey through the narratives of Genesis, interacting with the characters and spurring numerous people in the congregation to marvel at how the stories related to their lives. Our worship services were repeatedly graced by the musical gifts of our members, giving us fresh weekly translations of the Apostle’s words: “To each is given a manifestation of the Spirit for the common good”. We had several first-time liturgists whose spirited energy brought smiles to the congregation. One of the Confirmands presented his rather amazing Confirmation Project during the Koinonia time. And throughout the season, home-grown disciples of Jesus served faithfully and humbly, “doing small things in a great way”.

Vacation Bible School gathered together an eager community of more than 60 people – children, youth, and adults – for a week-long experience of “Nazareth: Where Jesus Was a Kid”. Our TAP team took a field trip to marvel and receive inspiration from the mural arts in Philadelphia neighborhoods, and wound up being surprised and delighted by some “living scriptures” that opened to us! C.R.E.W. spent an Urban Cupboard weekend at Old First Church, making breakfast for dozens and dozens of homeless men, operating the cupboard, then joining our friend Bruce on the streets and in the parks of Center City to distribute more that 200 sandwiches and bottles of water to people living without homes. A Called to Care team of 7 traveled to Harrisburg to visit one of our cherished, lifelong members. And late in August, we formally received the gift of the Keenan estate. Whew! And all of this during a time we consider “fallow”! I’m sure there is more.

Rest has been one of the deepest blessings as well. Vacations and times of renewal are critical for each of us. The different rhythms of the summer have provided breaks in our routines, which even when productive can be relentless. Slowing down has offered us unmeasured time to listen to and receive God. Who knew that less really can be more? And we can marvel at how God, through the gift of Sabbath, continues to weave rest and renewal into weekly life as an integral part of our community, and not just in the summer.

Genesis now gives way to Exodus. Summer flows into the Fall. Our wonderful teachers are preparing even now to receive students and partners-in-learning of all ages. The new property next store greets us brimming with promise and challenge. The good news of God’s love awaits fresh expression. The voice of our Beloved beckons. And we get to be the disciples of Jesus, the family of God, together! Cause for rejoicing.

Pastor Scott's Signature

Pastor Scott’s Archived Messages