Honoring the past, looking to the future, and trusting God is the theme for the congregation I serve, First Lutheran Church in Pasco. We have a theme this year because we are celebrating our 100th anniversary as a church. We could apply these words to our whole lives, and that is why I am writing about it.
How do we honor the past? It is by remembering stories, people and events. How did things come to be the way they are now? Who shaped our lives?
In celebrating our 100th we are looking back to the history of those who made so much effort to start a ministry and build a church – it was much harder 80 years ago when our existing church was built. It was a several step process, all made possible because of the generosity and faith that people had. The dedication and the perseverance was awesome!
I am a new pastor to this church, and so I listen as people share stories about those who meant so much, tough situations, and even some pastors that were pretty tough. Regardless, the stories are shared with gratitude and respect. We are looking at the old photos, and earlier this year we chiseled out the cornerstone to see and find out more.
Do we need to wait for a special celebration to share the stories of those who have shaped our lives and our faith? I have discovered that people listen with great interest when we share what matters to us. The time to tell our stories is now!
There are several ways in which we are looking to the future.
Every month we collect 100 items – different each month – that we give to the community. We have actually given more than 100 blankets, gloves and hats, eyeglasses (260 of them), journals and earbuds for children, cans or packages of pet food, and now cereal for the children in our community during the summer months, and soon shoes for the children.
Our future is intertwined with the people around us, our community. As people of faith our reason for existence is about serving and loving others and to respond to needs; whether it is offering English and citizenship classes or giving things. Faith in action!
As I look to the future in my own life it is about connection with others also. It is to respond to every opportunity to offer what I have that might be needed. It may just be a kind word or inviting someone to an event. (We will have a special dinner and worship service Oct. 12 and 13 to which you are invited!)
The best future we can hope for is one where we trust God with the outcome. By honoring the past with appreciation, and doing our part to live as faithfully as we can to contribute to God’s future, we can let go and trust that God will be with us, and will work through us.
I have no desire to live for 100 years; life is tougher the older we get. However, one of our parishioners will; O.D. Cooper! We are honoring him and what a grand way to celebrate life.
As we trust God with our lives, one way to look to the future is to honor our past. It helps us to face the changes and losses in our lives, and to be able to be made new.