November Newsletter Article
October 31, 2016, 7:43 AM

Grace and peace to y’all!

So, it seems (for the moment) that God has turned down the thermostat and brought in some cool weather for us. This type of cool weather is amazing. What I love most about the change in temperature is that it usually brings with it the change of seasons and some other welcome items that haven’t been around in a year. For me, that mostly means all the pumpkin spice foods I can handle.

The one thing that jumps out to me the most when I come to this time of year is the changing colors of the leaves. I think it’s beautiful and wonderful (and I know many, many, many agree with me on that). This year I’ve begun to think a bit on what those trees might be thinking as the leaves change and what that means.

For months, trees have been decked out in brilliant colors of green. Signs of health and well-being in the plant world as green signifies being full of life. Yet, when the seasons begin to change to autumn, those colors are replaced by yellows, reds, oranges, and browns. Usually colors that are assigned to being sick and leading to death. When the colors are done with their change, the leaves fall and what is left behind is a barren and ‘dead’ looking object. Something that once was full of life now seems like it is ready to be plucked from the ground and to be replaced.

Yet, we know that isn’t the case.

Though the trees have undergone a dramatic change, life still resides within them. As Christians, we can say that God is still present with them. Though they may appear cold and alone, God has never left their side. Still tending to them and caring for them in the ways that they need. God is preparing them still for the new thing that will soon take place.

Eventually autumn turns to winter and winter back to spring. Life bursts forth again and all of creation shouts, claps, and dances in joy. Throughout it all, they were never alone and they were never dead. Though, throughout the change they probably thought they were.

I write this small thought because Redeemer herself is approaching a change that a few have expressed concern about. For those that haven’t heard, the Inspiring Worship team moved forward with a change regarding the Christmas Eve Services this year. This year we will have a 4pm and 7pm service. We will not be having an 11pm service. The 4pm service will be directed more intentionally at families with young children while the 7pm service will be the same in its tone and structure to the usual 11pm traditional service.

This is a change from the history and tradition of Redeemer. But, I don’t think it is a change just for the sake of change. The Inspiring Worship team talked at length over this and prayed heavily upon it.

Christmas Day is on Sunday (next year Christmas Eve will be on Sunday), so from the standpoint of those leading and participating in Christmas Eve services, this was not an ‘unwelcome’ change for this year.

Attendance has also been a concern at the 11pm service as well. Perhaps, moving to a 7pm service will reach and speak to even more people that otherwise wouldn’t have come.

Most importantly, this was never decided as a permanent change. It was decided that if the team thought about trying this out – this would be the year to do that.

This change may be joyous news to some, it might bring sadness to others, and still some more might think, “Well, I was going to go at whatever time it was held.” No matter where you fall into that spectrum here’s the ultimate truth – God is present with you in that. Whether you cry out in joy or cry out in despair – God is with you. I think that is something for all of us to keep in mind as we approach any type of change in our lives.

What the Inspiring Worship team will need during this time is constructive feedback. Whether you agree or disagree with the Christmas Eve service time change, the team welcomes your input. However, there are some caveats to how that input should be brought forth.

In cordial and constructive ways. Never anonymous.

Any community of faith thrives and grows when all are participating in the life of the community. Participating in that life will at times bring disagreements. However, holding those thoughts in, speaking in ways that would not be considered kind, or leaving unsigned notes does more harm than good. Whether you agree or disagree with this change, tell the members of Inspiring Worship. All of them welcome your input.

I end this month’s message with this: As Thanksgiving approaches – I’m thankful to be a part of a community of faith that does care about the life of the community. I’m thankful to be a part of some wonderful conversations about a whole range of topics. I’m thankful that we can talk about issues – both within the church and outside it – in ways that bring us closer together and are done with respect and honor throughout.

Most importantly – I’m thankful for every one of you.

 - pm

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