From the Pastor's Desk
June - a Sign of Good Things
June is a month when Christians should
be joyful. June has the longest days and the shortest nights of the year - more light - less dark - at least in the
northern hemisphere. In the southern hemisphere, they are six months off of our schedule. [What do you think is
more symbolic - having Christmas close to the darkest day of the year (northern hemisphere) or the lightest day (southern
Summer solstice for us this year is at 6:07 a.m. on June 21. That is the day the sun is above
the horizon for the longest amount of time (northern hemisphere). You would think this would be the day with the earliest
sunrise. But God doesn’t work like we think He should. Actually our earliest sunrise comes about a week
before summer solstice. There is a faith lesson here.
Seeing the light earlier doesn’t mean you get
more of it or that is is brighter for you. Those of us who grew up in the Christian faith and were going to church every
week - those of us who had an early Son-rise - will not be rewarded in heaven any more than someone who comes to faith later
in life. Read Luke 23:32-43 and you will find a "last-minute-conversion" that saved a criminal as he was being
crucified next to Jesus. Jesus didn’t tell him he had to live in Heaven’s Basement because he came to believe
at the last minute. He was told he would be in Paradise. He was fortunate Jesus was next to him at this horrible
time because one of the risks a person takes when he/she puts off accepting Jesus as his/her savior is that death may come
too suddenly to ask for salvation.
Why put it off? Some people feel that living the good-life on earth
is exclusive of living a Christian life. Imagined rewards here on Earth might be a little difficult to judge.
It seems like some of the bad things people do bring rewards to them in the form of money or fame and make their lives better.
I am confident that living a Christian life is living a good life. Yes, we may not enjoy some of the sinful activities
that look so inviting, and we may end up with less money and fame. But, it won’t be a guilty conscience that keeps
us awake at night. There are other benefits - how many of these self-centered people will ever know the feeling of helping
someone who cannot do anything for them in return? I’m not sure that is such a good life.
May God’s light be with you.
FROM THE PASTOR
For us to know, we need
you to put your name on a "Praise God, I am Here!" slip every Sunday so we can tell …..
According to Wikipedia, "Who Are You" was written by Pete Townshend, who was a member of the
British rock band, The Who. It was a song on their 1978 album, "Who Are You." The song was one of the
band's biggest hits, reaching number 14 in the US. The idea came from a personal experience Townshend had. He
was out drinking one night, and a cop found him passed out in a doorway in SOHO. "Who are you?" was what the
cop wanted to know. Part of the lyrics of this song go, "Well, who are you? ... I really wanna know ... Tell me,
who are you? ... 'Cause I really wanna know".
"Who are you?" is not a question God ever has to
ask. God is the one who planned us, designed us, and created us. God knows our every action and thought (that
is scary). God knows when we get up in the morning and when we go to sleep at night. God also has a love for us
that never fails - even we we fail. God also has the ability to forgive us of anything we have ever done. Praise
But for us humans, our knowledge is not so great. We have a limited number of people whom we actually
know. Most of them are not friends, but are people we have met during work or play. Their lives are a mystery
to us. We may know where they work or that they have football tickets, but that is about all. We have a greater
number of people we know about from second-hand sources (friend of a friend), but have never had personal contact with.
As we get older we find that we lose contact with old friends as we go our separate ways and distance divides us. We
also discover our memories lose track of old friends.
Churches are not much different when it comes to losing
contact with old members. They may drop out of attending any church at all, or they start going to another church for
whatever reason. If they were not a personal friend, they soon fade from memory. Churches and ministers used to
be more concerned about actual membership than we are today. Personally, I don't care whether your name is on the church
books or not. It is your participation, or lack of it, that matters. One of the hardest workers we have is someone
who calls herself a "friend" instead of a "member." I would like to have a hundred more of this kind of
There are times when membership matters. But what does membership mean? Only members are
supposed to vote in meetings, which means this friend who is here at least four days a week can't vote, but an old member
who hasn't stepped inside the building for fifty years can show up and vote.
We have been discussing the future
of Arlington for several months. A Special Task Committee was formed to work with the ideas the congregation came up
with and approved at a couple of Congregation Meetings. One item of interest the committee is working on now is about
members (and friends), and keeping track of them, and keeping in contact with them. The computerized records we have
lists over 500 people. The committee members are individually looking at these lists and identifying what we know about
them. Look for more to come from this effort in the near future.
Why might this be important? Just
a couple weeks ago the church received a letter of transfer of membership for a man that none of the members of the committee
knew. It came from a church in Georgetown. Neither his name nor his family name were on either list the church
had in computerized records. Was he wrong about being a member here? Did someone at the church make a mistake?
I don't know. Does it matter?
One last concern. The committee wants to start a better system of keeping
track of our active participants. For years we have kept records of who filled out the attendance pads and sheets on
Sunday morning. The problem is - only about two-thirds of you fill out the sheet and put it in the offering plate.
IT WOULD BE VERY HELPFUL IF EVERYONE WOULD PUT THEIR NAME ON ONE OF THE "PRAISE GOD, I AM HERE!" SLIPS EVERY SUNDAY
YOU WORSHIP HERE. We can then tell if you are absent and in need of being contacted. My brain forgets who I do
not see on Sunday morning. You can be a great help with very little effort.