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From the Pastor's Desk


Lee.jpg 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 God!

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 friend.

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.

Thank you,


When you think about Easter Baskets, what kind of things come to your mind?  Do you remember a special basket that meant more to you than any other one because of who gave it to you, or why it was given?  What are your favorite things to find in an Easter Basket?  I guess chocolate bunnies, jelly beans, and Peeps are common basket-stuffers.

Easter falls on April 1 this year.  (No Fooling.)  One of the things that should be in your basket this year is Juicy Fruit Gum.  Why?  Well, the Wrigley company was founded on April 1, 1891.  According to Wikipedia it is the world’s largest manufacturer of gum.  Juicy Fruit has a rather unique flavor that has been described as a banana-pineapple blend with some peach flavor thrown in.  Whatever the flavor is, it is good.  Other than one of the retro-gums, Teaberry, Juicy Fruit is probably my favorite.  And Juicy Fruit is well known.  The Juicy Fruit brand is reported to be recognized by 99% of Americans.  I imagine most of those people have a favorable opinion of Juicy Fruit.  I know I do.

Wouldn’t it be world-changing if that many people recognized and had a favorable opinion about Easter and Jesus?  What differences do you think there would be if that happened?  I think crimes of all kinds would be way down.  I think hatred, meanness, and bullying would soon fade away.  If you look at anyone through eyes filled with a love inspired by Christ, you will not want to do them any harm.  Jesus has a way of changing people.

I am not about to claim that Christians are do-no-harm people.  I do know that the percentage of Christians who deliberately harm others should be far less than non-Christians.  It would be great to say that Christians are a unique kind of people that do no wrong.  But I cannot honestly say that.  You see, none of us are to the point where we are 100% followers of "The Way" that Jesus walked.  All of us are works-in-progress.  We all have times when the power of the world overpowers the power of Christ in our lives.  We are not proud of that, but all of us are guilty of it.