September Letter from the Pastor
“Once upon a time . . .” is so often the response to the request of a small child to “tell me a story, please.” The fairy tales that often follow are rich with images that engage a child’s imagination. When we relax and listen to a story, or watch a movie we are more receptive to a new idea or a new way of thinking about a problem. Jesus knew that those who listened to his parables were likely to suspend their judging thoughts at least until the end of the story.
So Jesus told us stories. Lots of stories! Some of them are confusing, such as the one in which the dishonest manager is praised. Some of them we could understand better if we were living in first century Palestine because that is the cultural setting they reflect. We learn from the parables of Jesus when we set aside our common understandings of vineyards, slaves, and debt and open our minds to the world in which Jesus taught. This is not an easy task, but together we will explore a few of the parables of Jesus in September. I hope the ones we read together inspire you to explore others in Luke’s Gospel.
Tell me a story . . . I love the one that begins, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,” for it is the story of us and the God who has never stopped loving us. One reason we say a creed together as part of worship is because our creeds are the story of our life with God. For the last year we have been using on occasion A Statement of Faith written by the United Churches of Canada. It helps us tell the story in simple, 21st century language. I especially like the line that invites me to say, “In life, in death, in life beyond death, God is with us. We are not alone.” This is truly the fairy tale ending, “. . . and they lived happily ever after.” Thanks be to God!
In September we celebrate education and those who teach the rest of us! On September 15th we will bless back packs and those who learn. We will also bless those who teach or have taught, not just in school settings, but also in Scouting, Campfire, sports teams, and homeless shelters. Thank you parents, teachers, mentors, guides, leaders, coaches and all who tell stories of life to our young people and to us.
May we never be too old to hear God’s story of love as if it were the first time,