In December, we look back on the past year, look ahead to the coming year, and get to stop in the midst of it all for the celebration of Christ’s birth. So much has happened this year, especially with regard to the celebration of our 150th year as a congregation. I am very grateful to all those who contributed to the many special events we had. We are truly blessed to be able to continue this legacy of faith in our own time.
There is much going on in the world around us, and at a dizzying pace. Crises in politics, world events, and the inundation of news and information make it feel like the ground under our feet is constantly shifting. Thus it is ever more important to take age-old promises seriously; "For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed, says the Lord, who has compassion on you.” (Isaiah 54:10)
Indeed, God’s love for the earth is manifest in Jesus. To us a savior has been born, who does not wilt in the face of human decadence or the tumult of our world. Nor does he shrink from death, but willingly embraces death to defeat its power over our lives. We now live in hope, because Christ was born for us and died for us, and now lives so that we may more abundantly live for others.
May you have a blessed Advent and Christmas holiday, and a blessed start to the New Year!
A Message on November 9, 2017
Dear Redeemer Family,
this week, we have been shocked and horrified by yet another mass shooting, this time in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Coming so quickly after the mass shooting in Las Vegas in October, and the truck attack in New York a few weeks ago, we are struggling to deal with the horror of such events. It is hard to fathom why people would do such things, and equally taxing to deal with our own stress and anxiety that these events cause us. The attack in Texas last Sunday was especially unnerving for religious organizations who have worship and educational events on Sunday mornings, for that attack violated the sanctuary space of worship, a space set aside for godly devotion, praise, and learning about God’s will for the world.
In light of these events, I wanted to write to you all to let you know that the staff and lay leadership of Redeemer have been aware of the grave task of preparing for such events, and are taking steps to address our preparedness. Already this summer, I had been in contact with Church Mutual, our insurance company, to look into attending one of their seminars on preparing for an armed intruder. I plan to do so at the next available opportunity. Also, I have been in conversation with our staff about setting in place a protocol for lock downs and other emergency procedures that would apply to any event at church, including Sunday School and worship services on Sundays. Moving forward with these issues will be on the agenda of our November Church Council meeting.
Given the emotional and psychological challenges that these events present to us and our society, I encourage you to continue to pray for the victims of such violence. And, as difficult as this may be, please pray also for the perpetrators. Continue to pray for the Christian Church worldwide, that it might be a beacon of God’s reconciling love in the face of malicious violence of any kind. If you are inspired to advocacy, pray for guidance and wisdom. And above all, pray that God continue to give us grace, hope and strength to live faithfully as disciples of Jesus Christ, who died that all may live.
Yours in Christ,