A message from the pastor

Stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.

1 Corinthians 16:13

Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.

Mary Theresa Bojaxhiu (Mother Theresa)

Dear Friends in Christ,

Summer is arriving. Schools are commencing and adjourning. Schedules are changing. And darkness definitely does not overcome light, this season. Thank God.

Some of us are celebrating a graduation or anniversary (lots of June weddings once upon a time). Many of us are blessed to have time to rest and travel and restore. Others are working for cooling centers for the unhoused, as well as those without air conditioning. Summer is arriving.

One of the consistent themes in worship and at meetings and in Parlor conversations is that something that feels normal is returning to our parish. And this is true. And this is good. But the revelations of these last three years — from the inequity of medical resources across races during Covid, to the new climate conditions across continents, to the atrocities of war in Europe (and elsewhere) — the revelations challenge us to something more faithful than just normal. We all deserve to catch a breath, for sure. Ideally that breath involves the Holy Spirit, whose name means wind, breath, and more. Ideally we all receive some element of God’s Spirit this summer, so that we are ready for everything that comes to us this fall and beyond.

In late June I quoted an idea whose source I cannot name. When I heard the idea it was so powerful that I forgot to memorize the speaker. Perhaps it’s not a new idea to you. Because it is so simple and timeless. The idea is that it is time for churches to move from hope to bravery.

Now, hope is our food, fuel, and inspiration. Nothing wrong with hope. We all need hope. But our world needs more, too. Each of us need more. We need the courage, as Paul says, to face those racial inequities, the climate injuries, and work for ways to turn swords into plowshares. 

Our children start out by making sandwiches. Our “missionaries” raise funds to address homelessness. Our members organize to change the racial housing inequities in Newton. And much more. We’re doing ministry. And all of this takes bravery, based on faith, for without it Mother Theresa may be right: we’ll just get run over. And no one wants that.

Here is my pastor’s early summer ask: if you read my post about lay leadership at NHCC, and how it shapes our summers, think about what you can do to bring your leadership to all of our missions and all of our programs this fall. We need help welcoming strangers, educating children and teens, caring for our building, and getting out into the community to see God and serve God in our neighbors. So I ask: this summer, consider — how you can help this mission this fall? Pray about the idea. Ponder your blessings, especially the ones you can share. And if someone from church calls and asks for help, be courageous and say yes.

We need each other and we help each other to be brave, faithful, and on the right track. As we rest and restore a bit, and as God’s world and Jesus’ way call to us every season of the year.

God’s peace to you,

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