A message from the pastor

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth… and I heard a loud voice from the throne say, “Behold, the dwelling of God is with humankind… (I) will wipe away every tear, and death shall be no more… Behold, I will make all things new.”

Rev. 20:1-5

Dear Friends in Christ,

There is a United Church of Christ poster from some years ago that says, “Our faith is 2000 years old. Our thinking is not.” Well, some of it is even older, for example, when the Hebrew Bible speaks of liberation and justice and shared resources. Or when Jesus does the same, and then adds the bits about loving our neighbor and enjoying our God, while he shared his vision of eternity. Maybe the better poster would be, “Our thinking is timeless, based on ancient wisdom and future hopes.” But the UCC poster is easier to quote! Even though the discussion of old and new is deep in our Christian nature, and our parish.

In our parish this Lent we’ve been using our time to honor the past and step into the future. We had a spirited Soul Food dinner near the start of Black History Month, which inspired conversation about more that we can do as a congregation regarding not only racial equity but racial equity in housing, in Newton. This may take some time (!), but it’s an eternal value. At the end of the month we re-dedicated our organ with a concert led by Yevgenia Semeina, including a choral offering led by Jan Zimmerman. As I write you’ve donated $4500 for Ukrainian refugees; thank you. This changes their future.

During March we’ll resume our lovely Nicaraguan Lunch (March 10 after worship), which changes the time to come for adult students in San Juan del Sur, our companion city. We intend to hold yet another special offering March 17: One Great Hour of Sharing is a once-a-year offering which supports a fund to be prepared for natural disasters in the USA. It’s an investment in the unknown in the time to come. Can you see a trend in how we express our faith?

Perhaps you’ve noticed this, too: Christian faith has been in the news a great deal during the last month. From the Alabama Supreme Court to the Speaker of the House in DC, a group called the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) has been influencing national conversations. In Alabama issues of timing have asked, when are we human; when are we children? In DC the Speaker has written that the earth is no older than 10,000 years, and these are just two examples of what our poster might say is out of date about the NAR. I say it’s out of date. However, this perspective gets a lot more attention and discussion than the notion that “our thinking is not stuck in the past.” Our own engagement of ancient wisdom and future vision is truly a quiet perspective and even a minority position. My own faith is not represented in Alabama nor DC leadership.

What to do? Well, it’s a long answer — a book: an article at least. But part of the answer is to share soul food together, communion together, work on local issues of equity together, send our funds to the border of Russia, our prayers to the people of Palestine and Israel, our sandwiches to Waltham, and our support to those seeking education in San Juan del Sur. Part of the answer is to take what we have, where we are, and put it to God’s use. To do this for today and for tomorrow, and even — like the offering for yet unknown disasters — to invest in items we can’t see or predict yet. Part of the answer is to keep on keeping on.

Our choices at NHCC reveal that our thinking is not stuck in the past, but our faith and our gaze are fixed on the God of Revelation who dwells with us, who wipes away tears, and who calls us to new things. So, even here in the heart of Lent, I thank you (dear reader) for keeping the faith.


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