Pastor's Page

If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.  Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never ends.1 Corinthians 13:1-8a NRSV     
     I can’t think of February without thinking about Valentine’s Day.  This could indicate that I am a hopeless romantic, or it could indicate that I was well trained by my mother, my three older sisters and my wife.  Whatever the reason, when the calendar turns to February, I buy chocolates.  Not just any chocolate either – it has to be Whitman’s sampler.  For those of you who are not Whitman’s fans, this is the chocolate with a road map inside so you are less likely to get surprised by the chocolate with toothpaste in it.  
     This is also the season when I remember a lesson in Love that my father tried to teach me when I was preparing to be married to my wife Shari.  I was blessed this past October to share this lesson with my nephew Todd and his bride Emma as they married at Stratford Ontario where they had both spent summers performing in the Shakespearian theatre there. 
     As I nervously prepared for my wedding 35 years ago this June, my father handed me a small piece of paper.  He had written a portion of 1 Corinthians 13 on the paper in his own tiny print.  I took the paper from him and realized that he had drawn a blank line everywhere the word LOVE had been in the text. 
_____ is patient; _____ is kind; _____ is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. _____does not insist on its own way; _____ is not irritable or resentful; _____ does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. _____ bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never ends.   
     He challenged me that morning to try to place my name in every blank, and to work on growing into a more loving person, a more loving husband.  I have offered this challenge to dozens of brides and grooms, and this Valentine’s Day, I offer this challenge to you. 
     Read these precious verses about love, insert your name, and prayerfully endeavor to live into the fullness of Godly, unconditional love.  It is a good life’s work. 
     We are working together as a congregation to get fit in our relationships.  None of us are perfect, but we have improvement and progress as our aim! Come and join us for worship this Sunday at 9:00 or 10:30A.M. - we'll save you a seat!is not noted here, and we have no way of knowing, but I can't help but notice that Matthew comes to faith very soon after the Sermon on the Mount of chapters 5,6 and 7. I can't help but wonder if Matthew was in the crowd on that hillside a couple of chapters ago. Perhaps he heard Jesus Rabbinic teaching, and found the teaching transforming and irresistible! That would make sense that days later as Jesus passes by he quickly leaves everything to follow.Take a look with me at a subtle development that usually goes unnoticed in the Gospel of Matthew. We are in chapter 9 - roughly a third of the way through Matthew's Gospel account and someone gets invited to the party! Why, it's Matthew himself!Take a look with me at a subtle development that usually goes unnoticed in the Gospel of Matthew. We are in chapter 9 - roughly a third of the way through Matthew's Gospel account and someone gets invited to the party! Why, it's Matthew himself!It makes me wonder and recreate some of the story in my imagination. I wonder what Matthew's life as a tax collector was like before this day when Jesus invites him to come and follow. Apparently Matthew was a devout Jew -- at least he carefully couches all of his Gospel account in context of the Jewish heritage.As a tax collector, he would have been outcast and hated by all of his Jewish nation, and yet he would have been rich and powerful.It is not noted here, and we have no way of knowing, but I can't help but notice that Matthew comes to faith very soon after the Sermon on the Mount of chapters 5,6 and 7. I can't help but wonder if Matthew was in the crowd on that hillside a couple of chapters ago. Perhaps he heard Jesus Rabbinic teaching, and found the teaching transforming and irresistible! That would make sense that days later as Jesus passes by he quickly leaves everything to follow.What is your salvation story? What led up to you hearing the invitation to come and follow Jesus? Perhaps today you and I will be a part of another persons call to follow our savior and friend Jesus of Nazareth!PRAYER: Lord God, thank-you for the circumstances, the sermons, the pastors and people that went into our call to follow you. Use us this day and everyday to invite others to come and follow! Amen.  In Grace and Peace, Pastor Bill