The 175 th Anniversary celebration is fast approaching. As we have talked and planned for this historic celebration we have discussed the importance of holding the past, present and future in together with one another. We celebrate the past as we look to those who have gone before us that we might glean wisdom and understanding from our mothers and fathers of faith. We live fully in the present as we seek to grow in our faith and in our desire to follow Christ. We look forward to the future because we know that it is God that holds our future.

The apostle Paul writes eloquently about hope. In Romans Chapter 5, Paul begins this way:

"Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’ s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us."

Paul is reminding us that we are not promised lives free from suffering. That instead we are promised that God will be with us and will enable us to see, even if only in hindsight, that our suffering produces perseverance ... that perseverance produces character ... character produces hope ... and hope, the hope God gives us, does not disappoint. Hope from God does not disappoint because it is infused with the power and presence of the Holy Spirit.

Several years ago I became interested in Essential Oils as a way to administer healing. Realizing that many of the medicines I was taking had become prohibitively expensive I needed a new way. I began to search and in my searching I discovered that Essential Oils work because they become infused into our bodies. It takes about 21 minutes for Essential Oils placed on the bottom of my feet to travel throughout my body. As I reflect on this, it occurs to me that the power and presence of the Holy Spirit also infuses us ... but not just our bodies, our minds and our souls giving us strength for the present and hope for the future.

I hope that you will join us for the celebration on October 15 th as we celebrate 175 years of ministry. As part of our thinking and planning, we’ ve talked about the image of a swing. Picture in your mind a child (or you) swinging. In order to gain momentum, you have to simultaneously lean back and kick forward and then you instantly pull your legs back and repeat the cycle. Several years ago I heard Leonard Sweet use this image and it continues to speak to me. This swing metaphor gives a powerful image to the importance of leaning into the past while at the same time kicking forward into the future.

Join us as we celebrate our past, present, and future in worship and with our celebration lunch after on October 15 th!

Blessings, Lea