From the Pastor

From the Pastor

By: Reverend Larry K Richardson, Interim Co-Pastor

I just returned from about three weeks of travel and I am now convinced that I never want to leave home again. I expect I’ll get over that aversion to being “on the road” after a while, but not anytime soon. I did, however, get to travel with my granddaughters whose company I enjoyed almost all the time. (I really sound like a grumpy old man, don’t I? Which is exactly the term my wife used.)

It is truly extraordinary to see the world through the eyes of the second generation removed from mine. I find them to be less jaded than I, but that may be just a function of their youth. They simply may not have yet experienced the disillusionment that comes with age. But I, as an older, wiser (?) person and as a preacher of “Good News”, have a sacred duty to convey a sense of hope to all who will listen making it necessary for me to seek positive signs wherever and whenever I can, despite my sometimes pessimistic attitude.

Someone once asked a Baptist preacher if he saw any sign of hope for the Church, and he replied, “Yes, the inevitability of strategic funerals.” I must agree. The Church for too long has been dominated by old white men and as my generation retires and moves on to “The Church Triumphant,” new, young, dynamic, mostly female leadership will rise to march us into the latter half of the 21st century. I expect the new form of the Church to begin to take shape by 2050. This is my first sign of hope.

I am also encouraged by how decisively and swiftly our current incarnation of the Church has moved from exclusivity to inclusivity. Less than 50 years ago, women were excluded from ordained ministry and less than a decade ago, LGBT+ folks faced the same exclusion. Now both are included. My second sign of hope.

Even more exciting to me is the fact that while opening the ELCA to these formerly excluded persons, the leaders of our denomination made it very clear that those who disagreed with these decisions were welcome and their views were respected. They, too, are included. My third sign of hope.

But finally, and most importantly, I have hope for my church because through all of the upheaval and rapid change that has taken place in the past few decades, the values and principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ have been upheld and our commitment to revelation of Christ in Scripture has never wavered. I am confident that we will pass on to future generations a strong and vital Church that will continue to be the Body of Christ in the world.

 

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