On The Words of Saints
It’s my privilege to be speaking to you from this position, as your new pastor. I’m delighted to be in Manakin-Sabot, and I have appreciated the warm welcome I’ve received at Hebron Presbyterian Church. It’s my hope to serve you faithfully for a good while, as we all seek to serve our Lord, together.
I was having a conversation the other day with one of Hebron’s faithful. We were discussing, among other things, ancestry and this area’s history. The conversation called to mind my maternal grandfather, who looms large in influence in my life, even following his death some years ago, just days before his 100th birthday. My paternal grandfather died before I was born, and in hindsight I can see that my mother’s father made an extra effort with my sister and me, knowing that he was the only grandfather we had.
I’ve often wondered what it is that makes the things that certain people say to us stand out so vividly in our memories. I distinctly remember the day my grandfather said, “Connie, there are two things you need to understand about the Church; one is the importance of unity; and the other is the priesthood of the believer.” For my grandfather, these two principles existed in tension with one another, and yet were both elemental in the healthy functioning of a congregation. The “priesthood of the believer” means that each of us has both the right and the responsibility to study and interpret the Scriptures for ourselves, and to come to our own understanding of them. The principle of unity means that in the midst of practicing “priesthood of the believer,” we find a way to remain unified as we keep our shared focus on the person of Jesus Christ.
This lesson from my grandfather guides my practice of ministry. The Church is deeper, richer, more engaging, and more fruitful, when each of us takes seriously our right and our responsibility to study the Scriptures for ourselves, and to ask God’s Holy Spirit to guide us as we seek to understand them in the context of Christian community. Then we use what God is teaching us, to draw us into closer and more genuine fellowship with one another, in the name of Jesus Christ.
I expect as time goes on, you’ll hear more from me about my Grandpa Hoke. When my grandfather died just short of turning 100 years old, the family already had a party planned for his big birthday. With gratitude for his life, we had his 100th birthday party, anyway!
A few upcoming events to mention:
I hope you'll be able to attend the afternoon Service of Installation this Sunday, March 4th at 3 o'clock, for your new pastor. Rev. Clay Macaulay, a friend and Director of Alumni Development at Union Presbyterian Seminary, will be our preacher for the installation service. The clincher, of course, will be the refreshments after the installation service, in Holman Hall. My thanks in advance to all those involved in preparations for the reception!
The published menu for Wednesday Night Special on March 7th includes grilled chicken, which sounds pretty good to me! Dinner will be served at 5:45 p.m., and at 6:30 p.m., we'll clear the tables and continue our Lenten study of love, looking at the relationship between King David and Mephibosheth, and Luke's story of the woman who washed the feet of Jesus. The dice will be back, by popular demand.
On Sunday, March 25th, you'll have the opportunity to support our church's summer youth mission trip by indulging in a Pancake Brunch following the morning worship service. There will also be a Student Service Auction, in which you may bid on services such as yard work, pet-sitting, grass-cutting and more. Calendar this event now, and plan to support our youth
See you Sunday!