Pastor’s Pen August 3, 2016

“When Jesus had finished these sayings, he said to his disciples….”

         It finally bit the dust. When I opened my laptop computer this morning, the screen was white with a big question mark in the middle. This is the technology cry for “help me”. Our tech specialist checked it out and delivered the bad news. “Your hard drive has crashed and you either need to replace it or buy a new computer.”

         We all knew it was coming. The hard drive has already been rebuilt once and replaced once, and the audio jack no longer functions. I’ve worn out the letters on many of the keys, though thanks to my high school typing teacher, yes, typing, I know them by heart.

         It’s not as if I didn’t see it coming. Lately it heated up on my lap when I was working on a lengthy project, and made a pitiful little noise that told me it wasn’t feeling well. Nevertheless, I found myself patting it this morning with affection, as if thanking it for serving so well. Silly, I know, but then…

         When Jesus wanted to communicate something, it was simple. He told his disciples. Over and over in scripture, we read that Jesus taught, he said things, and he approached people in conversation. He looked them in the eye, and held out his hand. He gestured.

         Though hard to believe, our story of faith has been communicated in much this same way for most of the two thousand years and change since Jesus was born. We leapt ahead from time to time, from telling stories in the living rooms of the early church, and early letters delivered to followers of the Way of Jesus by hand, to the advent of the printing press that made it possible to read the stories and pass them on, eventually translated into most of the known languages of the world.

         In the years since my own ministry first began, the world has undergone a sea change shift in communication. I typed my thesis on an IBM Self Correcting Selectric typewriter. Pastors still showed up at the homes of parishioners regularly to call, as some still did not have private landlines and no one had cell phones. I still remember the party line calls of my grandmother. She could tell by the clicks how many of her neighbors were listening in to the “private” conversation.

         Caring for one another now has become more complicated. One consultant has encouraged us to call one another once a year to update our preferred method of communication. He understood how hard it is to get the word out about most anything. We communicate through the bulletin and the newsletter and the weekly pastor’s pen. We communicate through Facebook and Twitter, and through letters by snail mail. We make calls on land lines that many people no longer have or answer, and we text one another by cell phone. We post messages on the signboard out front. And if we really want to get news out to everyone fast, we tell five people in the church and ask them to tell everyone else. When all else fails, we can count on the vintage way.

         I don’t think Jesus cares so much how we share good news, but that we get the word out, by any means available. God is doing a new thing through First Parish Church. You’ll be receiving a letter in the mail soon from your Church Council outlining a new visioning process with your dreams and desires for the future of your church at its heart. You’ll be invited to lend your prayers and your voice to six gatherings this fall, to imagine with others in the church what legacy we will leave to future generations, and how we will be remembered for our faithfulness to the God who is ever faithful to us.

         We’ll do everything we can to get the word out, and invite you to do the same. First Parish is a Vital Vintage Church, alive in God’s Spirit, and poised to care for one another and those beyond our walls in faithful ways that will transform the world. Psst! Pass it on…

Prayer:  God of grace and God of glory, help us to listen deeply to one another, to listen deeply to you, and to share the Good News of your power at work through our lives, our world and all creation. How great are you, O God. Amen

God’s grace, mercy and peace,

Pastor Anna V. Copeland