I want to thank everyone here at the First Presbyterian Church of Everett for believing in the body of Christ. Twenty-six of us have just returned from a mission trip where we continued in the difficult work of connecting our congregation with the congregation of the El Divino Pastor Presbyterian Church of Mani, Yucatan. I use the word difficult not because of the work, the heat, or the language barrier. I know that it is difficult to believe that all of us, from helping with fundraising, to praying, to being at the commissioning service, to taking an interest, from the youngest to the oldest, and just by being a member or friend here where we desire to live our faith out into our world, each one of us participated in this trip. Paul writes in 1st Corinthians (12:12-14) “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many.”
Indeed, we are one body with many functions, gifts, talents, and abilities. I want to encourage you as you share your gifts this summer. Whether with your family, at work, with a group you serve on, as a missionary, by inviting people out for coffee, with smiling and welcoming a new person here at church, while you are on vacation, or even as one who supports others by faithful service behind the scenes, thank you and know that the body of Christ and the kingdom of God is blessed by your unique gifts. Obviously, there are many things on my mind that I would like to share about the recent trip, but those ideas will continue to percolate and form and our team will continue to share over the next couple of months.
One thing that is happening this year, besides our church turning 125 years old, is this year marks the 500th year of the Reformation. The Reformation is a term used to describe the changing of the church in the 16th century.
The “official” day of the Reformation is October 31, 1517; the day Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses’ on the door at Castle Church, Wittenberg, Germany. Yes, ideas about reforming the church or changing the church’s abuses of corruption had gone on for years before Martin Luther, but when Luther challenged the Dominican’s and their practice of selling indulgences by posting his propositions (theses) at the church, it sparked a debate that eventually led to his excommunication as a monk and the beginning of new protesting churches (Protestant). While we are not Lutheran (Luther began a split that was carried on by those who followed him and then freed other theologians to branch out), Presbyterians are part of the Reformed and Protestant traditions taking a lot of our (beginning) theology from John Calvin and John Knox. We celebrate and honor Luther and his courageous stand to follow the gospel of Jesus Christ. We, even our Catholic friends, continue in the practice of looking at scripture, looking at our practices as church, looking at the world, seeking the Holy Spirit, and then as being the church “reformed and always reforming” make sure, or attempt, to be faithful to the revealing of God’s kingdom here and now.
I will be preaching on some of the themes of the Reformation this summer. Themes on Christ, grace, faith, scripture, and why all of this fuss over reforming will be part of my sermons throughout the summer and into the fall. Join us on Sunday mornings for worship, where we participate in reformation themes every week. I hope you are enjoying this wonderful summer we’ve been having and know that you are welcome as you are to be with us in worship, discipleship, and mission.
With love and peace,