“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16
Following our celebration of Heritage Sunday, I found myself thinking about our church family and the many members of our church who have graciously offered their gifts to build our church. My mind drifted back to my earliest Sunday school memories of putting my hands together and reciting, “Here is the church, here is the steeple. Open the doors and see all the people.” Our church is the people who have helped build this heritage of faith. I’m sure that each of us can bring to mind individuals who have made a special difference to our church and to us.
I remember the with clarity, the warm nature of a particular member who made it her mission to reach out to visitors, making sure they felt welcomed each and every Sunday. I’m certain that she was responsible for drawing in many people with her gifts of hospitality and thoughtfulness. I remember her fondly and try to think of how to emulate her kindness.
I am inspired by another longtime member who remained faithful, both in her attendance and her active help within the church even as she became a centenarian. This motivates me to remember that no matter how young or old we are, we always have something to offer.
The Presbyterian Women (PW) have been led by a faithful group of women devoted to Bible study and mission. I recall certain ladies who provided direction in the kitchen, creating church memories that involved a delicious meal. Many church women have lovingly provided support to grieving families with a meal following a funeral.
What would our worship be like without music? I am thankful as I remember the ministry of music over many years. The music directors, choirs, praise teams, bell choir, and soloists have done so much to enhance our worship with their gifts. Recently, the team of people who have worked to broadcast our service have enabled people who are unable to attend in person to be a part of the church from home; what a sweet gift that has been.
Members serving on Session, Deacons, Trustees and many other important church committees have provided steady leadership over many years steering the direction of our First Church. Christian Education leaders/teachers, youth leaders, and various ministries such as Alpha and Luke 10 have served to make disciples. We’ve had members who have forged important partnerships with community organizations. The introduction of the Health Clinic has provided an important service to members of our community.
The prayer warriors of our church, whether praying individually or as a group, have provided sweet support. Youth and adults who have participated in mission trips have worked to offer their help to those in need.
Our church office staff and custodial and security staff has worked tirelessly in the background to keep our church operating smoothly.
And, of course, each minister has brought his/her own unique gifts that impacted us with inspiring sermons, thoughtful classes, pastoral care and administrative leadership.
In reflection, it really does take a village to make our church work. There have been so many important people who have shaped and continue to shape our church. I am thankful for the ways they have impacted my life. Their examples inspire me to seek to offer whatever gifts I have to the best of my ability.
Prayer: Lord, we gratefully remember the heritage of First Church, the people who have offered their God-given gifts to build your church. Help us to seek to learn what gifts we have and how to develop them so that we may use them to glorify You for as long as we live. Amen.