It is hard to believe that we are just a week away from our 60th anniversary celebration. Most of the time, anniversaries (churches in particular) are about looking back: we look back on the things we did, the accomplishments and struggles that we have been through, “the way we were,” and give thanks to God for the provision and guidance given to us along the journey.
This coming Saturday, Melissa and I will be celebrating our 17th wedding anniversary, and will be doing the very same thing. It is good for us to do this, and for our church to do this. But that should not be the last thing. We should remember our past so that it can serve as a stepping stone to help us live our present and our future.
So this coming weekend, you will hear lots of good music from the past, and you will hear funny and poignant stories from our great history as a congregation. We will remember. Sure, there are things that we will unintentionally forget to mention. Any time of remembering some things are forgotten, and all the details may not be right. But we especially want to remember the parts of our past that made us who we are; the core values that have given us our identity: creative ministry in the community; transformative and vibrant worship; radical hospitality; and an emphasis on children and their families. We will point these out as the weekend takes place.
But in addition to the “oldies but goodies,” you will also hear contemporary, modern music, and you will hear plans about where we are going and what we are doing, and hopefully see the faces of our future. And as we share these ideas, these energy sources for our “covered wagon” to move forward, you will hopefully see them, not as inventions formed out of thin air, but as the progression and “updating” of the core principles and values that have been the driving force of our congregation.
So I invite you this week to pray for the anniversary, to pray for the future of the church, and pray that as we remember, we remember with the purpose of setting the foundation of the next 60 years of our church’s life together.
Blessings, and may worship be especially moving for you today.