Thoughts from the Pastor

From Your Pastor:      “Be Now Our Vision”

But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, “Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning.  No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:

‘In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy. And I will show portents in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and smoky mist.  The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day. Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’    (Acts 2:14-21)

Now as then, God ‘pours out the Spirit’ in ways we call ‘prophesy, dreams or visions.’ These may or not be from God, so the one with the vision must compare notes—is the vision they experience shared by other people? If so, what we have is what I call ‘church,’ a ‘community of experience’ with a vision for the future. What’s your vision? I find it of interest that Peter quoted Joel—the prophet who according to the commentary found in our church Bibles, ‘lived in a time of a great locust plague, which he saw as the beginning of the judgment of God.’

We too are in a plague, not of locusts but a virus that eventually will pass and allow us to gather. Once we do, what then? What questions might we answer informed by our ‘visions?’ Here are three questions from the Rev. Susan Beaumont, a consultant whose purpose helps churches ‘see’ where God leads:

1) What is our greatest asset now?

2) What relationships will we need to build on or strengthen in the months  ahead?

3) What unique role might our congregation play in local, national, and even global recovery?

I’m in process of sharing my answers to these questions that I hope will encourage our church to do likewise. We have some great assets in addition to our building, notably our staff and the Gingerbread Preschool. We have relationships to build on including the Watertown Community Schools, Community Health Foundation, Community Action Coalition, Jefferson County Social Services and the Rock River Community Clinic. Working with these and others can help us ‘see’ all the needs with the role we can play.

Each of us and all of us need a role with a vision. If we don’t or can’t see what God is ‘pouring out’, we might cease to exist or as prophets say, ‘perish.’ And that, to say the least, would be a great loss and shame. So like the hymn says,

Be now my vision, O God of my heart,

Nothing surpasses the love you impart;

You my best thought, by day or by night,

Waking or sleeping, your presence my light!  (NCH 451)

At this I must leave you to follow my vision, one I pray is from God like I pray you’ll have too. THANK YOU AGAIN for your love and support. Please support your next pastor as they offer their guidance. I won’t interfere, but of course I will pray that your visions, together, will build up this church. May your ‘community of experience’ have the insight to grow!         --Rev. Robert