Pastor Randy's September Reflection
September 2, 2020, 5:53 PM

September is usually our kick off month for starting a new church year. We often have some kind of picnic the Sunday after Labor Day. It is usually when the choir starts gracing our worship services with their melodic voices. It is also when Sunday School curriculum begins, and we move into the 2020-2021 year with high expectations.

I have attended school for so many years that I have come to consider September the beginning of the new year. It is the time I associate with purchasing new school clothes, although this year, for many students, that may mean a new set of pajamas. This year, instead of new pencils and paper, it could mean new software to learn or new platforms to master.

This year I decided I needed to celebrate the “New Year.” I needed to recapture the excitement of a new perspective and new expectations for an unprecedented year, a different “unprecedented” than we have been experiencing the past six months.

So, I decided I would get new shoes, both new church shoes and new everyday shoes. I usually wear shoes out before I even consider replacing them and this was no exception it is just that I bought two pair and not just one. I also decided I would get a new satchel for my books and computer. Finally, I decided I needed a new pet. Stop by sometime and say “Hi” to “Dart”, my new half moon female betta. These are the three ways I am celebrating the beginning of a new era this year.

As I considered how to kick off the year for church, I decided to follow the lead of Moses. I turned to Deuteronomy, the book of the Torah in which Moses rehearses the history of the wilderness experience, just before the Israelites enter the promised land. This is when we find Moses reminding the Israelites of who they are and what they are about.

In the first few chapters of this book we find the ten commandments are recounted as well as the Shema, the Hebrew confession of who God is, and what God asks of his people. Deuteronomy 10:12a, “And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you . . .?”

What did God want from the Israelites then. and what does God want from us now?

Moses answers his own question in the second part of this verse, 12b: “fear the LORD your God, (to) walk in obedience to him, (to) love him, (to) serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and (to) observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?”

Moses goes on to say in verses 14-18 (in the Message translation), “Look around you: Everything you see is Gods—the heavens above and beyond, the Earth, and everything on it. But it was your ancestors who God fell in love with; he picked their children—thats you!—out of all the other peoples. Thats where we are right now. So cut away the thick calluses from your heart and stop being so willfully hardheaded. God, your God, is the God of all gods, hes the Master of all masters, a God immense and powerful and awesome. He doesnt play

favorites, takes no bribes, makes sure orphans and widows are treated fairly, takes loving care of foreigners by seeing that they get food and clothing.”

This is our call for 2020-2021. We are to acknowledge that we are picked by God to be his children. We are to soften our hearts and use our intellect to serve those in need. Just as God does not exclude anyone in need, so neither should we. Who in our midst needs a

listening ear, a kind word, basic needs taken care of, and yes, even justice?

Are we willing to suspend our biases to ask who in our community truly needs our help? Are we willing to share what privileges and resources we have with those who have been

stifled or oppressed because they don’t fit the “acceptable” category in our minds?

I think we are on the verge of a change, a change which may seem a bit uncomfortable, but a change which has been a long time coming.

Let us remember that those who have been given much will be asked to give much. See Luke 12:48b, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”

Let us embrace the opportunities we have to serve those in need around us, for this is how we obey, love, and serve our God, the most Holy and Glorious one. This is how we can best begin the new year. I’m ready, are you?

Blessings,

Pastor Randy

 

Contents © 2020 John Knox Presbyterian Church • Church Website Builder by mychurchwebsite.netPrivacy Policy