This week we mourned and celebrated the passing of Janet Stewart. It sounds funny, doesn’t it—to mourn and celebrate at the same time, in the same event? And yet that is exactly what we did, for while we will miss her gracious smile and encouraging presence, we know that she is where she wanted to be, where she was ready to be. Ted has asked to share with the congregation the gratitude and love his family feels for their church family, for all you have done for them.
Living and dying by faith is something we should all strive to do. It occurs to me that we do not know specifics on how we will pass from this life any more than we know specifics about what lies ahead if we go on living here. That’s what faith is all about—in life or death, trusting in the One who will be there for us and with us, the One who has all the answers, whatever the future holds.
There are lots of questions we have in this life—some are the Why? questions; some are Why not?questions; some are just matters of interest. Some we struggle with, and sometimes allow to sidetrack us and distract us from doing God’s will in sincere, grateful, active ways. Paul dealt with that kind of question for three chapters in Romans, chapters 9-11. They are important issues—why did God choose the Jews over the Gentiles? And how do you explain the rejection of the Jews in Christian times and the later acceptance of the Jews? And who does God save now?
The crazy thing is, after wrestling out loud with these issues for three whole chapters, Paul throws up his hands and declares that only God knows the answers; that His judgments are unsearchable and his ways are beyond tracing out! (Romans 11:33-36) We will consider these three chapters and our incredible, unsearchable God over the next two Sunday mornings.
Tonight is our first night of VBS. Literally months have been put into the planning and preparation for this great and fun teaching adventure. I hope that you will pray throughout each day over this next week that God will use us and bless our efforts as we seek to share the story of Jesus with the wonderful children of our church and community. Pray that God will lead us to the families that need us in special ways, and that we will be faithful in demonstrating to them the grace and love of Christ so that they can be brought closer to the One who died for them.