Pastor Bob's eNews for - September 10, 2021
Dear FPC family and friends,
Where were you twenty years ago tomorrow? We were living in Florida and I was driving to our monthly ministerium meeting when the sports program I was listening to was interrupted by a news break. By the time I got into the hospital, where the ministerium meeting was held, both the Trade Center buildings had been struck. At that time one of my brothers was working in the World Trade Center buildings and for the next 5 hours we were desperately trying to reach him by phone. Those five hours were hours where the worst passed through our mind.
We finally reached him and he told us that he had not gone into work that day, calling in sick, and how guilty he felt that he wasn’t there when all of this happened. I am sure if you are over the age of 25 you remember 9/11, either because your parents told you about it, or because you lived it in a very unique way. It is a day that has been seared upon all of our minds never to be erased. In our lives we have few events that have taken place which have been seared upon our minds. Some have been positive: the birth of a child, a newfound relationship with Jesus, an especially sweet victory in sports or in other competitions. Some are negative: the death of a close relative, historic natural events like the Tsunami of 2004, and the attacks on 9/11.
What each of these events do to us, both positive and negative, is that they leave their mark and impact us for the future. Again, this can be in a positive direction, or it can lead us to a place that is not healthy for us either. I can think of no other event in our history as a nation in my lifetime that has had a more negative impact on our culture than the events of 9/11. We transitioned as a nation from one that made decisions based upon what was possible to what we feared.
The potentiality of every individual, which is a part of our American Dream philosophy, is now tarnished by a more sinister potentiality being defined within the parameters of fear. How did this happen? When I lived in Russia I experienced what happens to a country when for 75 years you are taught that you cannot trust your neighbor for they could be your enemy. That continues to manifest itself in unhealthy ways in that country. The attacks of 9/11 began to instill within us a priority to ensure that terrorists were not lurking around every corner.
I think Jesus understood this when he warned his disciples that when he would be arrested they would all abandon him. This abandonment of Jesus was a result of each disciple looking out for themselves and wanting to ensure that they and their families would be safe. The disciples went from a band of happy Jesus followers to a band of unhappy and afraid navel gazers who wanted to ensure that first and foremost they and their families were safe.
We must remember the families of those who lost their lives in the attacks of 9/11. Nothing will be able to replace the void of those who were either working, or the first responders, or the innocent bystanders who lost their lives. I would also want us to remember these twenty years after this tragic event in our nation’s history those of us who remain behind whose responsibility it is to try to shift our attention away from living in fear of our neighbor to living for our neighbor. Jesus’ disciples scattered in fear. As Jesus followers in the current context in which we find ourselves our responsibility is to make our neighbor a priority, sometimes over and against our own desire to make us the center of our decision making. In Jesus we can live for something beyond ourselves and without fear, and when we do, it is liberating.
Your servant in Christ,
HAPPENING IN THE LIFE OF THE CHURCH…
Social Ministry Hub Contractor: We want to welcome Alicia Eltman who has come on board as a contracted social ministry hub coordinator. She is a recent graduate of Easter University where she received her BA in Criminal Justice and has extensive experience as a case manager in a whole variety of settings. Welcome on board Alicia!
This Sunday – Minute for Mission from Waterstreet Ministries: Join us this Sunday as we hear from Tiffanie Martin,who is our ambassador at Waterstreet, in a minute for mission.
Strasburg Bluegrass Festival: Saturday, September 18, we will be celebrating our annual Bluegrass Festival at the Strasburg Park Amphitheater at 5pm.
Worship with us in person!
If you choose to stream use these options:
Sunday School Class for all ages in person only
Youth Group at 5:30