Anticipation

 

By Nathan Esser

One disadvantage to writing a blog post is that it throws off a person’s inner clock. It means trying to articulate certain feelings online before you (the writer) is ready for them in real life. For example, you  write about Thanksgiving well before Halloween, before autumn turns from bright yellows and oranges to somber grays and browns. Then, you write about the extravagant joy of Christmas before there’s a chance to sit with your thoughts surrounding Thanksgiving. Even today, as I write—having pushed the newsletter deadline to its limit, and still days before Christmas—I have to think and talk about a world I haven’t seen yet: the New Year, 2019. As we look back over the year, we would have to agree. Something new is always upon us.

 
While reflecting upon the passage from Isaiah and a new year, I came across the following quote by Dietrich Bonhoeffer:  “The lack of mystery in our modern life is our downfall and our poverty.”
— Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path & leave a trail. (1).jpg
 

Bonhoeffer further writes, “Living without mystery means knowing nothing of the mystery of our own life, nothing of the mystery of another person, nothing of the mystery of the world; it means passing over our own hidden qualities and those of others and the world. It means remaining on the surface, taking the world seriously only to the extent that it can be calculated and exploited, and not going beyond the world of calculation and exploitation. Living without mystery means not seeing the crucial processes of life at all and even denying them” (God is in the Manger).

 
 

These words reverberate the message shared by Isaiah 43.  In every season of life, there is a new thing that God is doing, if we will open our hearts and spirits to its unfolding. Each new day offers us an invitation to pay attention to the presence of God and mystery.  Whatever time it is in your life, whatever your age or occupation, the voice still calls out to you again, “Follow me.” Can you hear it? Or, as God declares through Isaiah, “I am about to do a new thing… Do you not perceive it?” As I think about these words and our congregation’s response, the following comes to mind:

Stop by the Giving Room, pick up an item for someone you know who is facing hardship, loss or just needs to be reminded that God cares for them, and you care too. For many people in our community, you are the Visible Face of Christ.

Stop by the Giving Room, pick up an item for someone you know who is facing hardship, loss or just needs to be reminded that God cares for them, and you care too. For many people in our community, you are the Visible Face of Christ.

Servant Leadership – The Elders and Deacons have begun exploring aspects of servant leadership at the start of their meetings.  Each person will demonstrate servant leadership in an activity or projects.

A New Director of Youth Ministries – After reviewing numerous resumes and meeting with several candidates, the Youth Director Search Team recommended Eric Fjerestad to be hired as full-time Director of Youth Ministries.  Thank you Search Team for your time, energy and prayerful discernment.  Thank you parents and ministry partners -  the many people who stepped forward to help fill gaps during the period of transition.  Thank you for your love for our youth and youth ministry!  Now, don’t stop sharing your love with our youth and youth ministry - our youth still need you!  A special thank you to Kate Hruby and Ruth Parry for your enthusiasm, leadership and commitment to our youth.

The Giving Room & Blessings Box – Adjacent to the Chapel, you will find the Giving Room. Inside are various resources for you to use and share with other people. 

Outside the main entrance into the church building, you will find the Blessing Box.  The Blessing Box contains basic supplies and non-perishable goods for anyone in our church and community.  The Blessing Box is available to help as a resource for our community and for the church to care for our neighbors. These things along with your love for Christ and your commitment to our church family remind me that God is at work in our congregation, leading us in exciting new ways.  Also, I encourage you to reflect on the words shared by Isaiah and the Bonhoeffer quote. Stop. Listen. Wonder.  

Faithfully in Christ,

Rev. Nathan Esser

Nathan is the senior pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Sioux Falls. He can be reached at nathanesser@fpcsiouxfalls.org.