Pastor Dave has office hours on Wednesday mornings, and is available Fridays by appointment. He preaches and presides one Sunday each month.
Unrest. There seems to be so much unrest in “Choices!”
During my sabbath vacation this past week I took some time to worship virtually at two different communities. One pastor’s message particularly touched me. At Resurrection Church - An Episcopal Congregation, a new church plant in Northwest Pennsylvania, the pastor used the Gospel message to talk about the choices that we have in front of us.
Recently this has been emphasized even more in our current society. We have choices that we need to make every day. These choices not only affect us, but others. We realize now more than ever how intricately connected we all are. One’s actions, one’s choices affect another.
As Christians we continually ponder the choices we make. We confess and pray about the things we have done, and the things we have left undone. As the summer season fades into this vastly different autumn season, there are many choices that members of our church are facing. The parents in our community are making choices about school, others are making choices about work, others are making choices about finances, and many of us are pondering about what choices we make in regards to how much and how frequently we leave our homes as this COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread across our world. We also have very personal choices that we are going to have to make within the next months as we approach a presidential election. In all these choices, I encourage each of us to approach them from a place of prayer, meditation, and contemplation. I also encourage us here at St. Paul’s to approach each other from a place of grace. A place of understanding, and a place of love.
Pastor Carolyn and I wish for our church to be a place of hope in your life. A place where you can attend whether that is in person or virtually and feel connected to your siblings in Christ. Realizing that we are not always like-minded, or necessarily agree on everything, our bond as siblings in Christ is stronger than our differences. Even though our choices may not always be the same or lead us down the same road in our lives, we all are united in the final destination, and that is to be united with our God and with one another in eternity.
The pastor that I talked about earlier began their sermon with a well-known Robert Frost poem written in 1916 entitled, “The Road Not Taken.” The pastor highlighted,
“The poem is about a traveler walking through a wooded area coming upon a fork in the road. The last line taken from that poem “Two roads diverge in a wood, and I took the road less traveled by. And that has made all the difference.””
And then the pastor added this reflection,
“Recently this theme of choices has been weighing heavily on my mind. Maybe because we are in an election year and choices are all around us. Choices of candidates, of ideology, policies and ideals. Choices that will impact our nation, our future and I believe in a very real way our world for years to come. But choices are not just found and experienced in an election year. As if this is the only time in our lives that we need to make a choice. As Christians, our lives are always about choices. Choices that make a difference in our lives and have an impact on our society. Each day starts with a choice- the choice to follow Christ. A choice that will require us to take paths that are less traveled. Being in a relationship with Jesus, being people that follow him and live as his disciples means that we have to make choices that are guided by our faith and the way Jesus teaches us to live. A faith that by our baptismal covenant is grounded in choices. A covenant that requires us to renounce sinful desires and the evil forces of this world. A way of living that calls us to resist evil in our daily lives, to proclaim our faith by word and example, to seek and serve Christ in all persons, to strive for justice and peace, and to respect the dignity of every human being. Being disciples of Jesus means we choose to turn to him and accept his death on the cross for our sins, we put our trust in his grace and love that was shown to us in the empty tomb and we follow and obey him by living a life that makes a difference and working with God to create a world that resembles his love and the good stuff of his kingdom. Being a disciple of Jesus is all about choices. Choosing life over death. Choosing God’s kingdom over this world. Choosing to proclaim the good news even in times of despair. Choosing to see this world through eyes of an eternal perspective not through our limited physical eyes. Choosing to see ourselves as beloved and called and not as condemned and judged. Choosing love over hate. Choosing God’s grace when the enemy wants to tell us we are nothing. Choosing to deny ourselves, to take up our cross and to follow Jesus. Yes, following Jesus is about choosing the path we will travel. Our own journey in life will take all of us to the place where the road will diverge. As followers of Christ we are called to take the road less traveled.”
This is also one of my favorite poems from our American heritage. And so, as that pastor began their message with it, I close mine. Please allow these words of Frost to speak to you and allow them to perhaps be a tool in guided prayer for you as you ponder your choices this autumn.
The Road Not Taken, by Robert Frost, American Poet
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference
Best and Blessings,
Click to see more about Pentecost
click to see more about our 150th and Pastor Dave's ordination
Taken by Pastor Carolyn during one of our recent downpours from the parsonage.
Pastor Dave preached this past Pentecost Sunday, May 31st. I hope that you caught his opening remarks on Zoom as he explained the symbolism being employed on the altar in the chapel. Pastor Dave feels that Pentecost is one of the most important days of the church year. The beginning of evangelism in the church.
The altar he explained was arranged to symbolize tongues of fire (the red candles) descending from the holy spirit (white candles and drape on cross).
This is meant to celebrate the presence of God at work in our lives wherever we find ourselves in this uncertain time.
A reminder God is always with us in our daily lives. God came that day in three forms: wind, fire and language (communication).
Designed by our own Dave Riethmiller