Dearest Members of Bethlehem,
“I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.” -Psalm 32:8
A couple weeks back I was chatting with a friend from my home town. We were contemplating the areas of our hometown that were ripe for renewal. Attempting to help describe a certain geographical area I said, “Yes, of course, down there by Winky’s.”
Those folks present who grew up in Vandergrift nodded their heads knowingly. Those who were slightly newer to the scene donned expressions of confusion. “Winky’s?” Yep, “Winky’s.”
Bear in mind, I think by the early 80’s, Winky’s was slowly but surely wrapping up its run in business. There’s been a Burger King and a BBQ place in that same location through the years. Which is really nice, but that location will always be, “where “Winky’s was.”
This phenomenon is prevalent in western Pennsylvania. Folks are forever offering directions, not with street names, but with old landmarks. If you have no knowledge of those old landmarks, please don’t be upset… just embrace the moment as an opportunity to wander freely through the region and potentially learn a little history.
There’s another upside… I think this propensity to know and cling to history bodes well for the faithful. In truth, we share a history and that history is important; our shared history is a source of inspiration and blesses us with the perspective necessary to persevere faithfully.
Knowing about “manna” allows for a deeper appreciation of Holy Communion. Remembering the message of the prophets affords us the privilege of welcoming the long awaited Messiah. Understanding the magnitude of what happened in the Garden of Eden blesses us with a much greater appreciation for what happened in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Knowing where we’ve come from helps us appreciate the present and gives us valuable direction as we make our way into our tomorrows. Cherish the old stories and don’t hesitate to share them regularly, they are a treasure.
Question for reflection: What’s your favorite landmark that’s no longer around, but you trust that everyone else remembers?
This week at Bethlehem:
On Tuesday evening there will be a Vacation Bible School planning session at 7:00
On Wednesday evening we will gather for another installment of Fit Church. Meet near the Latrobe (just around the corner from the Boat House) Shelter at 6:30.
on Thursday evening the Stewardship Committee will be meeting at 7:00.
On Saturday evening we will have worship at 6:00.
On Sunday morning we will offer worship at 8:00 and 9:30.
Yours in Christ,
Gracious Lord, as our congregation plans and prepares for future ministry, bless us with the insight and inspiration we need to enliven your children and deepen their faith. We pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Friends, I would ask that you keep the family and friends of Chuck Stipetich in your thoughts and prayers in the days ahead. Chuck was a wonderful young man, and a treasured member of our congregation. He recently returned from serving in the Marine Corps and had begun his career in law enforcement with the Oakdale Police Department. Chuck entered the Church Triumphant late Sunday evening, and we are all deeply grieved by this loss. As soon as the funeral arrangements are made available we will share the details with members of our congregation. Thank you for your prayerful support and commitment to our community of faith.