|Dear Members and Friends:|
For most, Labor Day Weekend marks the unofficial end of summer. Schools are already in session and activities aligned with the school year have begun to kick off and will be in full swing shortly. This three-day weekend provided one last opportunity for people to get away before fully turning their attention to pursuits associated with fall. As I think about all the activities in which my family and others are engaged, it certainly was a blessing to pause for a moment before jumping in with both feet.
One thing I am aware of as we move forward is that every ending allows for new beginnings. Today it all begins as our children begin multiple activities several days a week. Somehow, someway, we will be even busier than before! We, is the operative word as I volunteered to coach Katie Parks’s soccer team by answering a desperate plea from the Sanford Area Soccer League. In the past, I preferred being an assistant coach, available most of the time, however not being totally responsible for “showing up” all the time for everything.
On the surface, the main responsibilities– coaching one game and practice each week through October- are not too demanding. These are events that I would typically attend regardless of the change in title or promotion. (Yet, they will require some sacrifice as I’ll miss some of John’s activities that I truly relish.) As I prepared for the first practice, perusing resources provided by Sanford Area Soccer League (SASL), I was reminded that the responsibilities run deeper; coaching is not only about showing up and wearing a whistle around one’s neck. A coach must be really present- “enthusiastic and passionate, have the ability to demonstrate drills and skills, be keen and sensitive as well as enjoy children, know the rules, and focus on development rather than the result”. These characteristics and responsibilities are all very much in line with those required of pastors and teachers.
Thus, reviewing these “coaching responsibilities” provided a reality check of sorts. I had to consider just how well I am performing or succeeding in my vocation. This may be a case where one commitment informs another and challenges me to renewed energy and passion for and in my calling. The stress on enthusiasm, fun, and cultivating relationships is certainly something that could be invigorating for all of us if we just “show up” for one another.
There are ample opportunities to glorify God together, and to “show up” for one another and be involved at JPC this fall. I am really looking forward to hearing the choir and children and youth who will be using their musical gifts during worship. Besides Sunday worship, Wonderful Wednesday activities resume this week beginning with dinner at 5:30 p.m. followed by activities for children at 6:15 p.m., and choir practice at 6:45 p.m. A study for adults will begin in early October. Discussion will focus on Lies My Preacher Told Me: An Honest Look at the Old Testament by Duke Divinity School Professor, Brent A. Strawn. The book addresses ten common “lies” or mistruths about the Old Testament and illustrates the relevance of it for modern Christians and how enriching it can be for those pursuing lives of faith.
Surely, our faith and lives will be blessed anytime we gather together for fellowship, study, and/or worship. Let us join together soon to show forth God’s praise.