First Notes – November 2016

I have an assortment of odds and ends for you this month.

First, in last month’s Chapel Chimes I wrote a bit about the notion of “covenant.”  Covenant is an arrangement that involves a series of promises that we make to one or more parties involved in some kind of an agreement.  If covenant relationships are to work properly we need to become accountable to the other parties in that relationship and vice versa.  Here is the point I want to pursue:  if belonging to a church is one of those covenant relationships how are we accountable to one another?  I believe the answer to that question is that we should pursue both excellences in our own personal expressions of faith and to let the spirit of love be at work in our relationships with one another.  We should offer the best of ourselves in all that we do and to show a spirit of patience with one another.  As Colossians 3:13 puts it, “Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.”  Our own journeys of faith should be marked by love, humility, and contrition when necessary.  If we can do that sort of thing we can become accountable to one another as members of this household of faith.

Second, like a good number of you, I am looking forward to seeing this national election season draw to a close.  The level of nastiness expressed by supporters of the political candidates seems unprecedented to me.  In some cases, people have stopped speaking to one another and friendships have ended on account of these differences.  I would remind each of us that, no matter who you have supported, we will need to find a way to mend the tears in the nation fabric and become one nation again.  It’s my hope that Christian people can model out a spirit of reconciliation and that what happens on November 9th and all of the days after matters as much—if not more—than what happens on November 8th.  We should always remember not only who we are but whose we are.

Third, it is Salem’s turn to host the Community Service of Thanksgiving, which will be held on Wednesday, November 23rd at 7:00 p.m.  Combined choirs from First Congregational and Salem will provide special music and pumpkin pie and coffee will be served following worship.  I hope that all of you will be able to take advantage of the special opportunity to give thanks to God for all of the blessings in our lives.

Last, a reminder:  Advent begins as early as it can in 2016, and the First Sunday of Advent will be Sunday, November 27th.  The days will get here sooner than we realize.

Your servant in Christ,

Rev. Jim Hoppert

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