May 1, 2014

Thanks again to everyone who had a part in the celebration of my first twenty five years as your pastor and the dedication of “The Living Tree.” Your words were inspiring, your gifts were generous, your display of caring was stirring. I want to make sure that you know that I know that the celebration was not just about me being here for twenty five years. Rather, it was about us being together as a community for twenty five years. The title I chose for this column in April 1989 continues to take on meaning and significance, “Our Life Together.”

I also want to make sure that you know that I know what my family knows full well. It is my beloved, Karen Hopkins, who truly keeps us all on track. This is what Aaron (our eldest son) wrote to her in a card he gave to her on Sunday:

Mom,

On this day we should also acknowledge 25 years of unyielding support, wrangling kids to church on time, Hunger Walk Slogans, Coffee Hours, Children’s Plays, etc … We love you and appreciate you, now more than ever, given our new perspective on life :).

Aaron

One of the first new efforts of our next twenty five years together will be the beginning of an ongoing (and occasional, meaning not every first Sunday) sermon series on select first Sundays titled “What Communion Means To Me.” I will be asking members of our staff, as well as members of our congregation to deliver the sermon and share with us the significance they find in the observance of The Lord’s Supper. I am sure that our understanding of the meaning of this central symbol of our faith will be enriched by these reflections. The significance of Communion is both truly universal and deeply personal. Pastor Tanner will speak on this theme in May, Minister Webster in June, and Minister Okusu in July.

When the ABSW Board of Trustees gathered for their spring meetings on April 24-26 I shared this quote from Henry Knox Sherrill with them. Many said they found the words helpful and meaningful so I close this month’s column by sharing them with you. “The joyful news that He is risen does not change the contemporary world. Still before us lie work, discipline, sacrifice. But the fact of Easter gives us the spiritual power to do the work, accept the discipline, and make the sacrifice.” There are, most certainly, both joys and challenges ahead. It is good to share them in community. It is good to embrace them encouraged by the faith we share.

Peace,

Jim H.

Postscript
The action taken by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver against Los Angeles Clippers owner, Donald Sterling is well justified. While I don’t know what is in Sterling’s head or heart it seems clear that his words express the “Your existence only has meaning to the extent that it brings me income and pleasure” worldview that is at the heart of race and other destructive “isms.”

J.H.