Atlanta, Georgia (August 16, 2016)- Recognizing that this year marks the 15th anniversary of the September 11th attacks and that this event has significantly altered the worldview of people the world over, Rock Spring Presbyterian Church, Piedmont Ave. Atlanta will commemorate the event at our 11:00am worship service on Sunday September 11th, 2016. For many the memory of the destruction and the loss of life is still jarring. At Rock Spring’s special observance: From Horror to Hope, the magnitude of the tragedy will be acknowledged, people will share some of the ways it has shaped our lives, and appeals to God will be made for healing and for the renewal of a vision for a world at peace. As a part of the worship service, Rock Spring will honor all those who serve our community as first responders in times of our greatest need. First Responders from around the metro area have been invited to participate. Rock Spring invites everyone to come to this special service. A light reception will follow the service. Rock Spring Presbyterian Church is located at 1824 Piedmont Ave, Atlanta GA 30324, directly across from Fat Mat’s Rib Shack. Nursery available for the very young. For more information about Rock Spring visit our website at www.rspc.org or call the church office 9:30-2pm at 404-875-7483.
The Way Forward
“Now the Lord said to Abram …”
A casual reading of these words does not reveal their force. They are the opening line of Genesis chapter 12. They are the momentous words that begin the saga of Abraham and Sarah.
Up to this point things have been going pretty badly among the people on earth. After Adam and Eve’s failure of trust in Eden, after Cain murders his own brother, after the catastrophic flood, after the calamity of the Tower of Babel, human beings were “scattered abroad over the face of all the earth” — divided and hostile to one another.
“Now the Lord said …” is an intentional re-statement of God’s act of creation in the first chapter: “And God said, ‘Let there be light!’ ” God persists in the divine purpose of creation: “God saw everything that God had made, and indeed, it was very good.”
“Now the Lord said to Abram …” is the forceful declaration that God is about to take a new initiative for the good of humankind. In order to do this, God calls people to be partners in the endeavor, in this case, Abram and Sarai (better known by their later-given names, Abraham and Sarah).
So what did God say to them? “Move out!” (Our English translation reads, “Go!” but it lacks the impact of the original Hebrew.) “Move out! Leave your country and your kindred and your ancestors’ home and go to the land that I will show you.”
God sends them off with nothing but a promise: “I will bless you so that you will be a blessing; in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” (Remember this? You shall be my people, and I will be your God.) Our God never gives up.
Move out! means it’s time for a change. Move out! means leave behind your former ways, your former habits, your former mindset. Move out! means “I am taking you in a new direction.”
God didn’t provide Sarah and Abraham with any specifics, only a promise that they would be “blessed to be a blessing.” Somehow they mustered up the faith to get up and go. They moved out into the uncharted future that God was preparing for them.
What if God showed up in our sanctuary on a Sunday morning and bellowed, “Move out!”? What future could God possibly have in mind for us? Where would God want to take us? What new ways of being a church would God want us to try? What new moves might God already be initiating in our lives?
I don’t have the answers to these questions. These are things we have to ask God as we seek our way forward. There is, though, one question God has for us:
Do you trust me?
Together in Christ,
Rick Neale, Pastor