Are you “Alive?”
As pastor of Rock Spring Presbyterian Church in Atlanta Georgia, I am wondering about you. About the deeper part of yourself beyond a great night out with friends or the kickball championship your team wins at the local park. I’m wondering about the life you feel when you wake up every morning and choose to get out of bed.
What makes you get out of bed and go to work every day? Are you driven by the need for a paycheck?
Are you pushed because you need money to enjoy the fun things that make you feel good for a few hours every day or so? Are you a young parent who had no idea a child could cost so much?
Or does your paid work give you a sense of usefulness and meaning?
What moves you toward your unpaid daily labors? What gets you up to make breakfast? Or drop off the kids for daycare? Or rake the leaves and clean the gutters? Or clean up the pile of dirty dishes, empty wine glasses, and clothes strewn around your home?
What is the point of events and activities you look forward to?
I suspect more than a few of you thought, “to have fun, it makes me happy.” Is there more to being alive than fun and games, than doing what you want to do, when you want to do it? Some of my elderly friends and more than a few of my hospice patients have challenged this. Their question, after a lifetime of “having fun,” is, “is this all there is, my whole life has come to this?”
This question focuses us on a common aspect of being human: the search for meaning. This search distinguishes the human and animal spirit. Animals live for the moment. They rest, they hunt or gather. They reproduce. They die. Humans seek inspiration, emotional enlargement, accolades, growth. They, we, seek meaning and purpose in our resting-hunting-reproductive lives.
There was a successful businessman who asked the teacher, Jesus of Nazareth, how can I live forever? He already had a fortune. He was already known to be a strictly moral man obeying the law. Jesus (also known as Christ) said, “give up your holdings and come with me.”
To be alive, even eternally alive, is to be “alive in Christ.” To be alive is to be rooted in a life that connects with people not property. To be alive is to be able to choose a way of life that is rooted in something other than what you own, or what owns you. To be alive in Christ is to look at someone and love them and join together on the journey of life.
As Rock Spring church engages it’s new vision we are just getting started toward discovering the way of eternal life. It’s a journey. But not a journey of owning, gathering, holding. It’s a journey of giving, going, and gaining.
I hope you’ll join me and the church as we strive to follow Christ, come alive in new ways, and find common ground for the common good.
Welcome to the new Rock Spring Presbyterian Church! We are
Alive in Christ, Finding Common Ground for the Common Good!
This week an article appeared in the AJC Intown Living magazine highlighting the difficult decision many churches face to sell property in order to stay financially viable. But the author missed one extremely important point about us:
The MINISTRY of Rock Spring church was, is, and will continue to be ALIVE IN CHRIST—not because of money, but because of God!
Granted, we were not yet using those words when the author visited. This is the new articulation of God’s Vision for our ministry. After several years of consultations and evaluations, retreats, and untold prayers, the Session is excited to share with you a new revelation of this vision of who God created us to be and continues to call us toward becoming.
In the highly polarized culture of this decade, Rock Spring can attest to the difficulty of being on opposite sides of an issue. Indeed, from the earliest years of its existence, our history is a fascinating tale that includes topics as timely today as they were then. Race relations, sexual misconduct, changing neighborhoods, even use (or misuse) of funds, and many other typically divisive concerns have all been part of the past which members have had to work through while walking with each other in faith. More than that, and even with the challenge of selling property, members have always worked for the greater good of the community through it all.
Rock Spring PC has provided a preschool, choral space, self-help groups and community space, community service, global mission, and excellence in theological lay education. The church has been at the forefront of women in ordained leadership, media and religion, becoming an inclusive LGBT community, and acknowledging the difficulties of our own racism, heterosexism, and xenophobia.
Sometimes these conflicts have been pushed underground only to rise up again in conflicts that force us to find common ground and pledge ourselves again to working for the common good. In other words, we have been practicing something for nearly our entire ministry that the world, especially our social and political spheres of influence, desperately need right now.
Rock Spring is here today celebrating the approach of our 148th birthday by claiming our history as a gift for the future of our community. We have experience in sticking together and working through difference. We have a story to tell. We have a mission to serve. And we are ready, willing, and, with the help of God, able to become more fully:
Alive in Christ, Finding Common Ground for the Common Good
If you have a hope for the world to find ways to get along better, Rock Spring may be for you. Come and See!
Community Blessing of the Animals service celebrated at Rock Spring Presbyterian Church
Sunday September 30th
Rock Spring church members and Piedmont Heights neighbors gathered on Sunday for a time of gratitude for our animal companions and a time of blessing for all. After hearing words of scripture and thanksgiving from Rev Bev and elder Mary Gowing, all the participants paraded inside the sanctuary for a time of individual blessing for each pet. Dog and cats came with their people companions and enjoyed pet and people treats at the end of the event, getting to know one another better.
Blessing from the service
Having received the blessing of Love's Spirit in the form of the bond between you and your pet,may you know always the blessing of Love's companionship,may you find in yourselves new depth of character and lovingkindness as you provide and even sacrifice for your pets,may you be blessed by the unconditional grace of God's love in the eyes of your pet, and may the sweet touch of heaven surprise you with every touch. May the creator fill you with all joy.