Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Adventures from "The Quincy Quill" - September 2017

Where has this summer gone?  Even being still young-ish and now officially entering my late 30’s, I feel that time seems get faster and faster the older we get.  I remember back in my younger days how the last day of school would come around in June and looked forward to having the whole summer to relax, unwind from a busy school year, and play.  But as it always happened, the end of August came very quickly and before we knew it, another school year was once again upon us.  When this article is published, all of our schools here in Quincy and Plumas County will be back in session and we lift all of you who are back in school up in prayer, both students, teachers, and administrators. 

I have to be honest that the Fall has actually caught me off guard, as time does march on very quickly.  It feels like we started our summer programming a little early in May and just when I thought summer would be slower, it wasn’t.  Yet amidst how busy this summer has been for myself and many of us in the church, I hope that you have had a chance to play, rest, and renew.  I have been able to hike, fish, get out to the county fair, and made a trip or two out of the area.  In fact, as I write this month’s installment of “Adventures,” I’m preparing to leave for a weekend trip to Pennsylvania and Maryland for a good friend’s wedding and will be taking a vacation/study leave as I hope to get caught up and ready for the Fall. 

Of course, this summer has been quite eventful for us here in Quincy with the Minerva Fire that started on July 29.  It was a scary time for all of us in town and hearing stories from a number of longtime residents, heard that this fire was the first time that a fire has gotten this close to town.  However, our fire crews in town, from around the county, and state sprang into action and we cannot thank them enough!!  It was God showing up at the right time and working through the fire crews.  In fact, one of the late Rev. Fred Rogers sayings is to “look to the helpers,” as God showed up big time through our helpers on the ground and in the air. 

I want to thank all of you for the many ways you helped out in showing radical hospitality to the fire crews through town and in the church.  We made a quick decision to open our church office as a rest stop and provided snacks and drinks for the fire crews in the neighborhood and the crews that came in to rest, use the restroom, enjoy some cooler air, and snacks expressed their thanks to us.  One firefighter from Benicia I talked with was amazed at how this entire town has shown great hospitality to all of the crews, and we could see it in our local businesses and the interfaith community.  The radical hospitality our town showed these fire crews even caught the attention of The Los Angeles Times in an article that highlighted our town’s outreach and thanks to the crews who kept us safe.  That was God at work and our entire community being the hands and feet of Christ in the greater world!! 

Finally, I would like to take a few moments to clarify something in my sermon from August 13, as I made an exegetical error and I want to take responsibility for my mistake because I believe in being a transparent leader.  While I try to do a very thorough exegesis (interpretation/close reading/consulting scholarship/wrestling with) of a text, which was Matthew 14: 22-33 that Sunday, one of the Bible commentaries I regularly consult in my exegetical work talked about leaving Jesus on the beach and in history.   I received a little feedback and want to say thank you for bringing that to my attention and humbly apologize and ask your forgiveness that a few of you were a little miffed for the lack of clarification.  What I should have clarified and unpacked is that Jesus was not necessarily left behind, but lives within each of us through the Holy Spirit, which is why we are the hands and feet of Christ in the world today.  As I also pointed out in my sermon that morning, we clergy will occasionally make mistakes or overlook something in the text. 

Having said that, we are all here to learn from each other, and I want you to know that it’s okay to disagree with me and push back, because as two of my friends/colleagues in Reno say in their podcast, I want you to be able to think for yourselves about what you make of a text on any given Sunday and how your own core beliefs make the text come alive or challenging for you.  Unless I have a meeting or appointment, my office is always open from 10am-1pm on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and you can also join me for coffee and snacks on Thursdays from 10am-12pm (this month will be at Quincy Provisions) if you ever want to talk things out, ask questions, or even wrestle with a text that may be challenging.  I’m on this journey of faith with you and I still have a lot to learn along the way and don’t necessarily have everything together myself. 

So, here we go, jumping into the Fall season as our regularly scheduled programs return and life gets going into gear once again!!  I look forward to all new opportunities this Fall that are possible and I look forward to seeing you in church on Sunday!!

Peace & Blessings,

Pastor Andrew

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