Hope for New beginnings
Another year is in the books for Holly Grove, our 147th new year together as a community of believers holding down the corner in downtown Inez/Holly Grove as a matter of fact. Wow, that is a long time isn’t it? Imagine how so many things have changed in our neighborhood in those 147 years, and how much has fundamentally remained the same. While our ancestors and those who came before probably never dreamed we would have computers, cell phones, or the ability to make it to Richmond in less than a day and a half (although the traffic in Short Pump sometimes feels like it takes that long to move), I imagine they did understand that we would need each other and we would need God just as much as they did. So, they planted a church so that future generations could enjoy its fruit and take rest from the world within its walls. Over time the building has changed, the songs have changed, and members have come and gone yet the overall mission has remained the same, to spread the good news of Jesus Christ. But, I wonder, are we doing the same for those who will follow us? Are we planting the seeds that will bear fruit for future generations to enjoy?
One of the most difficult questions facing many older protestant congregations such as ours is this; “How do we adapt to serve the needs of, and be relevant to, modern society without forsaking beloved traditions and the Gospel?” Now this is not a question that I, Bob, or any one person has the answer to. But it is a vitally important question and one that must be asked and addressed frequently. You, my dear brothers and sisters in Christ, hold the answer to that question. You are the arms of the church that embrace the stranger with its love, you are the feet that carry its message throughout the world, you are the backs upon which the works of faith are carried, and you are its eyes and ears that see and hear the needs of our neighbors and society. You are the church, you are God’s chosen people, and together we must work together to discover new ways of sharing and serving. In that spirit, and in the spirit of New Year’s resolutions I offer to you a few things that I pray will be planted at Holly Grove and one day bear fruit:
- I pray that when we can gather again without the threat of Covid that people with musical talents come together in a joyful inter-generational chorus of voices, strings, and keys for the glory of God.
- I pray for more people who care for our church and community to come forward and offer their service, labor, and leadership.
- I pray for more new and innovative ways to help those around us who are lost, hurt, scared, and in need through the diverse abundance of talents held by our congregation.
- I pray for the laughter and wiggling of children and young families to drown out the sounds of my sermons and fill our walls with the natural spirituality, faith, and love that they possess. There is so much more that we can learn from them about faith and love than from a sermon.
- I pray that the church building will be open and something exciting happening every day of the week, not just Sunday Mornings.
- Finally, I pray for you…YES YOU… to pray and dream with me, and to step forward and make those dreams come true.
Peace be with you always,