From Your Pastors’ Desk
In Japanese culture, it is impolite to pour your own tea. In other words, when you are out to eat or visiting someone’s home, you should always wait for the person to pour your tea, and you should pour your companion’s tea. You have to sit there and wait to be asked, “Do you want tea?” You cannot just pick up the tea and pour your own cup—that is very rude. To us Westerners, this may feel awkward and overly formal, but we believe it points to a much deeper truth: we cannot do this alone. We are dependent on the grace of another.
The fact that we are dependent on others can indeed be an uncomfortable feeling. We would much rather pour our own tea and get on with it. Yet, in our lives of faith, we know we don’t just arrive on our own accord. We need the help of others to get where we are going. We need people to share scripture with us, to teach us, to show us what it is to walk in faith. And more broadly, we need God’s Spirit to work in the world so that we are brought to faith and grow in faith. Faith is not just something we grab for ourselves, it is a gift given by a family of God’s faithful. Perhaps we would prefer to just grab and go but that is not how God designed God’s Kingdom—faith is a gift.
In this way, the church happens through people pouring grace and love into one another. The church isn’t, and should never be, about us as pastor’s doing all the work and everyone else receiving it. And it isn’t about the Session, or just a few leaders doing all the work. The church is only the church when everyone comes together and shares their gifts, time, and resources. The church grows when we show up for one another when we encourage one another, and when we share our opinions to strengthen our community.
Some of us might want to push the organization forward– to just grab and go as it were, but the church needs a team effort. Yet, also on the other side of things, people might want to just do what they are told and follow along, but the church needs our voice and effort.
As your pastors, as we enter this Thanksgiving season, we are eternally grateful for the grace you have poured into the church and us. We as pastors didn’t make the church go, we all did it together. We are grateful for the time and opinions our church officers have given to guide our future. We are grateful for the Trustees who made a space for us to worship and live. We are grateful for those who prayed for the church and its members. And we are grateful for the many ways you have strengthened this community and us when we needed it, with your words of encouragement and service.
We have both done our best to try to fill your cups with all the knowledge and care we have to offer. But, all the while you were filling our cups with joy, love, and faith in a way that we could never do ourselves. Thank you. To God be the Glory.
Pastor Bala & Pastor Cheryl Khyllep