May 28, 2017
John 17:1-11
1 Peter 4:12-14; 5:6-11
Acts 1:6-14


After the big event
Easter 7

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David Coffin
It is about one year after the big 150th anniversary at First Church. Pastor Amy arrived just in time for the celebration event. It is evening as she arrives early for the church council meeting in R.R. Cucklemeier Hall. She still sees coffee cups, a t-shirt hanging up in the glass display, as well as limited edition dinner plates with a “150th Anniversary of First Church” logo on them. A year ago when she was called to be the pastor, she never promised to bring back the good old days of R.R. Cucklemeier, only that she and the congregation would work and struggle together to discover a new future. However, certain newly elected church leaders who had taken a year off church had these implicit expectations. Pastor Amy was keenly aware that the town’s large manufacturing company had long moved overseas, leaving the town as an empty shell of many boarded-up businesses serving as bitter reminders of lost prosperity. Several start-up home-based businesses have attempted to revitalize the economy and bring in new ideas, only to have moved on to a larger metro area. Pastor Amy’s son had been in rehab this past year for a prescription drug addiction. He was in recovery and inviting recovery group members to church. They attend, though sporadically.

As the church council gathers, the denominational representative suddenly appears at the door with a laptop to take notes on this meeting. Pastor Amy is being told that she is not performing at the level of measurable results which they expected. Amy replies that she never promised to bring in the numbers; in fact, she pledged to them in their valleys, and points them to new life. Her son’s rehab incident is brought up; Amy replies that the family has grown through this and is now active in an area 12-step group. The (new) council leadership announces that this is not good enough. Amy is not a good leader. She might even consider leaving the ministry altogether. Amy felt this to be a “mugging!” Attention shifts to the denominational person, who simply wants to avoid conflict and not have First Church attempt to leave the denomination. At this point Pastor Amy is invited to leave the room as a severance package is being negotiated on her behalf. One year after the great 150th anniversary celebration, Pastor Amy is being told that “her skill set no longer meets the needs of this church.” Later that week, a good friend tells Amy that this happens in secular companies all the time. How does a Christian live after the big anniversary event has come and gone, and the reality of a fallen creation and sinful nature sets in?...

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Easter 7
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Commentary
Writers



David Kalas


Wayne Brouwer


Sandra Herrmann


David Coffin


Catherine Venkatesh


Frank Ramirez


Illustration
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Ron Love


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