“Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor” (Romans 12:9-10).
The story is shared of something that happened during Vacation Bible School a few years ago. A class was interrupted one day about an hour before dismissal when a new student was brought in. The little boy had one arm missing, and since the class was almost over, the teacher had no opportunity to learn any details about the cause or the little boy’s state of adjustment. She was very nervous and afraid that one of the children would blurt out something and embarrass him. There was no opportunity to caution them, so she proceeded as carefully as possible.
As the class time drew to a close, she began to relax. She asked the class to join her in their usual closing ceremony. “Let’s make our churches,” she said. “Here’s the church and here’s the steeper, open the doors and see . . .” The awful truth of her own actions struck her. The very thing she had feared that the children would do, she had done. As she stood there speechless, the little girl sitting next to the boy with the missing arm simply reached over with her left hand and placed it up to his right hand and gently said, “Here, let’s be the church together!”
Our fall theme here at St. John’s is We are church TOGETHER! It is a theme that has been lifted up across the ELCA by our Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton. The truth is that we need each other. We need each other in worship. We need each other in prayer. We need each other in service. We need each other in learning. We need each other in outreach and in mission. We need each other when we are suffering and we need each other when we are rejoicing.
Next weekend, September 9 and 10, is Rally Weekend here at St. John’s! It is a time when we come TOGETHER as Christ’s church in this place to celebrate who we are as Christ’s people. We worship together. We learn together. We serve together. We eat together. We are church together.
Come and join together as we worship at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, at 8:00 a.m. on Sunday, and at a Combined Celebration Worship at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday. Come and join together as we join our voices with guest musician Jonathan Rundman as he leads us in worship and as he shares a special concert with us on Saturday evening at 7:00 p.m. in the sanctuary, featuring some of our favorite and most beloved hymns! Come and join together as we gear up for Sunday School and Sprout! and Confirmation and a variety of Bible Studies! Come and join together as we fill Blessing Bottles to be shared with the homeless community here in Springfield! Come and join together as we share a delicious meal on the church lawn catered by Nelson’s! It promises to be a WONDERFUL weekend! Your presence is needed. We can’t be the church by ourselves. Come and join with us as we are church TOGETHER!
Together in Christ +