This is Pastor Tim’s article that appeared in the Evening Leader on Tuesday, Dec 20, 2022
You all have heard the expression “timing is everything.” I am here to tell you that expression is true. So much of life is about where you are and when you got there. To be early or late or not in the right place can cost you dearly. I got married earlier this year in a ceremony I arrived at 2 hours late because of a funeral. Susan and I met years ago when I went in to visit her mother when she was having surgery. Had I not gone in to visit her mom prior to her surgery, I don’t know that we would have started talking. Right place, right time.
This time of year is also an example of being in the right place at the right time. What is the Christmas story if not a story of a bunch of people in the right place at the right time? Mary, Joseph, Shepherds, Wisemen, Angels, animals, a star, a whole bunch of people who were in the right place at the right time. It began a story that changed the entire world as we know it today.
I know I don’t need to tell you that we live in a broken world. In fact, broken might not be the right word. The correct word might be fractured. Something can be broken in one place, but a fracture is many breaks close together. That feels like a better description of our world today. It is fractured; we are broken all over the place. This world is so broken that it is difficult to know what being whole looks or feels like anymore. And just like anything that is broken, this world can hurt you.
We can not avoid being scratched by this world. One way or another, you will experience that brokenness from time to time. Sometimes it will be you suffering and sometimes it will be the far worse experience of witnessing someone you care about suffer. That is what broken things do.
What that leaves you with is two choices. You can do all you can to avoid getting hurt, or you can intentionally go to places that offer healing. That girl I met when her mom was having surgery, she works at Honda, and I now have a membership at their incredible gym. I go in the morning and run on the treadmill and toss some dumbbells around. Yes I am too old to be doing that and I double dog dare those young guys in there to say something to the old man. I am there not because I still have NFL dreams, I am there because I love it and being there is not only good for this old body, but it is good for my soul. It is my time of release. For me, there is nothing like sweating to get out tension and aggravation. It improves my mood and it lifts my spirits, and it makes my clothes fit better.
I go there because I choose not to hide from brokenness. I go there because it is my chance to be stronger (literally) so that some of the brokenness of this world can retreat from me rather than the other way around. Do you have a place that you go in defiance of the brokenness of this world? I hope that you do because we all need a place of refuge. If you don’t have it, then you will not be empowered to be in the right place at the right time because you are going nowhere.
This is why going to church is so important. There is nothing like being in church, where people are gathered together to praise God. Can you think of any other place where you are with a crowd of people gathered for the same purpose? It is incredibly empowering, yet we hardly ever experience that. And this article is a reminder that all over this city, you have multiple congregations who gather every Sunday for the sole purpose of turning our eyes upon God as a community. Nothing would give me greater satisfaction than if you joined one of these congregations. Sure, I would love it if it was Wayne Street, but I would also be happy knowing that you were in any of our congregations here in town. Churches are not perfect, but you won’t find anyplace that tries harder to bring people together than Christian congregations. If you can think of any place else around here that focuses on outreach and gathering as much as the church, my email is in the byline of this article, and I would love to hear from you.
This is the best Sunday of the year to show up: Christmas lands on a Sunday this year! Even if it has been a while since you have been in church, please don’t allow that to keep you away this weekend. There will be Christmas Eve services on Saturday night and Christmas day services on Sunday morning. Please come out and join us at one of these worship events.
Too much of this world is fractured. I am inviting you to come experience some healing in your local church. Come let us welcome you to a community that has healing as its cornerstone.