Pastor Bob Weidmayer
“8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and may share His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. 12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me His own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3: 8-14
What is the purpose of the rear view mirror? It is designed to help us see what is behind us as we move forward. It is necessary to look back occasionally, viewing from where we’ve come and the path we’ve traveled. Looking back also makes us aware of circumstances that may be advancing and seeking to overtake us.
It is good to glance back occasionally. yet, if we spend our time looking back we may lose sight of what is in front of us. We could easily lose focus of where we are going and how we are getting there. In the passage above St. Paul is looking back at God’s gift of forgiveness and the importance of Christ in his life. He doesn’t dwell there. He remembers the important parts and then refocuses his attention toward the future, pressing on toward the goal of sharing Christ until He is brought by God’s grace to eternal life.
What a great reminder for us as we begin a new year! We have that rear view mirror into which we may glance to see God’s awesome power that brought us through 2018. But glance is all we need to do. We, like Paul, look forward toward the goal, God is leading us; “the upward call of God in Christ Jesus”. This upward call is to know Him and make Him known until we reach eternal life. That’s the main goal and purpose of each and every congregation, including St. John’s! “A caring congregation reaching out to all” is what God is leading us to continue being in this community especially to families. God’s awesome gift of love and forgiveness is what we wish to share.
How then do we strain forward with this awesome gift? Well, we check our mirrors and move ahead. Here at St. John’s a glance in the mirror reveals God’s goodness as we have clung to God and each other through good and difficult times. We have moved ahead boldly proclaiming God’s Word in music, actions and proclamation. God’s divine service to us on Sundays and Wednesdays are drawing new people to Him and some of our former families back to Him. The children around our communities are growing in the knowledge of their world and faith in Jesus Christ through Preschool and Sunday School. Families have found a safe place to call home through Family Promise of Ontario County. A quick glance, now let’s look forward! Where can we go in the future and how can we share God’s greatest gift of Jesus Christ? We will be establishing some goals and directions very soon to encourage us to strain forward to what lies ahead. As we, the congregation of St. John’s press forward toward that goal, we remember that it always has been and shall always be about receiving Jesus Christ and then proclaiming Him!
Serving Christ with you, Pastor Bob Weidmayer +++