The Four Es

Well, I survived my first week as the interim pastor of First Presbyterian Church of New Canaan, Connecticut, and, apparently, they did, too. I still don’t know how to make the coffeemaker work, nor the copy machine, but I’m making progress. Already, I have learned a Presbyterian’s favorite scripture. They must have been taught it when they were born, because I bet a dozen people quoted I Corinthians 14:10 to me.

The trouble is I’m not sure they even knew they were quoting scripture; they just knew the favorite phase for describing Presbyterians is:

Let everything be done decently and in order.

Now, the reason I doubt that they knew the phrase is scripture is the context. The Apostle Paul was teaching the church how to prophesy and speak in tongues, which doesn’t seem very Presbyterian to me, but I could be wrong.

In my first sermon as their interim pastor, I talked about how God loves to create out of chaos. The Bible opens with a description of God creating out of chaos, and the cacophony of wind, fire, and tongues on Pentecost provides the setting for the birth of the church. Order is God’s ultimate will, but it seems there first needs to be a little messiness to give the Spirit something to work with.

To that end, in yesterday’s sermon I offered four words I hope will describe my time there during the months to come. Each word begins with “E,” which will help us remember them. I think these words might hold some relevance for us as individuals as well, so I thought I would share them with you this week. First:

Energy or Excitement, whichever you prefer.

That word may not be applied to most mainline churches, but why should fundamentalists have all the fun?!? I want to find new ways to enliven our faith and our faithfulness, so, when young people come to visit FPCNC, they’ll know we are excited about following the way of Jesus.

We are going to caffeinate worship a bit, so no one can fall asleep or mistake divine worship for a funeral. I may never get Presbyterians to clap along to the music, but perhaps I’ll get them to secretly tap their feet.

Our faith is full of hope, and, given the situation in our world, worship should be the one place where we dare to risk some joy. And If our faith is giving us joy, we need to notify our faces.


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