Pentecost at St. Matthew's 2012
Today Venus transits the Sun's disk and we can see it here in Utah. I'll be watching it with Emma and a friend of hers at 4:30 p.m. at the top of Emmigration Canyon. You may join us if you wish. Its a rare event, happening twice in a span of eight years every hundred years. Originally astronomers realized that they could use the transit to measure the span of the solar system. Today people will watch it simply because it is stunning. The world is full of beauty, full of transits.
This is my first blog with you all. I'm thinking about transits, about moving, about beauty, about parish life.
What will help St. Matthew's grow? And more importantly, what will help us be as healthy as we can?
Here is a brief list I have made of some characteristics of a healthy congregation:
Healthy congregations are flexible, generous, joy filled, open to strangers, not afraid of conflict, but not consumed by it either. Healthy congregations are not "reactive". Their first response to something new is "Oh!" Healthy congregations tell the truth. Healthy congregations understand that new members are not a source of "income", but a source of God's grace that is "in-coming." Each new member is Christ. They understand that people will join when they sense that there is grace in the community. Healthy congregations study the scripture and the world. Healthy congregations accept chaos. Healthy congregations commit to banning these phrases:
"It won't work. We have done it that way before."
"It won't work. We have never done it that way before."
Healthy congregations are centered first and foremost in worship that is catholic, open, beautiful, diverse, subversive, inclusive. This worship transforms us, centers us, propels out into the world, connects us to each other.
Healthy congregations don't take themselves too seriously. They realize its only church.
Finally healthy congregations are grateful and grounded in that gratefulness.
Thank you for your partnership in the Gospel, for our common journey, for our transit together. We'll see where it goes.
Pastor Jeffrey Louden
St. Matthew's Lutheran is a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. We serve the West Valley of Salt Lake City. We were formed from St. Paul's and Atonement Lutheran, becoming St. Matthew's in 1989.