AS LONG AS THE STEPS FORWARD OUTNUMBER THE STEPS BACKWARD

Like many of you I am a person whose goals generally exceed my achievements, whether in the area of work, relationships, finances, or health. I often sum up my efforts like this: “three steps forward and two back.” I don’t remember who first challenged that mantra with the comeback that has become a favored piece of my wisdom for life through the years. He or she said to me, “Well as long as the steps forward outnumber the steps backward, you are okay.”

At Calvary we are guided by four goals, or to use the language of a practice from Scripture, four wish prayers. Wish prayers are expression of heartfelt preference. They are said to another with eyes open but they are said with an assurance that God overhears. There are wish prayers throughout the Bible and the Apocrypha (Numbers 6:24-26; Psalm 20:1-5; 2 Maccabees 1:2-6). The Apostle Paul says them to his congregations (Romans 15:5-6; 1 Corinthians 1:8; 1 Thessalonians 3:11-13).

Our wish prayers for Calvary are four. (1) May God make us a blessing to the community where we are placed. (2) May the worshipping congregation number 100+ once again. (3) May our building be maintained and improved for holy space and mission. (4) May we pass this church on to the next generation.

We have been experiencing “two steps backward” lately at Calvary. Let me give you an example from our third wish prayer: May our building be maintained and improved for holy space and mission. Last January I reported that we were almost done addressing a long list of mandated repairs as specified by our insurance carrier and we were looking forward to some long overdue remodeling. I was hoping to share with you soon some drawings of a renovated area for hospitality with a bright contemporary look and better handicap accommodations.

But in the last couple of months the air conditioning unit for the sanctuary has shouted to be replaced; someone stole our copper spouting from the front of the building just before a heavy rain (water came in and damaged a Little Steps classroom); and we have had some suspicious leaks on the roof. It sometimes feels like it will take all our energy just to make sure “this old house” doesn’t crumble down around us.

And so these days I am reminding myself as your pastor and you as the congregation of that adage that has served me so well in the past: as long as the steps forward outnumber the steps backward we’ll be okay. We don’t need giant leaps. But we do need a little more on the side of progress than on the side of deterioration. May the God who hears and overhears our prayers favor us with +1 in our life together! And may that same God sustain us there until a day when we can experience +2, +3, +4…

Pastor Lew

 

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