A Letter to the Congregation

03/06/2017

Dear Friends of Bozeman CRC,

Here it is, Thursday already, and I haven’t seen the sun
since leaving Bozeman!  Washington’s far
west side loves to be cloudy and wet about nine months of the year. 

Leaving Bozeman I had a different view of the city.  As the small turboprop managed to leave the
runway headed southeast, toward Bozeman, we rose slowly to about 2000 feet and
leveled-off.  Before long we turned
south. 

Out my port-side window was the entire city of
Bozeman.  I could see the houses against
the foothills headed toward the Bridger valley on the east side of the
range.  Downtown Bozeman was obvious, and
locating the church was easy enough.  No,
I couldn’t see the building, but I could see 7th Street and the approximate
location. 

Two or three homes I know in Bozeman.  Finding them was easy.  Again, I couldn’t find the exact home, but I
was within a block of recognizing some homes. 
A minutes later we turned west to follow Main Street.

Out to Four Corners I could see some more neighborhoods
I’d visited.  Then, out the Ennis Road I
saw more homes of the church family.

Churchill was just a blur out the other side of the
airplane.

Landmarks are a great gift, aren’t they?  I looked down and recognized the blocks and
roads of a dozen people from BCRC.  I
felt, for a few minutes, that I knew exactly where I was and where I was
going.  Landmarks pointing the way.

Real pilots fly their airplanes from one waypoint to the
next.  That is, they don’t just “go west
until you get to Seattle.”  No, they fly
their planes from one exact spot to the next and the next and the next and the
next. Then after all the waypoints are reached, they are in Seattle. 

Of course, real pilots use amazing technology that keeps the
airplane exactly on course at the right altitude.  One pilot (a friend) told me his computer
cold keep his 747 within 50 feet of its true course.  Our lives aren’t that precise. Sometimes we
get a little lost.

But God gave us waypoints to keep us on track.  Whether you call them “waypoints” or
“markers” or “the homes of people who are your friends,” life has those
wonderful moments when you know exactly where you are and what you’re doing and
where you are going.

Waypoints for Christians are those fixed points in our
hearts and souls.  They are points that
don’t move.  Once you see a waypoint, you
know where everything else is and from there you can find your way.  Seventh and Main is a waypoint for
Bozeman.  For the Christian, Christmas is
a waypoint.  Pentecost is a waypoint. Lent
is a waypoint.

Right now, we focus on Lent.  Lent is a seven-week memorial of the
suffering of Christ that was designed to remember Jesus’ forty-days of fasting
in the wilderness.  Lent begins Ash
Wednesday and continues until Good Friday and Easter.  Lent is actually about forty-seven days long
because the Sundays don’t count. 

During this time, we locate ourselves, like finding a
waypoint.  With Lent as our waypoint, we
look out at the rest of life and we can see how the entire landscape fits
together. 

We remember all the pieces of our life – some good and
some painful.  We remember that Christ
died for our sins and rose to bring us resurrection.  We remember the times we’ve been lost and
then found by the grace of God.

We remember the sorrows of life and connect them back to
our central waypoint – the resurrection of Christ.  With the resurrection as your waypoint the
pieces fit together and you can’t get too lost.

All right, that’s interesting, but what does that have to
do with us?  Well, for Lent, I will be
preaching some waypoint messages from the life of Christ.  I emailed Pastor Jack Huttinga and he will
(if I understand correctly) will be preaching something similar.  Perfect.

These are passages with such a strong and clear message,
they’ll help point the way for the rest of the year.

As we cruise through Lent the first person we’ll see
through the window of Scripture will be a woman.  She’s lost. 
Well, she’s been lost.  But,
somehow, she became found.  And when we
meet her she is holding on to the one solid person she’s met in her life.  Desperately clinging to the one person who
can point the way home.

There’s a man next to her.  He disapproves of the woman.  He thinks she is still lost and that she has
no right to be at the table.  He wants
the woman to leave.

Everyone at the dinner party thinks the woman should
leave.  They are scandalized that she
would have the nerve to walk into the home of a perfectly respectable citizen
of the community.

Our first text, planned for this Sunday, tells the landmark
story of the woman.  And next week, the
first Sunday of March, we have a similar story. 
It goes like this:

 

26 February:    Luke 7:36 ff 
What Jesus Saw that
You Might Have Missed

In this magnificent passage, Jesus and an arrogant
Pharisee (Simon) get into a war of words about a woman weeping at Jesus’ feet.

Simon will tell Jesus what he thinks of the situation –
what he knows about the woman and how he interprets the events in his own
house.

Jesus, in reply, will tell Simon what he thinks of the
situation – what he knows about the woman and how he interprets the events in
his own world.

 

5 March           Luke
15:1-7                 Crazy About You

It’s a stinking sheep that is lost.  One useless animal from a herd of 100.  The shepherd probably doesn’t know or care
for the individual animal all that much. 
He’s seen sheep come and sheep go over the years.  Eventually, they all turn into clothing and
dinner. 

Except, this shepherd is crazy about his little lost
sheep, just like God is crazy about you.

 

I hope you can read the Gospel passages during the weeks
ahead.  You could read Luke two times if
you read one chapter a day.  And you
could read Matthew and Mark by reading a chapter a day. I think it would be a
blessing to you if you did.

When we left Bozeman earlier this week, the airplane flew
along the Ennis Road all the way to the Madison River.  Finally, we lifted into the clouds and didn’t
see the ground again until Seattle.  But
I was OK as we flew 700 miles in the clouds, because I had my waypoints. And I
was quite confident the Pilot knew exactly what he was doing.

Blessings to you all,

 

David Snapper

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