An On-Going Task

I read a news story a few years ago about the completion of the largest dictionary in the world—the 40-volume Dictionary of the Dutch Language. Work on the dictionary began in the 19th century and took almost 150 years for Dutch and Flemish lexicographers to complete! It has more than 45,000 pages and documents words going back to the year 1500.

There’s just one hitch. The Dictionary is only current to 1976, meaning that it is now more than 40 years out of date. Never fear, though, the editors are back at work on a second edition—just don’t expect it to be completed in our lifetime.

I’m sure there are many lessons that can be drawn from this story, but mine is this: Some tasks are never done. They just keep going and going and going. I know I feel like that sometimes on Sunday afternoon when I realize that there’s yet another sermon to prepare in the less than a week!

The life of a congregation is also an on-going task that’s never quite done. While this can lead to weariness and inertia if we’re not careful, it also points to the continued life, work, and ministry that we are privileged to share as the body of Christ. Our enduring task of the church is perhaps best summed up in Jesus’ last words in Matthew 28: “Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…”

This disciple-making work is foundational to all that we do—in worship, mission and outreach, faith development, the care of neighbor, and fellowship. So, I’d like to commend to you the wonderful, on-going work of this congregation that you will find listed in the pages of this edition of the South Church Life. I also want to highlight a couple of projects:

The month of October brings us to the beginning of our annual Stewardship season. The theme for this year is Live Generously. Sunday, October 15 is the kickoff of our Stewardship emphasis and more details are provided on the cover page of this newsletter.

In worship, we are moving back into the sanctuary on Sunday, October 1 after four months in the Auditorium. We will soon be dedicating our new hymnals, which arrived over the summer. We are also in the third year of using the Narrative Lectionary, which guides us through the Bible from September through May.

The Property Committee has been busy over the summer supervising the exterior renovation of the sanctuary. The repair to the base of the steeple tower is complete, with new copper roofing and new lights for the spire. The old slate has been removed from the main roof. The next phase of work will focus on the tower wood restoration, removal of the protective glass on the windows, wood trim restoration, and the installation of the new slate. In addition, new wood louvers in the tower and damaged wood parts for soffit are being fabricated as well as a new round window frame for the rose window.

Peace and grace, Mark