Something Old . . . And Yet Brand New!

 By Pastor Heath Howe

The Times they are a Changin'...Yes, but is it really just a change back to the basics? Long before church buildings, budgets, programs, prayer books and pews, Christians like St. Peter, St. Paul and or Mary Magdalene gathered together to share their faith and experience God. They did this through telling stories, saying prayers and engaging in activities that honored Jesus and served those in need. From their lives and the lives of Christians who came after them we can discern that there are four keys for passing on our faith: Caring Conversations, Devotions, Service, and Rituals and Traditions.*

We regularly practice all four of these keys as a community at Holy Comforter. It is not uncommon to hear two moms sharing stories about raising their children while they sip coffee after church or to hear two men from the Saturday Men's Bible Study check in on each other's personal lives as they walk off to their cars. Our Stephen Ministers have caring conversations with their care receivers weekly and our youth group kids talk and laugh each Sunday as they gather in their classrooms. Stop by the two Kindergarten classrooms and you will hear devotion in action as they say a prayer before snack. Every Sunday morning at 8:00, 9:00, and 11:15 we gather as a church family to celebrate our corporate devotion in the service of Holy Communion. Each service is packed with our particular rituals and traditions, kneeling and standing, lighting candles and carrying crosses, singing prayers and saying blessings. Lastly, we give ourselves to the service of others when we raise money for the various outreach organizations we support, when we send our youth on mission trips, or when we invite a neighbor to church. Whenever we are thinking of an "other" we are engaged in service.

However, the building is not the only place these four keys are practiced. In fact, if we only practice them on Sunday mornings on Kenilworth Avenue, we miss a great opportunity. Limiting the use of the four keys to Sunday morning only would be like limiting our workout time for one yoga class a week. Not bad, but we would hardly be in shape! Being a Christian is not a Sunday morning or Holy Comforter event. It is a lifestyle. Faith is formed by the Holy Spirit through personal trusted relationships. These are most realized in our homes.* If we want our faith to grow, as individuals and as a community, we must practice our faith at home as well as when we gather at the church building. The four keys easily translate into regular, daily, family practices.

We at Holy Comforter understand that our role as a congregation is to partner with families and individuals to aid them in practicing their faith well beyond our church walls. With this in mind we will provide tools, resources and ideas for ways you and your family can begin to practice the four keys at home, the same four keys our early church mothers and fathers practiced long ago. Over the next few months please consider our website and our Facebook page as places to access these tools. We trust you will find them helpful and we hope you will share any other practices you and your family might have that could benefit others.

Remember, faith is caught not simply taught. I guess the Times They really are a Changin...taking us back home.

*Note: Research and information obtained through Vibrant Faith Ministries