From The Workshop


Hello 2024. Hello Epiphany for the next six weeks. As the church moves into the new year, this little season is snuggled in between Christmas and Lent. With John the Baptist and the wise men leading the way, the person and work of the adult Jesus is introduced to the world that wants to know:

  • Who is Jesus? 
  • What is his message?
  • How does he make a difference?

In six short weeks we’re supposed to cover three years, his whole adult life from baptism to the final days in Jerusalem. That’s a lot of territory. Plus I will be out for half of it with my family wedding. What to do?
First, we’ll be working out of the gospel of Mark, which is the shortest and the oldest of the four gospels. With no birth or infancy stories, Mark comes out of the gate with Jesus striding out of Nazareth, getting baptized, and going right to work calling disciples and proclaiming, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near, repent, and believe in the good news.” (1:14) As we know by now, the kingdom of God is a way of living that puts God first and treats others with love, honor, and respect as God loves, honors, and respects us. Repenting, as we know by now, is turning around and trying again when we fail the assignment. Repenting is not a one time thing! We move forward by failing. Another way to say it is as we practice loving God and others (and ourselves) we “fail forward.” 
Failing forward is so important that the whole next season, Lent, is dedicated to it. Lent is the season of humility. There’s always a shortage of it, humility, because mainly we live in a culture that doesn’t support it. Good, conservative research suggests today’s America defines success as “professional and financial.” Churches promoting this cultural God as an additive to personal and financial success seem to be doing well. But look who’s at the center. Not God or God’s Son. And not the message of the kingdom. 
So, as we enter this new year, I invite you to join me in “failing forward.” We will continue to put Christ in the center. Mark will lead us in remembering and relearning Jesus’ message, “the kingdom of God has come near, repent, and believe the good news,” and we will continue in humility to be followers, Disciples of Christ. 

See you in a couple of weeks,

Pastor Tom