Do you remember the children’s fairy-tale, “The Little Engine That Could”? In the tale, a long train must be pulled over a high mountain. Larger engines, are asked to pull the train; for various reasons they refuse. The request is sent to a small engine, who agrees to try. The engine succeeds in pulling the train over the mountain while repeating its motto: "I-think-I-can. I-think-I-can. I-think-I-can.” 1
Christ Memorial is not a mega-church or even one of the larger congregations in our area. But that does not prevent us from being an active living congregation filled with Christian love for God, each other, and our neighbor.
On Sunday, July 8, many children and adults made a difference. They assembled bread, meat and cheese into sandwiches for the homeless. These are people none of them knew. People from different backgrounds and different stories. Yet they are all God’s children. In God’s world, they are our neighbor. “God does not need our good works,” Luther said, “but our neighbor does.” 2
On Monday morning, we delivered 228 sandwiches to Our Savior’s Housing, a community of hope for those who have no home. We know not who will receive those sandwiches made by the hands of children, young adults, adults and the elderly; but this we know, we have served Christ by serving our neighbor. “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in...” (Matthew 25:35, NIV) Jesus calls us to “love God” and “to love our neighbor as our self.” (Matthew 22:37-40) Like two hands folded in prayer, it is not an either-or but both. So we followed Sunday morning worship with an act of service to our neighbor.
A congregation does not have to be big to make a difference. Like “The Little Engine That Could” all we need to do is make up our mind, keep saying to yourself and each other “I-think-I can. I think-I-can” and follow the call of Jesus, our Lord and Savior. God will give us the strength to climb that mountain!
In the two months I have served you, I have been simply amazed by all the little things that people are doing to help that little engine make to up the hill. Each month, a group of people get together and laugh and talk as they assemble the newsletters you are reading. Worship on Sunday never has just one person leading but a multitude of people participating, all helping us worship and praise the Lord. One Monday morning I walked into the fellowship hall and was overwhelmed by all the beautiful decor for Vacation Bible School. One wall was filled with scenes from the jungle: jaguars, monkeys, toucans, and macaws filling green trees. On the other wall stretched a long empty beach and sky blue ocean with sea gulls flying in the air so realistic it felt like you were standing right there. Many of the children and many adults gave their time so we could imagine what it would be like to be shipwrecked on a tropical island and learn how no matter what comes in life, Jesus rescues.
Christ Memorial is not a congregation that will expect you to sit still. We want you to share your gifts; to bring your energy and enthusiasms into our fellowship, to be about loving God and loving our neighbor each and ever day. We don’t put our faith in our back-pocket when we leave worship. We “go in peace and serve the Lord.” As we love God in thought, word and deed; Jesus leads us to love and serve our neighbor as ourselves.
So get on board. Our little engine is pulling up the mountain. With your help, we are climbing that mountain as we live out our vision “The Small Church with a Big Heart.”
Thank you for all you do and are doing!
Yours in Christ,
David Grant, Interim Pastor
1 Wikipedia. The Little Engine That Could. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Little_Engine_That_Could
2 Gustaf Wingren, Luther on Vocation, 10