In Deuteronomy 31:8 Moses commissioning Joshua speaks to him, saying: “(Be strong and courageous…) It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; He will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” Powerful words for a man and a people rising to the powerful occasion of entering the promised land. They had much reason to fear and much reason to be dismayed. The Israelites stood at a crossroads and the road they were being down contained fortified walls, giants and bloody battles and the road behind was littered with their failures.
The past couple of months (and years) have brought some unexpected bumps to us at Trinity. An unsuccessful church plant, rearranging of positions, cancer diagnoses, sins by pastors and more — all strike painful chords deep within our congregation and community. What will happen next? Who’s going to have the next unexpected, un-welcomed life event take place? Why can’t we be a church without problems like these? These questions and more are all signs of our fear and despair that crouch at the door waiting to overtake us. For over 138 years Trinity has traveled a bumpy road and continues to overcome bumps as God guides. Bumps of bad weather and bad behavior, bumps of falling attendance and running out of space, bumps of infighting and conflict, bumps of all sorts have befallen us as God’s people at Trinity. Even over these bumps, God is going before us.
During these summer months, our Stewardship committee is taking an initiative to catalog some of our past records. In looking through some of the stacks of documents and pictures (which will be made available for congregation perusal in the near future) I noticed the earliest recorded minutes from a Trinity council meeting. One of the first acts on record for our congregation was the nomination of a person to the position of “collector of past-due tuition” the person (who shall remain nameless here) declined to serve. I can understand his objections! We may look to the past to see greener pastures but with all honesty, there are struggles all along.
There is much ahead of us. In the immediate future, our 2013 Pre-Confirmation Retreat is mere weeks away. The start of our 139th school year at the end of August. In-home-fellowship-Bible-studies (better name tbd) are coming this fall. Packing a million meals alongside fellow Toledo Christians and neighbors is happening in October. The start of a comfort dog ministry at Trinity. Who knows where else the Lord will take us as we Share Christ together… Who knows where will we be in 139 years? God knows because He is going there right now, ahead of us; To prepare the works for us to walk in. May we be ever mindful of His grace which keeps us going… through it all.