Rev. Dr. William Hess

Greetings and God’s Blessings,
It was wonderful worshiping with you this past Sunday. Rev. Cindy Simmons was inspired and spoke to my heart. The inclusion of the children brought a joy to the service that only children can provide. Attending the choir rehearsal and then singing with them on Sunday gave me a close up experience of the truly excellent voices in our choir and the marvelous expertise of our maestro David Macbeth. This is the right time to join the choir and be blessed by David’s fantastic gifts!

On Sunday, we will continue our journey through the lectionary passages from the Old Testament book of Exodus and the New Testament book of Romans. You may wish to read in advance of the service Exodus 14:19-31 which is the “resurrection” event of the Old Testament. We will meditate also on Paul’s inspired advice to the churches in Rome. In the midst of conflict over many different issues Paul told them, “Let all be fully convinced in their own mind” (Romans 14:5). This is the basis for the position in our Book of Order that, “God alone is Lord of the conscience.”

Throughout history the church has attempted to hold in unity fellow sisters and brothers in Christ who had differing views on a myriad of issues. I believe the current PCUSA position on the right of each pastor and each session to follow their conscience on issues of inclusion within the church fulfills the spirit of Paul’s advice to the Romans. You may be interested to know that the United Methodist Church is now involved in a national movement to encourage remaining in sacred covenant with one another despite differences in conscience related to LGBTQ issues.

Whatever one believes, we must all beware of “arrogance.” Love is not “envious or boastful or arrogant or rude” (I Cor. 13:4). This Sunday our Hearts and Minds class will begin its discussion of Henri J. M. Nouwen’s book, Life of the Beloved. Nouwen writes, “Isn’t arrogance putting yourself on a pedestal to avoid being seen as you see yourself. Isn’t arrogance, in the final analysis, just another way of dealing with the feelings of worthlessness.”

As we join together this fall, in the midst of the current fray, may we pray consistently that we avoid being “arrogant, boastful or rude” toward those who may not agree with us. In my mind, genuine humility before God and others is the true sign of a mature walk with God through Jesus Christ. These words from Rich Mullins, a Christian contemporary music artist who wrote the beloved “Awesome God,” are good advice to us as we gather together each Sunday.

“I never understood why going to church made you a hypocrite, because nobody goes to church because they are perfect. If you’ve got it all together, you don’t go. You can go jogging with all the other perfect people on Sunday morning. Every time you go to church, you’re confessing again to yourself, to your family, to the people you pass on the way there, that you don’t have it all together, that you need their support, you need their direction, you need some accountability, you need some help.”

We hope to see you this Sunday!

Pastor Bill Hess

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If you need transportation to or from our early service, please send an email to info@fpcb-pcusa.org.  Please realize that someone will arrive fairly early to pick you up, but we are happy to provide this service. Include your name, address and phone number on the email and someone will happily be in touch.