These are the words of the apostle Paul, from the beginning of his letter to the church at Philippi. Beloved church, as scripture so often does, these words stretch across time and space.
Grace and peace to you, Point Pleasant Presbyterian Church. I thank God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you. This week, as we officially begin our journey and ministry together, I found myself reflecting on the moment I first prayed for you, beloved church. I didn’t yet know who you would be – where you would be located, your names, your faces, none of it. But I do remember where I was, in the chapel of Nassau Presbyterian Church in Princeton, NJ. I remember the movement of the Holy Spirit, nudging, as I began to pray for the congregation I would one day be called to serve. As it turns out, I’ve been remembering you for many years. It may sound strange to our ears, to remember those we haven’t met. And yet, it is at the core of our Reformed heritage. We are known and remembered by God, a God who knows us and loves us, before we can even respond to the call of Jesus Christ on our lives!
My prayers continue now, and I hope that you will join me in these prayers, as we begin this ministry together. I pray for you with joy – remembering the saints of Point Pleasant Presbyterian Church who have come before. I pray for you with joy – with gratitude for the warm welcome I’ve experienced over the past several weeks. I pray for you with joy – for the many faithful ministries and people of this congregation. I pray for you with joy – for our new chapter in the life of this congregation. I pray for you with joy – for continued discernment as we live in the now, while also looking to the future.
It is my fervent hope that as a body of believers in Point Pleasant and beyond, we will be strengthened and renewed, remembering one another in prayer, caring for each and every person we encounter, that we might carry on the good work of Jesus Christ.
Peace be with you this day,