You may have seen the announcements for the upcoming 125th anniversary celebration for Southside on September 24. John Scott and a committee of folks are working hard in making plans for this wonderful day. Former members are being invited. A special program with lunch will be shared. It is going to be a wonderful day to give glory to God for his grace upon our church for the past 125 years. I wanted to offer a couple of thoughts on why I think this could be a special day for our church.
1. Celebration – Congregations do not live forever. In many ways, they are like human beings. They are born, develop, grow, and, eventually, decline and die. Think about the congregations in the New Testament; they are not around today. They served their purpose during their time and then they died. Now, the Kingdom of God never dies, but congregations do. In the same way that we take special care to celebrate the 100th birthday of a person, I think it is very appropriate to do the same for a congregation. For some reason, God in his grace has sustained Southside for 125 years. That is worthy of celebrating: not to pat ourselves on the back, but to thank God and to praise God that this spiritual community is still here and still serving Him. Any worthy celebration merits inviting people to. This year, our celebration is taking the place of our Friend Day. So I hope that you will invite your neighbor or friend to join us in this celebration. After all, when was the last time you heard of a church celebrating 125 years? Such an anniversary is intriguing, at the least!
2. Reconciliation – Over the past 125 years, there have been many people who have attended Southside but for various reasons moved on. For some, this was because they moved to a different area, relocated to a different part of the city, or felt called somewhere else to serve. For others, they left because they were hurt or disappointed in some way. This day offers an opportunity to reach out to those former members who are a part of our history and invite them to re-join us for the day. For some, this could be a special moment to re-visit a church that helped them during a certain time. It could be a way of healing old wounds. As we think about people to invite, I would encourage you to reach out to a former member who used to attend but for whatever reason stopped. This day could be a powerful moment of reconciliation where we welcome back former members, mend broken fences, and express our love and fellowship with one another.
It is because of these reasons that I am anticipating and praying for September 24. I pray that God will be glorified. I pray that we will be humbled as we think about our church’s journey and how God has helped us every step of the way. And I also pray for our guests that reconciliation can occur where needed and they can see the goodness of God and His people again.
Will join with me in this?