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Monday, October 27, 2014

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As we prepare to celebrate Reformation Sunday at First Presbyterian Church this coming Sunday, I wanted to share a list of my top 10 reasons why I love being Presbyterian. But before that, here is a one sentence description of what Reformation Sunday is all about: The tradition of Reformation Sunday offers an opportunity to celebrate our heritage and history, to affirm our central theological convictions and to consider Godís ongoing reformation of the church.

The Presbyterian Church (USA) has a rich tradition and much to celebrate. So without any further ado, here are my 10 reasons why I love being Presbyterian:

1. I love being Presbyterian because of the emphasis we place on Godís Goodness. God is not a distant god, who created the world and stepped away. Rather, God is one who out of selfless love created and continues to create with this same selfless love. Perhaps though, the most important aspect about our theology as Presbyterians is the comfort and hope that can be found in the very good news that God chooses us and has gifted us with faith in God!

2. I love being Presbyterian because, well, we are a thankful people. We know that everything we have comes from God. We understand that we are Godís stewards or caretakersĖof the environment, of one another, of children, of everything. We participate in being good stewards by tutoring children at a local grade school, contributing money to local organizations that are about the building up of community, and we make every opportunity to make sure everybody has a way to share their unique gifts!

3. I love being Presbyterian because we donít forget to love God with all hearts, souls, strength, and minds. We value education and the importance of spiritual formation in the community. We endorse the study of Godís entire world and we are willing to ask questions, hard questions. We are willing to debate. We are ďa thinking,Ē as well as ďa feeling,Ē people.
4. I love being Presbyterian because we are not afraid to engage the Bible critically. We believe that the Bible is authoritative and Godís word to us, meant to be taken very seriously. We understand that it was written by humans. We realize that the Bible contains different types of literature--poetry, commandments, apocalyptic writings, for exampleĖwhich requires study and sensitivity in interpreting. More importantly, we know that our story is a part of Godís story, which has, is, and will continue to mold us into who God longs for us to be!

5. I love being Presbyterian because we understand the importance of diversity and the wideness of Godís love. At the heart of who we are is the spirit of hospitality. We welcome and affirm the gifts of all Godís children, recognizing that as a body, we are incomplete when one person is left out! God revels in diversity. After all, what a diverse world God thought up.
6. I love being Presbyterian because we love all our neighbors: we are ecumenical! Some of us are life long Presbyís, while some of us have dabbled with the Methodist and Baptists, Roman Catholics and Lutherans. Regardless of where we come from, we affirm every Sunday that we believe in the holy catholic church, that is the holy universal church. We are but one patch in the crazy quilt of Christís church. While we love our Presbyterian way, ours is not the only way to serve God.

7. I love being Presbyterian because we donít do ministry alone. Okay, okayóIíll admit, sometimes committee work can be frustrating. But there is so much potential when decisions of the church are spread out between clergy and laity. What I value most is that the use of committees allows for many participants and cultivates a community of our shared ministry in Godís mission.

8. I love being Presbyterian because we care about Godís world. While our hope lies in the coming resurrection of Christ, we are aware of Godís call here and now to bring heaven on earth. We do this by our efforts in the blood drive, providing food for children in local schools on weekends, and visiting people when they are sick and homebound. As Presbyterians we believe that God has called us, God has elected us, not for privilege, but for service.

9. I love being Presbyterian because we live by the slogan, ďReformed, always being reformed according to the Word of God.Ē The first ďReformedĒ in the slogan is spelled with a capital referring to our Reformed heritage that is the Protestant tradition that dates back to John Calvin, John Knox, and other reformers. It means we stand in a great theological tradition. We didnít make everything up yesterday. We have as a part of our constitution eleven creeds and confessions dating from the fourth century through the twentieth century, we stand on the shoulders of giants.


10. And last and maybe most important, I love being Presbyterian because some of the finest people I know are Presbyterians. My story begins at Bethel Presbyterian Church in Peoria, Illinois where I was baptized as an infant in the fall of 1985. These fine people have remained faithful to their covenant promise made to my family and me in a variety of ways throughout my life. Some of my dearest friends are Presbyterians, who have taught me more about grace than Calvinís institutes ever could. And the folks of First Presbyterian Church have demonstrated Godís love to me in new ways. I could go on. But if I start naming any of you, I would be writing for years! Suffice it to say Presbyterians are wonderful people. And thatís probably why I most love being a Presbyterian.


So there you have it. An expansive top 10 List why I love being Presbyterian. I hope to see many of you this Sunday as we celebrate our rich heritage with bagpipes and singing, scripture reading and preaching! Feel free to wear your plaidÖand a kilt if you have one. We donít want only 1 person to show up in hisÖ
[Adam Quine. Pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Lincoln]

 

 

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