Last newsletter I wrote about our Church of God heritage and posed the question of whether it should be a root or a roadblock. I hope that what emerged is that it all depends on us. We have the resources available to us to be grounded within a particular tradition that has sought to serve Christ for over 130 years in the US and one that has increasingly seen the fruit of connecting to appropriate places within the broader Christian tradition that takes us all the way through history to the New Testament Church. Obviously where we tie into these traditions and how we interpret and apply our historical memory and knowledge requires much discernment.
This month, I want to touch on a wonderful opportunity for each of us to connect ourselves to one of Crossroads’ roots. Each year we set up a stable, rent some farm animals, and gather together to become cold. In the past couple weeks I had two people from other churches or organizations say something about the live nativity when they found out I was from Crossroads. “Oh you’re the church with the live nativity, right?” When we host the live nativity, we are offering our neighbors an opportunity to celebrate Christmas in a way that centers on the birth of Christ. It provides a wonderful opportunity for young children to learn the story of Jesus’ birth, and hopefully provides numerous parents with the chance to tell their children “why those people are doing a play outside in the snow.”
There is another and I suspect even more important aspect of the live nativity that some of you may not have considered. As one of the newer persons to our church family, I have been struck by the way that my participation in the live nativity has tied me to some of you and some previous family members who have passed on or have moved away from our fellowship. When I was being sized for my robe as a wiseman, I learned of Josh Smith, his height, his connection to this congregation and about his work in Maryland as a pastor. I also got to see David Titter wear the Elijah costume and learned of how that role was filled for many years by Guenter Schmidt. Many other family names came out as I heard stories of previous years…Foth, Dustin, Schwarz, Tanner, Nietzche, Fridley, and others. When we gathered last fall for our Centennial celebration, one of my favorite things was seeing so many photos of people in live nativity roles. As a new member of the family, I was immediately connected to countless others from the past…walking in their paths so to speak. What a wonderful blessing for our children, youth, and new family members to have a connection to our history. The Live Nativity connects us to each other, unites us in an outreach to our community, and offers an important time of fellowship near Christmas.
What are some of the other ways that you feel connected to our past? As you spend time in prayer, study, and reflection this month, I want to encourage you to think about the ways that we are connected to each other, the past, and how we want to enable connection to the future. And hey, while you’re at it, maybe you can make the trip up to Rock Springs for a day or more during Family Camp…it’s another wonderful opportunity to walk in the footsteps of others who have been before us while also being re-energized for discipleship.
In Christ’s Peace,