Pastor's Corner
  
  
  
  
  
“So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter.”
-2 Thessalonians 2:15
  
  
  
                                                                                
  
  
                                                 
  




   October is a special month for Franklin Presbyterian Church.  October is the month in which we celebrate our heritage with a special homecoming service, this year on Sunday, October 14th.
 
The service is special.  Our youth lead the church into worship with a procession down the aisle.  The liturgy is from the old Scottish Presbyterian Book of Common Worship.  The music is special, and the food (authentic old-world recipes) is great… too great.
 
The atmosphere is warm, comfortable and secure.  Absolutely… there is something secure about being with old friends, in this familiar sanctuary, participating in a traditional worship.
 
Home, wherever we find it, is like that.  It has the security of tradition and warmth.
 
Paul knew this when he wrote his letters to the Thessalonian church.  “Hold to the traditions,” he told them.  He knew that if they did not continue to cling to the teaching and life example of Jesus
 
 
 
Christ, and hold fast, they would rapidly fall into decline.
 
This is sadly evident in our nation today.
 
If you are like me, you have grown extremely tired of reading about our national, local and state leaders’ conduct.  They often sound like six-year-olds, hurling names, accusations and insults at one another on the playground.
 
They seem to take pleasure in the destruction of the character of an opponent.  Never mind the damage to family, all that matters is winning.  Lying, cheating and stealing are fair game, as long as a win follows.
 
It is hard to find hope for a nation with this type of leadership on both sides.
 
I’m reminded of Trey Gowdy, a former prosecutor and stellar lawyer, whose Christianity I admire greatly.  He has served in the Congress for eight years and has worked relentlessly to push this nation back towards God.
 
In January, he announced that he was not seeking re-election.  He was going back home to South Carolina, to be a full-time husband, father and prosecutor.  He was frustrated because he could get nothing done.
 
Why?  Because, he said, it’s all about winning; and only winning.  He said, in essence, “You might approve of what I accomplished 99% of the time, but if I did one thing you disagreed
 
 
with, you hated me, called me a turncoat, and lambasted me in the press.”
 
This was his experience in Washington…
 
He longed for the tradition of years past, when there was an air of friendship and respect; when leaders prayed together, ate together, and listened to one another.  Debate was dignified, and growing, not winning, was the goal.
 
I understand him completely.  Our church is a place of great tradition; tradition grounded in Almighty God, and Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.  It’s right there on the front of the bulletin: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but by Me.”  John 14:6
 
That’s the overriding tradition to come home to… Jesus Christ.  If that is where you find your security, your strength, your passion, then you can never look at the world and others as solely a win-loss proposition.
 
Because, if you do, you care not about your neighbor or your enemy, and Jesus commanded us to love both.  If your personal victory in every aspect, in every debate, in every issue, is your ultimate goal, then you will hurt a wealth of folks in your path.
 
You’ll be right in line with so many of the leaders in Washington, Raleigh, and down at City Hall.
 
Let’s shun that… for good.  I’ve made a decision to stop watching all the partisan bickering; all the analysis and what X said to Y, and how Y responded.  Of course, there is merit to keeping up with the major events, but, seriously, do we need to be glued to CNN and FoxNews 24-7 to be in the know?
 
Life is short.  We know this, especially in this church.  The person you hugged in church today may not be with us in a month… folks pass, folks move, folks have life changes that take them from us.
 
 
 
So let us treasure that which should be treasured:  Our Lord, our family and friends, our church family.  But especially, let’s treasure those long-standing Christian traditions that lead to salvation.
 
     “Holy Father, light our path back to You; Your ways, Your traditions and especially Your love, demonstrated in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
 
     In a world of division, temptation, and false promises, help us to break through the fog of relativity and cling to the certainty of Scripture.
 
     Bless our church, our homecoming, and all our members and friends, as we seek to come home to You, guided by Your light and helping others find the way to Your kingdom.
 
     Lead us on paths of righteousness, turning our backs to those who would draw us into the desire for victory at all costs.  We want to be Your children, Father.  We want to feel the security of Your love.  We want to come home.”
 
 
Amen.
  
 
  
                                                                                                                                     Yours in Christ,                                                                                                                                                                                      Pastor John