The Greatest Rescue

The Greatest Rescue

I love Festival of Hope weekend. It is so fun to watch boxes of product arrive in the weeks leading up to the event, and hear our pricing volunteers “ooh” and “ahh” at scarves, necklaces, and handbags as we pull them out of the boxes. I love the way the weekend makes our church buzz with excitement as we host our community and jumpstart the holiday season. I love that my Christmas shopping begins within the walls of a churchthe same place where I will spend the next four weeks of Advent waiting to celebrate the birth of Jesus. I love that by the end of Festival of Hope I have finished most of my Christmas shopping because there is something for everyone on my list! But more than that, I love that each product purchased throughout the weekend is a testimony to a God who seeks to rescue and restore us into right relationship with him. These products reflect the gifts of creativity and appreciation for beauty the God has placed in each of us in our own unique way. We see the incredible entrepreneurial spirit ingrained in humanity through social enterprise and cottage industries.

Festival of Hope causes us to step out of our place of convenience and authority to consider what it looks like to walk with the vulnerable through something as simple as buying a pound of fair trade coffee or decorating our homes with candles made by women who have been cast off by society.

When you look past the glittering displays and lovely things that are currently being unpacked in our Gathering Place, you will see a glimpse of a God who so loved us that he gave up his authority and place of convenience to take on the most helpless position, a baby, and live among us, and give his life that we might be in eternal relationship with him. You will see a God who can combine the stories of a mother in Kenya providing for her family by sewing and weaving purses with a mother in Gig Harbor who needs a bag to fit cheerios and diapers in so she might provide for her family. And we can step back and marvel at how our God uses things like jewelry and coffee as part of his redemptive plan for humanity. I invite you to come and see how our Lord uses beautiful things to change the world.

This last week as we prepared and planned and unpacked all those last-minute details for Festival of Hope, I found myself sitting in gratitude for how God uses things like coffee and chocolate to bring glory to His name.

Here’s what I mean: on Tuesday, Jason Yum, the associate pastor of New Hope Church in Kent, led our staff in a time of worship and communion. While we prepared to come to the table, Pastor Jason reminded us that the first Thanksgiving meal was a “rescue meal.” If help had not come from an unexpected place, those early pilgrims would have perished. In the same way, each time we come to the communion table, we are remembering the greatest rescue of all time. If had not been for help from an unexpected place, the broken body and shed blood of Jesus, we all would perish. But just as coffee and chocolate can remind us of God’s redemptive plan, so the common elements of bread and wine remind us of the greatest rescue of all time.

So this next Wednesday, as we prepare to bask in the many ways the Lord has blessed us, I invite you to come gather around the communion table with us at the Thanksgiving Eve worship service. Come and remember the Lord who uses that which is common and unexpected in order to redeem and rescue us.

Julie Hawkins
Director of Missions

A P.S. from Pastor Mark
You might have seen a uniformed police officer in our building last Sunday. This is one of several changes we are initiating to heighten security during these uncertain times. Another change will impact you and I want solicit your support and patience. All of our security consultants are astounded by the number of access points into our facility: 11! This makes it difficult to secure our building. Beginning as soon as possible, we will reduce the number of open doors and will remind you of these changes through signage. I realize this will be inconvenient for some until you adjust your habits. I’m afraid it is the price of prudence; thank you for understanding.

One last thing: if you are an active law enforcement officer and are willing to serve as part of our security team, I would like to meet with you between services on Sunday, December 10, in the Board Room on the third floor. I hope you will join me.

Pastor Mark