Please come and join us every Sunday
Sunday School at 9am and Worship at 10am
First Congregational United Church of Christ, Watertown, SD Welcoming Statement
Based on welcoming statement from Prince of Peace Lutheran, Philadelphia, PA
Who is welcome here?
If you are Asian, Hispanic, Native American, Black, White, or multi-racial . . .
If you are three days old, 30 years old, or 103 years old . . .
If you are male or female or transgender . . .
If you are a Republican, Democrat, Independent, or not registered to vote . . .
If you are single, married, divorced, separated, or partnered . . .
If you are straight, gay, lesbian, or bisexual . . .
If you are Catholic, Lutheran, Baptist, Methodist, Jewish, Buddhist, atheist, agnostic, or a life-long Congregationalist . . .
If you have never set foot in a church, attend only on Easter and Christmas, or attend every Sunday . . .
If you are fully-abled, living with a disability, or a person of differing abilities . . .
If you have or had addictions, phobias, mental illness, or physical illness . . .
If you own your own home, rent, live with your parents, or are homeless . . .
YOU ARE WELCOME HERE!
This congregation is committed to being a loving and welcoming community.
In faithfulness to God, and to the best of our ability, we work to provide programs, ministries, fellowship, and pastoral care to all who seek God in this place.
We dedicate ourselves to living the UCC church’s motto:
“No matter who you are, no matter where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here!”
Pastor’s February Message...
"The Substance of Faith"
"What we see now is like a dim image in a mirror; then we shall see face-to-face. What I know now is only partial, then it will be complete - as complete as God's knowledge of me. Meanwhile these three remain: faith, hope, and love; and the greatest of these is love." -I Corinthians 13:12 & 13 (GNT)
Faith, hope and love - three familiar words from a familiar chapter in Scripture. I Corinthians 13 is the well known "love" chapter. We often miss what the Apostle Paul is saying at the end of the chapter because our attention is drawn to the poetic beauty of the earlier part of the chapter. So let's take another look at these ending words with out being distracted by verses 1-11. As I read the first part of verse 13, "Meanwhile these three remain..." I began thinking, 'wait, what is he referring to?' When I looked back to verse 12, I saw something I had not seen before.
Paul tells his readers that life is like looking in at yourself in an old mirror and we only know a part of what is happening. This can be frustrating and even depressing when we think of the problems we face in life. We are dealing with vexing issues and we want to know how to solve the problem. We very much want to have the answers to the questions of life. Paul assures us that one day we will see clearly and that sometime in the future we will understand completely, but in the mean time we have to live with just some of the pieces of the puzzle.
It is with this backdrop that Paul writes: "Meanwhile these three remain: faith, hope, and love..." Maybe you're like me and you're scratching your head, thinking, 'okay, and how is this supposed to help?' Concepts like faith, hope and love can seem empty, ethereal and without substance. How are they supposed to help us with our life's problems?
Let's think about faith for now (we can look at hope and love some other time). Our culture tends to look at faith as something blind, as a leap in the dark, or empty of reality. This is because we are conditioned to look at the world in concrete terms. We want things documented, substantiated and supported by evidence. This way of thinking struggles with the reality of a world where there are lots of puzzles, mysteries and unknowns. We will never in this life know and understand everything and we are constantly called upon to make decisions based on an incomplete picture. No wonder we are uncomfortable with faith!
Faith challenges us to trust our lives to a mystery and to an unknown. Praise God that we are not left to our own uncertainties, because God journeys with us into the dimly viewed future and walks with us into the mystery! We can celebrate that we have a Savior who has answers to our questions and goes with us through our struggles in life. Because of this, we have hope, remembering that the greatest of these is love!
To get a good perspective on faith, read Hebrews 11; also, read the rest of I Corinthians 13, and praise God that God loves you with a perfect love!
Grace and peace,