"We exist to love and serve God, and to help all people know and experience the love of Jesus Christ."
Pastor: Reverend Matt Coplen
Bio coming soon.
“He liked the mere act of reading, the magic of turning scratches on a page into words inside his head.”
― John Green, An Abundance of Katherines
I love words, especially the written word – novels that entertain or educate or do both; articles in newspapers or magazines that tell a person’s story and make me feel at least a little bit as though I’m living in it; poems that paint a picture in my mind of what it was like for the poet to walk beside the ocean or stand upon the mountain or drink a cup of coffee at the kitchen table as the day began and the family hurried into and out of the doorways to work and school and play. Words matter to me – choosing the right ones, stringing them together in a way that tells the story and pleases the ear and tickles the fancy of the mind. Words matter.
We know the power of words. Words can lift up or bring down. Words can exalt or demean. Words can break a heart open to a bigger world or words can just break a heart. Words can be weapons or salves. Words can inform, delight, wound and heal. Words can speak truth to power or spread a lie about weakness. I knew a guy when I lived in Arkansas who had a way with words – I used to say that he could take a short story and make it a long one and people loved him for it. Words matter.
Words also last – whether the speaker or writer wants them to or not. The Gettysburg Address is 187 magnificent words pulled together in such a way that the nation has long remembered them, despite President Lincoln saying within the address that the world would not long remember what was said in Gettysburg, but rather what was done there. Words matter.
I’m thinking today about the power of words as a pastor, as someone who is sometimes asked to offer guidance or counsel or wisdom; as someone who moderates the Session and writes the weekly liturgy; who offers prayers.
I’m thinking today about the power of words as a preacher, as the person who stands in or near the pulpit and proclaims God’s Word, who meditates upon a scripture passage, who dives into commentaries and sermons and theology books, and who reflects upon the lives we are all living and seeks to speak to them and of them in concert with God’s Word. What is the Lord saying to us today? But I confess to thinking especially about the power of words in regard to being a person: a husband, a father, a son, a brother, a friend, and an enemy. And I know that there are times my words have failed. I’ve wounded. I’ve insulted. I’ve demeaned. I’ve failed to express my love or communicate my feelings. I’ve made someone cry and not because they were happy. But hopefully I’ve also lifted up. Hopefully I’ve also given confidence when someone has fallen or comfort when someone has stumbled or congratulations when someone has succeeded. There have been moments when my heart has been full to overflowing with love and admiration and thankfulness and hopefully in some small way my words have given form to what I’m feeling.
Each of us has great power simply with the use of words. In our world of the 21st century, it seems more and more important that we choose our words carefully. We say much however few or many words we use.
Secretary: Bonnie Sullivan
Office hours: Monday - Friday 9:00am - 12:00pm