Thoughts from the Pastor
who do not follow the advice of the wicked,
or take the path that sinners tread,
or sit in the seat of scoffers;
but their delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law they meditate day and night.
They are like trees
planted by streams of water,
which yield their fruit in its season,
and their leaves do not wither.
In all that they do, they prosper.”
What does it mean to be planted?
For the past couple of months, my life has been consumed by moving—preparing to move, packing, moving, unpacking, and settling in. Every time I move I think about how wonderful it would be to give up all my earthly possessions and be utterly unburdened by all of this stuff, as I find myself completely overwhelmed by how many things I have and how long the process takes. But as the piles of boxes start to disappear, clothes are put in closets and books are put on bookshelves, I can happily report that I am beginning to settle in here at #44.
The biggest part of moving isn’t the boxes and the stuff, though. The biggest part of moving is getting to know the new place where you’ve been led—the soil in which you are now planted. Where you get your groceries, where to run for late night/last minute needs, and the precise location of the best pizza in town, are, of course, the practical essentials, but even more important is getting to know the people around you. This is the real community, and if the people are friendly, welcoming, and genuine—you’ve probably landed in a good place.
In the first Psalm, the psalmist uses the image of trees planted by streams of water. They prosper because they are planted in an environment that nurtures them. It follows that if you find a lot of flourishing trees, you can assume the environment is a healthy one.
While I’ve had the honor of joining you all in worship many times, I’ve only officially spent a few short weeks in South River. But in that time I have been so thoroughly welcomed in by everyone I’ve met, and deeply impressed by your passion for serving the community here in town. I know this congregation has been through rough times in the recent past—but it is clear to me that this group gathered here on Thomas St. is filled with trees planted by streams of water. God never promises that the path will be easy. But it is plain to me that God has nourished the ground here for the work that will be done—and I am grateful to be planted here with all of you.