An Encouraging Word

“Love the new Vicar.” Pastor tasked you all with this exhortation when I first arrived last July. It is with great thankfulness that I can wholeheartedly say yes, you have loved the Vicar and his family. That said, I thought that it would be appropriate for my final newsletter as a Vicar to be one of encouragement. It’s something that we don’t always think about doing, but usually greatly appreciate - especially when we are on the receiving end.

Παρακαλέω (Parakaléō) “To encourage” is typically used in one of two senses. The first is exhortation and the second is comfort. Why is it so important to encourage one another? Sin. Because of sin we experience physical challenges as well as spiritual challenges in this life.

So, how do we encourage one another? One way is by listening. Active listening (e.g. confirming words, using appropriate body language) shows that we are listening and hearing people. It can sometimes be encouraging simply to know that you are being heard. And that leads into my next point.

Face-to-face conversations are important. Sunday morning is one of the main times when Pastor, Vicar, and parishioners get to interact with one another. These times may be brief (e.g. a quick passing in the greeting line), and it’s important to take these opportunities to encourage one another! This exhortation goes both ways. The struggles and stressors of the week often weigh you down and Sunday is your day of rest, when your batteries will be recharged. Perhaps Pastor or Vicar will give you that word of encouragement that you need to carry on. This is when you have the opportunity to build up your brothers and sisters in Christ. Keep in mind that Pastor and Vicar also need your encouragement.

And when face-to-face conversations are not possible, I still encourage you to be encouraging! There are many ways that you can do this (e.g. notes, cards, letters, emails, texts). People tend to save and re-read things that they find encouraging. Just consider how often Paul’s letters were re-read! When something is encouraging we ponder these things, we treasure up these things in our hearts.

We should not be like the man who says, “I told my wife I loved her when I married her, if anything changes I’ll let her know.” People need to be encouraged regularly! We find encouragement in God’s Word and God’s Word exhorts us to encourage one another: “Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Heb 10:24-25).

I encourage (wink wink) you to check out 1 Cor 1:4-9. If you know anything about the Corinthians, you know that they had issues (sexual immorality, idolatry, etc.)! The way Paul begins his letter is with thanksgiving, even as he addresses the challenges which the congregation has. Encouragement and building up often go hand in hand. Another example, in 2 Thessalonians (1:4) Paul builds up the people saying “we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions that you are enduring” and later on he encourages them saying, “stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter” (2 Thess 2:15). Encourage one another and build each other up in the faith, do it regularly, and may you be encouraged as well.

Your servant in Christ, Vicar Meier


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Wednesday Compline Service  7:00 PM

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Wednesday Night Service/Bible Study

The First Wednesday (June 2nd), the Service, beginning at 7:00 PM, will be Divine Setting Three, with Holy Communion. On Wednesdays (June 9th, 16th, 23rd, & 30th), the Service will be Compline, and will begin at 7:00 PM; there will be a Bible Study following the Services, in the Family Room. Private Confession and Absolution will be available from 6:15-6:45 PM, in Pastor Hromowyk’s Office, all Wednesdays (except June 30th), by appointment.