Pastor's Letter - March
Grace and Peace to you from God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen!
Playing trumpet was the first thing I ever remember being truly good at. I started in fourth grade, and I decided to try it because I thought since it only had three keys, it would be easy.
It wasn't easy. At first I sounded like some kind of honking animal. I probably annoyed my family with rehearsing for lessons, and I kept it up.
Wouldn't you know it, at some point I didn't sound too bad. I started to sound pretty good, in fact, good enough to be a part of the Schuylkill Youth Symphony Orchestra and also to be the principal chair of the Schuylkill County band two years in a row. I would continue playing in college, where again I was first chair trumpet for Susquehanna's Symphonic Band.
It's the first thing that I truly became good at. And in many ways, even though I no longer play regularly, I think of myself as a trumpet player.
This weekend I found out that my elementary school band director, and the man who taught me how to make more than a honk out of the horn, was arrested because he made inappropriate contact with a minor. He's no longer at my old school, but he's been teaching forever and was finally going to retire this year at 71 years old. I haven't talked to him in years, but I always thought of him fondly. I tried every sport and failed, but under this man's tutelage I really succeeded at something.
As I write this, I'm still reeling. I'm trying to make sense of what happened. In some ways, this puts a dark pall over many of my favorite memories from school. I am thinking of this man's children, both of whom I maintain occasional contact with.
What happened was terrible and I am certainly not going to try to put a positive spin on it. But I will say this- I've had many conversations this week with former bandmates. We are all going through the same spiral of emotions- sadness, disappointment, betrayal. But we are supporting each other through this in our conversations. We are holding this man's family in prayer (for those of us who pray).
The truth of it is that life is touched by sin. For all of us. Maybe you at one point had a cherished memory that was darkened by an unexpected revelation. Maybe you learned something about someone you respected that had you questioning things. We all know that the Church has not been without these kinds of things happening.
Our faith does indeed speak to this. In scripture, the disciples often disappoint Jesus. They say things that lead him to exclaim to them things like "ye of little faith". For the eleven remaining after Jesus' death, they all feel betrayed by Judas when all is said and done. But the story doesn't end there.
Through the work of the Holy Spirit, they start the church and breathe life into a world that desperately needed it. They spread the Gospel to lands near and far, and even though they were living under much risk, they succeeded in sharing the word of Jesus Christ to the point that 2,000 years later, here we are.
There will always be darkness and sin. It will indeed be inside of us to some degree. But we have the power of the Holy Spirit that pushes us to rise and be about proclaiming God's love to the world!
Peace be with you on the way,