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Pastor's Pen: What's the Difference?

“But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do;

for it is written: be holy, because I am holy” -- 1 Peter 1:15-16

During the Christmas holidays, we see the repeated arrival of movies and shows that dominate our televisions. A Christmas Story, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, and A Charlie Brown Christmas are perennial favorites, but for many of us, Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life is required viewing for the season. In 1946, that movie starring Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed was released in theaters. However, the movie was seen as a box office flop. It was only years later on television that the film became a Christmas classic.

The story is about George Bailey, a building and loan banker, in the town of Bedford Falls. He has dreams of getting out of that “crummy little town,” but as challenges come, his moral sense for his friends and neighbors requires him to sacrifice his desires for the greater good. One fateful day, everything comes crashing down. His business and livelihood are threatened due to circumstances beyond his control. He wonders if his life has really been worth it. Pondering suicide, he says, “I wish that I had never been born.”

At that moment, an angel grants him that wish to show George how impactful his life has truly been. Every sacrifice and act of kindness changed Bedford Falls for the better. At the end of the movie, his friends respond to his hour of need as he had theirs.

On October 23, we celebrate Dedication Sunday at the First Presbyterian Church of Norwalk. On that Sunday, during the 8:30 am and 10:45 am worship services, we dedicate the pledges of church members and friends to support financially the congregation and our ministry here. Also, we invite you to join us for a special time of fellowship after the second worship service around noon.

During this season, as we reflect on the stewardship of our treasure, talents, time, and testimony, ask ourselves, “What’s the difference?” Like the Frank Capra movie, let’s consider what difference does God and the First Presbyterian Church make in our lives? If our ministries didn’t exist, what would be the impact? In a similar manner, the Apostle Paul imagines what difference the resurrection makes. If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, he writes, “we are of all people most to be pitied” (1 Corinthians 15:19). Without Christ, there is no forgiveness and no eternal life. Without the Church, we would not benefit from the worship, the fellowship, and the care. Without the First Presbyterian Church, Norwalk and our relationships would be poorer.

God has been good to us, and your participation in the life of the church makes our impact even stronger. At the end of the day, by the grace of God, we, like George Bailey, can say, “It’s a wonderful life.”

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