A Note from Stephen-December

In an article published in the December 2005 issue of Presbyterian Outlook, Timothy Read, a minister from Charlottesville, Virginia began an article with these carefully chosen words:

Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at an Elingsh uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht frist and lsat ltteer is at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lteter by itselef but the wrod as a wlohe.

He concludes by saying that
“What I think is that we are inhibited by our sense of being less than perfect people to share with others the good news of God’s love. We seem to think that unless we do it perfectly, we should do it at all. But is we truly mean to show love and concern, that Christ is the beginning and the end of all that we do. “I am the Alpha and the Omega” says Jesus, the beginning and the end. No matter how mixed up we are in between, the message of God’s love in Christ will be communicated to those who need it most.”

The English writer G. K. Chesterton, author of such classic Christian works as St. Francis and Orthodoxy, was making the same point when he wrote: “If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.”
We often fail to express our love and good will to others because we are afraid of not doing it perfectly, but in fact the message we need to share with our family, friends, and neighbors is that
It dseon’t mtaetr how ipmrfecet you tnhik you are:
God lvoes you mroe than you can eevr konw.

I take great comfort in what Read and Chesterton say because I am so keenly aware, in my last Christmas with First Presbyterian Church as your pastor, of how far short of perfect have been my efforts to fulfill my pastoral responsibilities, and the many mistakes I have made in my ministry among you. And yet I hope that in spite of my imperfections, I have sometimes been able to let others know the important truth, that God loves you more than you can ever know—and so do I. Merry Christmas, and may 2018 truly be a year of in which we all know that the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the communion of the Holy Spirit is with us all, and always.