Faith, …

January 29, 2014

Dear Linwood Family and Friends,

Christmas and New Year’s are long gone.  Lent and Easter are around the corner.  Though the snow is flying and the temperatures dropping, the days are lengthening.  And, we are less than four months away from the first Sunday in the 2014 Linwood season!

I want to personally acknowledge the “winter keepers of Linwood” – the year-long residents – who this winter are subjecting their bodies to sub-zero temperatures as they faithfully patrol the sacred ground on the shore of Lake Erie (now in its frozen manifestation).  I want to encourage those who, while not at Linwood, are toughing it out through a challenging winter; and I would like to congratulate those who managed to find a warm, sunny, cozy abode for the off-season.

In order to get in the mood for Linwood, Jan and I decided that it would be wise to engage in a little early (very early) “spring training.”  You know how the baseball teams gather in Florida or Arizona to get ready for their season?  Well, we are on an excursion to South Carolina, Florida, Texas, and back to Florida and South Carolina before heading home.  Getting ready for Linwood is not the only reason for this odyssey.  We do have family along the way and warm and sunny sounds really good regardless.  However, I have found myself thinking and praying and planning for Linwood 2014, and I am excited.

This year we are going to be celebrating “Faith, Family, and Friendships.”  Obviously this is not something new for Linwood.  These are the foundations of the Park from the very beginning, foundations that are still solid.  However, they are also foundations that we can never take for granted.

Just about everyone (and certainly just about everyone who is a part of Linwood) would profess that these three – faith, family, and friendships – are important, very important.  However just about everyone would also say that they are being challenged today more than they have ever been challenged in Linwood’s 130 year history.

Faith.  Everyone wants to be a person of “faith.”  But what is the object of that faith?  What – or who – do we believe in?  Where do we place our trust?  Where do we find our hope?  Where do we look for security?  The answers to those questions have never been more diverse – and, at times, more tragic or even more laughable!

Family.  Again everyone is a supporter of “the family.”  But what constitutes a family?  What makes a family normal – or healthy – or strong?  TV talk shows, magazine articles, and online resources will provide you with endless – and contradictory – answers to those questions!

Friendships.  Is there anyone who doesn’t want to have friends?  What does it take to be friends?  How do you hang in there with someone over the long haul?  How do you have time or emotional energy to invest deeply enough in another person to become real friends?  What if that person changes, moves, or dies?

I know that no one has all the answers for the questions we ask and the issues we face today as we consider faith, family, and friendships.  But I do know that Linwood is one of the best places to seek those answers!

Enjoy the rest of winter wherever you may be.  And, as the days grow longer and warmer think of Linwood and pray that you may be open to what the Lord has in store for you this season.

Blessings in Christ,

Hu Auburn, Park Pastor, Linwood Park

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