by Bob Wickizer

Land, Repair and Take Off Again
Rev. Bob Wickizer
Job 19:23-27; Psalm 17:1-8; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-3:5; Luke 20:27-38
11 November 2001

My father was a navigator in the Army-Air Force during World War II flying missions in Germany, Italy and eventually North Africa. Although he passed away ten years ago, I still remember some advice he would give me at various times whether we were working on an engineering project or whether he was giving me advice about the working world. He said that when he served as navigator he always flew with one eye focused on their planned heading and another eye looking out for places to land in case of engine failure.

I tell you this story anticipating a stewardship shortfall that to some churches would seem disastrous. Taking an already slashed budget from last year, adding a $20,000 deficit from last year and then make a parish work with 20% less income than last year. This sounds like engine failure to me. So together we are going to have to get this aircraft called St. Philip's on the ground safely, repair it and get in the air again where the Holy Spirit can send us where it will. Right now as your navigator, I am looking for a place to land.

We have many fully understandable and forgivable reasons for the engine failure this year. But before enumerating some of these reasons let me tell you that for an aircraft, engine failure does not necessarily mean the plane is breaking apart. It simply means that we must get the aircraft on the ground and fix it. In our church metaphor, God gives us a place to land and a place to repair the body of Christ before we become airborne again and that's Good News. Our stewardship has NOT failed. We are simply experiencing some setbacks as a result of national anxiety about the future, an economic downturn that was in the works before September 11 and a model of parish ministry characterized by a high energy burst of activity, rapid burnout and insufficient follow-up. Final ...

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