God's Creative Imagination
(Posted November 14, 2019)
Mission Moments tells stories of how United Chruch of Christ congregations are connected to the wider church. It is published by the United Church of Christ.
Twenty-third Sunday after Pentecost
Listen for the still speaking voice God who declares through the prophet, “I am about to create new heavens and a new earth…”
Two families of German Lutheran immigrants heard the voice in the middle of the 1800’s when they traveled to Galveston, Texas in a leaky boat that nearly sank in the Gulf of Mexico. The immigrants listened to God’s voice declaring that a new creation was coming as they gathered with a few other Germans who had already settled in the area. Together, the families founded a Lutheran church which they named St. Peter’s.
The church members kept listening for the still speaking God, when yellow fever decimated the community twice in the next twenty years. And then they listened again when their church building burnt down a few years after that. They heard God declare a new creation was already being imagined and it gave them hope in those difficult times.
In 1937, St. Peter’s adapted again, changing its worship services from German speaking to English speaking. And then, in the 1950’s, there was a new creation again when the church joined the newly formed United Church of Christ.
Recently, St. Peter’s United Church of Christ changed again. The small, white, traditional congregation merged with Houston’s Cathedral of Hope – a tiny satellite of the huge LGBTQ congregation Cathedral of Hope in Dallas. Cathedral of Hope-Houston’s pastor is African American and openly gay. The small congregation had started off as a renter at St. Peter’s, but then they approached the church asking how they could afford necessary physical plant updates. Instead, representatives of St. Peter’s proposed a merger. That’s the how the church became what it is today – God’s new creation called St. Peter United. The congregation had once again listened to the still speaking God’s declaration that a new creation was being brought to life.
In just a little under two hundred years God has made many changes at St. Peter’s. They were not changes that the founders could have imagined because God’s imagination is so far beyond anything our human minds can create.
Listen, God is still speaking! “I am about to create new heavens and a new earth.” Pay attention to what God’s creative imagination might have in store for you and your community.