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United Church of Christ
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285 West National Drive
Newark, Ohio 43055
(740) 323-2407


Pastor's message

2019 October message

Dear members and friends of St. John’s:

On my way to work one morning, I was startled by the sound of a horn. It wasn’t a “Get going because the light has changed” kind of beep.” It was a, “Hi, how are things going” kind of beep from a truck driver to children waiting for the school bus.

Someone had taught these kids to “reach up and grab the strap.”

The best way to get a honk remains refreshingly simple: “Come up beside us and do an arm pump,” says Robert Kulp, a driver who caught up with fatherly.com while hustling down the road between Maryland and North Carolina. “That’s how we know they want the horn blown. I love it when they ask.

By the way, it also works for trains. At the Starlight Programs in Zanesville, where I was previously employed, the break area ran up against train tracks that ran alongside the Muskingum River.

This time of year, when sound really carries, you could hear them coming miles away! When we did the arm pump, the engineer always, “toot, tooted!” back.

He was close enough that we could easily see his smile and wave of the hand. And we always smiled and waved back in response.

In the Bible, a friendly greeting is known as a holy kiss.

“Greet one another with the kiss of love. Peace to all of you who are in Christ.” 1 Peter 5:14

So let’s be on the lookout for those who are in need of a holy kiss. Get close enough for a smile, a wave, a toot of the horn or any random act of kindness. Take the time to say, “Hi, how are things going?” They will love it if you ask.

Any one of these refreshingly simple expressions of hope, joy and love, can set the tone for the whole day and make all the difference in the world.

“Therefore encourage one another, and build one another up, just as you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11

And as the hymn in our Chalice Hymnal says, “They’ll know we are Christians by our love.”

In Christ’s love,

Rev. Mark

Rev. Mark Katrick