Pastor Chad Werkhoven of Worthington (Minn.) Christian Reformed Church has noticed a dissatisfaction with 2020, to put it mildly. “We have been living in a wrecked year,” Werkhoven said. “So many of us want to get to something different.”
Werkhoven is leading an Advent series called, “From Wrecked to Redeemed,” a four-part sermon series that will recall Jesus’ beginnings and the redemption he brought forth. The church is working its way through Matthew’s account of the Christmas story in the weekly services and at home readings. Two sisters, Kia Nystrom and Tae Nordby, put together home kits for church members. Each kit includes a scroll for the daily reading and an activity or small gift. There are 20 scrolls in all.
Beth Bosma-Prins, a congregant and essential care worker, dropped off a kit for a 96-year-old woman who cannot attend church due to the risks of the COVID-19 pandemic. Bosma-Prins said she received a note from the woman thanking Bosma-Prins for the delivery. It made her feel like she was still a part of the church. “Everyone is connected through these scrolls and activities,” Bosma-Prins said.
In Werkhoven’s first sermon in the series Dec. 6, he covered Matthew 1:1-17. He titled the sermon “A Wrecked Family” and considered the messy genealogy of Jesus and the redemption God brought out of that situation.
“None of us wants to be in a wrecked family. We want to look like everything is OK,” said Bosma-Prins. “But if we believe we are covenantal, we can see ourselves through these stories. We get to share that inheritance.”
Congregant Kel Vande Kamp also sees the hope to come. “We take a look at the life of Jesus in the first few chapters of Matthew, and we see what kind of world he lived in. It was a wrecked world then, and it’s wrecked now, but we can be redeemed.”
Werkhoven is new to Minnesota (he moved from California in 2019) and writes a monthly column for Worthington’s local newspaper, The Globe. He said, “Most months, I try to have a little fun with Minnesota culture since I'm new to it and then use examples of some of our strangeness to illustrate theological concepts.”