Category Archives: Pastor’s Page
February Newsletter 2017
Last week, a statue entitled, “Hands across the Divide” flashed on my computer screen. The long stretched arms of two people with fingers barely touching; the distance between their bodies, the stiffness and reluctance in their stance reflected our nation’s situation. There is a great divide and yet there are hands reaching out. The statue cast by Maurice is located in Northern Ireland, at the West end of Craigavon Bridge, Derry.
The Gratitude Challenge
“What if you woke up tomorrow with only the things (and people) you thanked God for?”
That quote stopped me from reading more. Just the thought that those things overlooked, undervalued or ignored would be gone. My socks along with loads of laundry, clean water from my faucet and bugs gone into hibernation would be gone. (I’m okay with stink bugs vanishing.) Seriously, the people in our lives are more important than the things. Have you thanked your child, your spouse, your sibling or a friend recently? We assume that those closest to us know we love them. But, how often do you thank them?
For a couple of decades, I have used the Three Year Common Lectionary for Sunday Morning Preaching. Protestants and Roman Catholic ministers chose a two or more scriptures from a common selection of Psalms, Old Testament, Gospel and Epistles. The challenge for preachers is finding the common theme in at least two of scriptures. A few years ago, I began using the alternative “Narrative Lectionary” for the summer worship services. Preaching a series on the Psalms or Wisdom Literature was satisfying for several reasons. One, there was a continuity of theme every Sunday. Two, it gave me the opportunity to preach on lesser known scripture passages or books. Three, the Narrative lectionary was not a forced lesson structure. Many of you responded positively to “summer series” preaching.
So, with the blessing of the Worship Committee, I am using the Narrative Lectionary in the autumn and winter and spring. Last month, I began at the very beginning, Genesis, telling the most famous stories of our faith; Creation, The Children of Abraham, and the Story of Jacob (Joseph and his brothers). During October, you will hear the “old, old stories” with relevant applications and current challenges. I hope you find this walk through the Bible instructive and inspiring. October will teach main lessons from Exodus, I and II Samuel and I Kings. I will also reference a Gospel lesson that relates to the Old Testament lesson. Please see the preaching schedule and scriptures listed. If you are interested in discussing these scriptures during the week, I would be happy to arrange a “sermon prep” chat.
One thing, on October 30, we will be celebrating All Saints Day with the naming of those who died this last year. If you have lost a loved one, member or not, I want to remember them in this special prayer service. Please send their name to the office and consider lighting a candle in either the first or second worship service. If you are unable to walk forward, an acolyte will light the candle while your loved one’s name is spoken. This was a very meaningful service last year. Considering how many people have died this year, I believe it will be comforting for the whole congregation,
May the blessings of our gracious God be with you,
Seven Summer Practices
It started with the Friday night book study discussion, ”Serve God, Save the Planet. “There is agricultural wisdom in the scriptural mandate to let a field rest or go fallow every seven years”, I added thinking this wisdom is common knowledge. “But, it’s been lost in our over scheduled lives”, the group chimed in. The concept of Sabbath, of sacred rest applies to all living things and should be revived. People need to rest after working six days. Keeping the Seventh day holy was not about piety as much as it is about keeping spiritually and physically healthy. God rested on the seventh day after working six days to create the world, why don’t you rest after work? The spiritual practice of stopping to rest at sunset is another way to keep in touch with the rhythm of the earth.
Ah, Spring! May is great month to celebrate all creation, flora and fauna and the human family. Every day, I notice another sign of life, budding trees, blossoming bulbs, and baby bunnies. Caring for God’s creatures and all of creation is a topic often discussed on Earth Day (April 22) However, I believe every day can be designated Earth Day, especially during spring time.
During April the Property Committee will install acoustical panels on the back wall of the sanctuary. A large percentage of bouncing sound will be absorbed by these thick panels. Hopefully, you will hear less reverberation and noise during the worship service. Bottom line, I want to know, “Can you hear me now?” An evaluation form will be distributed after the panels are in place. This improvement is one more step in the Capital Campaign vision.
February Newsletter 2016
Pastor Deborah’s Lenten Letter
“The glory of these forty days we celebrate with songs of praise;
For Christ by whom all things were made, himself has fasted and has prayed.” (The Glory of these Forty Days, vs. 1)
The forty days of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, February 10th and culminates with Easter Celebrating Christ’s Resurrection on March 27th.