From the Pastor

in Poetry

2015-05 Our Church Matters Message

Dear Friends,

New life and the power to live as God calls us. That’s what this month holds for us. The Great Fifty Days of Easter are only about half over as we move into May, and Pentecost with its fire and stirring wind will blow through us before the month is over. It is so fitting that we will be celebrating several baptisms, confirmations and new members this month!

Please remember that we will have only one service at 10 am on Pentecost Sunday when we celebrate our Confirmation Class. Coffee, juice and other light refreshments will be available immediately following the service so that the congregation may greet the Confirmands and their families.(The service will be a little longer than usual, but this is a once-in-a-lifetime event for these young people, and it is our opportunity to show them our love and support!)

In her book, Teaching a Stone to Talk, Annie Dillard wrote:

On the whole, I do not find Christians, outside the catacombs, sufficiently sensible of the conditions. Does anyone have the foggiest idea what sort of power we so blithely invoke? Or, as I suspect, does no one believe a word of it? The churches are children playing on thefloor with their chemistry sets, mixing up a batch of TNT to kill a Sunday morning. It is madness to wear ladies' straw hats and velvet hats to church; we should all be wearing crash helmets. Ushers should issue life preservers and signal flares; they should lash us to our pews. For the sleeping god may wake some day and take offense, or the waking god may draw us out to where we can never return.

When I think about Pentecost, I think of Annie Dillard. Power. I love that last half-sentence: “…the waking god may draw us out to where we can never return.” What if? We do like to keep things comfortable, the way we like them, the way we are used to them. The “comfort” that Jesus
spoke of when he was leaving the disciples, was comfort to sustain them in the danger of continuing his ministry. The Comforter (the Holy Spirit) was to come to remind them of Jesus’ teachings and to keep them on track – moving into God’s reality instead of “business as usual.” What if the Comforter is moving us powerfully into ministry that demands hard hats instead of Easter bonnets? 

As we look forward to those baptisms, confirmations, and new member celebration, pray. Pray that as these beloved take a new place in the faith family, they will bring with them the fresh wind of the Spir-it, sharing insight and the nudging of that Spirit toward ministry that is powerful and life-changing – for all of us!

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Mid-Week 2015-04-29

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Dear Friends,

I want to express my thanks to everyone who contributed to a meaningful service of prayer for peace in Baltimore last evening:

  • Kelly Fairhurst and the Sisterhood and Judy Wright for the basic idea and their help in pulling everything together. There was a carload of water, snacks and wipes taken to White Marsh last night to be shared with the police and fire fighters who are on duty for long, long shifts.
  • Washed Anew and Bill Myers for providing wonderful music that formed the foundation of our prayers and meditation. 
  • Robine for getting the service materials ready in a jiffy. 
  • Pat Botelle for operating the computer so we had a lovely centering video and worship materials on-screen.

There were people from several churches in Reisterstown, and 3 pastors participated as well: Jeannie Marsh from Glyndon UMC, Tim Feaser from Trinity Lutheran, and Benjamin Sanchez from Nueva Jerusalem. This is a time when we need to join in prayer for the community as a community, and I am so grateful that the community did come together.

This has been a week of heartbreak, fear and anger for our City and surrounding counties. It is essential that we, as people of faith, join hands and hearts in prayer and in speaking peace to the community and to the young people who are confused and fearful. I spoke with two of our local school principals yesterday, and they both said that there is a lot of fear and a lot of texting going on. One of the principals said that they had a very good, calm day at his school yesterday but that a rumor in the community frightened parents and about 30 parents came and took their children out of school because of the rumor. We need to ask questions rather than act on “information” that comes from texting or speculation, modeling calm and peace in our actions as people of faith.

This coming Sunday, we will explore the story of Philip and the Ethiopian official who was traveling from Jerusalem to his home in Africa. The story raises these questions for our consideration:
Midweek Provocative Questions

  • How do you know when God is speaking to you?
  • When you feel that God is speaking to you, what do you do?

Mark Your Calendar! Schedule Change for May 24
There will be one worship service only at 10 am on Sunday, May 24, for CONFIRMATION SUNDAY. On that day, the youth who have made a decision about confirming their baptismal covenant, will promise for them-selves that they will follow Jesus. We love baptisms – and participating in confirmation is a vital part of our promise to these young people to support them in their faith journey. Please make an extra effort to be pre-sent for worship, to stay for a few minutes afterwards for some punch and cookies and to express your love for these kids on this day that should be one of their “life moments.”

Have a great week!
Blessings on you,

Vivian

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