How often have I prayed that line to God? The same line the disciples said to Jesus. Don’t you care? Why was Jesus sleeping during the storm? Was it in fact that he didn’t care about the disciples? Was it because he didn’t love and cherish them? Was it because he didn’t want them to be safe and to have a full vibrant life? Of course, we know the answer is no. Of course, we know that Jesus cared. Can we also believe that God cares about us in the storms of our life? Even when our prayers aren’t answered immediately or in the manner we expected. Can we trust that God’s perspective is better than our own and that his love and care and desire for our well being have not and will never diminish? Let’s explore the difference between our perspective and God’s this week
The sun is setting and the wind is bringing in a cool summer breeze. Around you are the noises of preschoolers gathering pine cones and teenagers whispering about their week. People are dressed in sweatshirts and jeans, sometimes even the pastor, and it’s not uncommon to see a youth arrive in their soccer uniform straight from practice. The lights twinkle above you as the beautiful contemplative music brings you to focus on worship. All ages of the Body of Christ surround you as you settle into Wednesday Night LIGHT (Living Into God’s Holy Truth).
Our new mid-week service began as a way to provide an outdoor worship experience in the midst of a pandemic and a short but meaningful service for our young confirmation students, but it has since become a special atmosphere all its own. Our Wednesday Night LIGHT Service is casual and welcoming, literally a beacon of light to the community that drives and walks by. It has become an inter-generational service where all ages are able to enjoy faith in a different way than the average Sunday morning service.
The service itself is only thirty to forty minutes long complete with violin and piano-led music and contemporary liturgy. After the service, we are offering a special small group for young adults led by Michaela Eskew, the Minister of Faith Formation and our two pastors. The intention of this small group is to foster community and allow for open and honest conversation about living our faith in an ever-changing world.
It truly is a unique worship experience and we hope you all will try it at least once this Summer!
“The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground,” -Mark 4: 26
This verse has oddly been with my all day without my knowing it was part of the preaching text for this coming Sunday. I’ve been thinking about the seeds that we scatter and how some of them take and some of them we’re not quite sure. Just this past weekend I was pulling weeds and planting some new shrubs and flowers. I had a little spot that a few plants share, one of the plants is lavender. It’s come up for the last few years and I always love the smell (sometimes I even use it in shortbread), but this year it just looked dead. So I thought I was being patient, I’ve given it time and kept looking to see if anything was sprouting. For weeks it has just looked like it was a lost cause. So as I went about pulling up all the weeds and a few other forlorn shrubs, I headed for the lavender plant. I started to gently tug on it, brushed some dirt off, felt some resistance and looked a little closer. I saw a few green sprouts at the bottom, almost hiding under the dead, dried up stalks. I pulled one out, rubbed it between my fingers and it smelled like beautiful lavender. I gently patted it back down, gave it a little water and plant food, and I’m hoping I didn’t damage it when I had almost given up on it.
The seeds have been scattered and God cares for and loves his creation. No matter how scraggly the seeds or the branches look, no matter how parched or dead they seem, God is in, with and under them. It’s up to us to not disrupt them, but to care for His creation, to be patient as the seeds come to life, and to feed and water the seeds in ways that are life-giving. Do no harm, for God is always with us.
I’m not sure we can ever overestimate the significance of that first line of the Lord’s prayer. Jesus teaches us to pray “our father.” That is we are invited to call the creator of the universe—Dad. And in Romans 8, Paul says that we get to go even further and call God ‘Abba.’ That is a term of endearment for a Dad, like papa or daddy. It’s a term of closeness and intimacy and trust. That’s the kind of relationship Jesus has shared with us. I guess the question for us is what needs to change within us that we would begin to speak with God as our papa, our dad?
Council had already decided to remove capacity limits and registration requirements for worship beginning on June 6th, but with the recent lifting of the mask mandates we see no reason to delay. So beginning this Sunday, Pentecost, you will no longer be required to register for worship. If you haven’t yet been vaccinated or are only partially vaccinated please continue to wear a mask. See you Sunday!
I’ve been thinking a lot about community lately. Our community held strong during the pandemic, but it was stretched and tested and we have some rebuilding work to do, especially among our young families and young adults. Pentecost is the church’s celebration of the work of the Holy Spirit. God unleashed the Holy Spirit on Pentecost to share the good news of Jesus. But what strikes me is how the Holy Spirit chose a festival day when representatives of the whole human community were gathered in Jerusalem. People from every tribe and tongue. The work of the Holy Spirit is a work of rebuilding community, rebuilding the human community by uniting all people in Christ. As we work with the Spirit and the Spirit works through us we will find ourselves doing that same work of rebuilding. May God smile on our efforts!