Here are some opportunities for group formation!
Discussion Group with First Church of Christ, Scientist – Sunday, May 24, 7:00-8:00 PM. We will discuss the article “Isolation, Loneliness, and Marginalization.” Please join us to build friendships and discuss important topics.
Sacred Ground with the West Mission Area – Sign up here to join the third round of this transformative curriculum about racism, beginning in June.
Bible study continues – Wednesday nights at 7 PM. All are welcome any week! We are studying Acts and stopped around chapter 10.
Walking with you on Jesus’ Way of Love,
We pause today to remember the sacrifices of those military members who were killed or missing in action and their families. Click for more resources.
Attention families with children: Family Sunday School is now available! Click here for a 14-minute video with Bible story, prayer, song, and activity suggestions especially for families.
Family Sunday School Lesson
It’s almost Pentecost, and we need YOU! We are looking for pictures or short videos (10 seconds or less) of you: wearing red, blowing bubbles, speaking in different languages, strong winds, flames in your fire pit…any creative ideas! Send them to Jennifer V. to be included in a montage on Pentecost.
Environmental Stewardship Team
Let’s talk about a sustainable approach to food! The Environmental Team will be providing ideas and tips. This week, Kris Martz shares her efforts to grow food from kitchen scraps. The picture above is romaine lettuce after only one week! Click below to visit a website with other suggested veggies to grow from scraps.
A Sermon on the Seventh Sunday of Easter
By The Rev. Dr. J. Paul Board May 24, 2020
Happy Memorial Day Weekend.
I hope you are able to get outside and enjoy the beautiful weather. I hope to go kayaking. I bought a new kayak. I ordered it last February. It was a winter sale and I got a great price. I left it in the box until about a month ago. Then I took it out of the box and laid it out on my garage floor. It’s inflatable. I inflated it. But it did not hold air. The left side had a leak. I called up the company. They said no problem, just send it back. It cost THEM $70 to mail it back. The called me and said yes, it must have been damaged in shipping. Well hmm, there was no damage to the shipping box, but whatever.
They said they would send me a new boat. Unfortunately, the product is on backorder until May 18. Well, May 18 has come and gone. It still hasn’t shipped. I am still waiting. I told this story because patience is an underlying theme to my sermon. Stick with patience while I preach.
We are in 1 Peter again this week. I am amazed at how relevant the text is to our COVID-world. When Peter talks about suffering for Christ, he was not referring to a virus. The context of his day was persecution of faith. People were suffering because they were Christian. Yet, this passage speaks directly to us in our COVID world.
Peter says, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that is taking place among you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you are sharing Christ’s sufferings, so that you may also be glad and shout for joy when his glory is revealed.”
We are being tested, in a manner. The call is strong to open up the churches. Let’s get back to worship. But we aren’t coming back at St. Paul’s anytime soon. Not in June. I don’t know about July. The temptation is strong.
My clergy friends feel the pressure. They are struggling on two levels. Members want to come back, so that is pressure. But there is also a feeling of competition with neighboring churches. Clergy feel if they don’t open then the people will leave for a church that is open. It’s a fair response. I mean the anxiety is fair.
But we are going to hold true to our safety guidelines. We are not opening soon. Jennifer shared a meme with me. I share it here.
Our bible study is currently reading Acts. This is the very thing we talked about last week. You are always invited to pop in. Please join us for bible study on Wednesday evenings.
It is not just Acts. There are stories all throughout the Bible of theophany. God speaks to people in primarily two ways. Angels and dreams. It’s about a 50/50 split. Half are direct conversations with God/angel. Half are dreams. Think about the Christmas story. An angel visited Mary twice. But Joseph received his messages in dreams, twice.
I know we want to come back to church. We are all very anxious and impatient. But maybe we are so anxious to come back, we might be missing the theophanies right in front of us, on the roads and rooftops, the trails and the river (if I ever get my kayak).
More words from Peter: Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you. Discipline yourselves, keep alert. Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in your faith, for you know that your brothers and sisters in all the world are undergoing the same kinds of suffering. And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, support, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the power forever and ever.
How remarkable for our time. The virus — like a roaring lion our adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour. I didn’t make this up. Peter said this.
Steadfast in your faith.
Our brothers and sisters in all the world are undergoing the same suffering.
After a little while, Christ will restore us.
Christ will strengthen us.