Work and Pray
Lets Talk About Fearhttps://open.spotify.com/playlist/1y6DHASY61DNB0YkflHA3K
To make a paper crane visit this video, or search for another. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ux1ECrNDZl4&t=19s
Thoughts on returning to worship at St. Andrew’s Church,
I do not use the language of “reopening” our church because we have never been closed. The doors may be closed but the church is still very much in operation. The Old Testament book of Nehemiah tells the story of the Jewish people coming out of the exile and rebuilding the city of Jerusalem. One fascinating part of the story is where Nehemiah lists all the people working next to each other. Each family and group working next to one another to repair the walls, rebuilding the Temple and repair everything that was broken.
Sometime in the (hopefully) near future we will come out of our pandemic exile. Our building has not been destroyed so the physical work is minimal. We will need to rethink how we do our worship services for a while. No one is sure of when a social “reopening” will happen. So we have begun to put together some plans not knowing the date or even the season.
It seems likely that the reopening of the economy and the return to workplaces will happen gradually. Therefore, I imagine our reopening happening in stages as well. Stage one, would allow smaller groups of people to gather. We can put together multiple worship services, perhaps a bit shorter than usual to accommodate only 20 or 30 people. Family groups can be spread out enabling strict social distancing. An online reservation system can be created (like an evite) to ensure that a certain number of family groups can be accommodated.
As we worshipped before the shutdown was enacted, our opening services would be “contactless.” Physical contact through handshaking, pass the offering plate and the passing of the peace can be eliminated. There are even safe and contact-free ways to participate in communion by using pre-packaged communion juice and wafer kits which we have already ordered.
Once further deemed safe, we can suspend these measures and revert to some of our more traditional methods of “doing” church. Church may look and feel different for a while. I am sure the city of Jerusalem before the exile and after its repair looked different. Before the exile, during and after, God was worshipped, people forgiven and welcomed. Our community will be fine, before the pandemic, during the shut down and after-we are a people worshipping God, being forgiven and welcoming others.
See you online, Pr. Dave
Intentionality– part two
Over the last year, Sarah and I seem drawn to the word “intentionality.” Coming from her deep love and practice of yoga, intentionality is something we work on everyday. Somedays our goals for the day get accomplished, sometimes we have to rethink them in light of their non-fruition. Last month I told you about three intentions I have set. One in the spiritual realm, one physical and one for the benefit of our family.
I am working towards reading the Bible in about a year. It’s a big goal, I’m about 10% done. I find breaking down big goals into smaller bits makes it seem much more manageable. 11 chapters of the Bible is 1%. Can I read 11 chapters in a week? Can you? Yeah, no matter how busy we claim our lives to be, we set our own intentions. 22 chapters a week for a year and you’ll read the whole thing in a year. We make time for what is important.
Swimming is an activity that I have come to love. I never really swam before a few years ago. I took swim lessons as a kid but nothing beyond a few days at the pool each summer. With Sarah’s encouragement I have taken my swimming up several degrees. I had hoped in the last month to swim a mile. That’s 72 laps of the pool I’m connected to. I told my kids that I was trying to swim a mile, so now every time I go to the gym at least one person asks me how far I’m trying to go, and I know, that I will get asked about it as soon as I get home.
“Intentionality” has been the name of the game. Setting goals, considering barriers, making time to work towards what you want-the nuts and bolts aren’t all that hard. Keeping consistent, being honest with your capacity (which is often greater than we expect rather than less), dealing with setbacks and disappointments- that is what’s hard As a church we have our goal, and it’s a big one. “Inspiring change by following Jesus.” Change begins with us. Are we willing to rethink what it means to be a Christian in this modern world? Can we take our faith into places it has never gone before? Let’s try! We can do it together. It takes work, planning and, you guessed it, intentionality. Start small, set a goal, tell a friend about and ask them to check back in with you. Celebrate your prayer life, or your Bible reading, honor your good works done on behalf of another. Then set another goal, maybe a bit bigger. God has been doing amazing things, through ordinary people for a long time. It seems like God’s regular way of getting things done in the world and we are invited to take part in what God is up to! Thanks be to God!
See you on Sunday, Pastor Dave
Our Mission Statement
“Inspiring Change by Following Jesus.”
Inspiring change by following Jesus is why this place exists, why this community meets and what we are set on doing.
INSPIRING The angels inspired the shepherds to run to see the new born Jesus, the Spirit inspired the disciples to march with purpose out of the upper room where they were hiding after the death of Jesus and throughout the ages people have been inspired to share their faith with others. Through this inspiration people have been moved with compassion and it is the fuel that moves the church. “Inspiring” also is a means of how we are to function. We don’t use fear to scare others into faith (we know that doesn’t work) we show them what God has done in our lives and we invite them to wonder about what God can do in theirs. Being inspired to do something new is invitational, just like Jesus.
CHANGE Something is out-of-whack in our world, in our communities and within ourselves. One of the founders of the church, the Apostle Paul, wrote that he doesn’t understand what he does, and he does the stuff he hates. Change is hard, it takes time and tons of effort to redirect our efforts at times. We read countless stories in the Bible of Jesus meeting people in the most random places of their lives and offering them something far better. Physical, spiritual and mental healing, reconnecting someone with their community, lifting those that have been ostracized by others-Jesus brings change and we welcome God’s changes in our lives.
BY Here is how this inspired change is going to happen. Spoiler alert, it isn’t because of what we do.
FOLLOWING Jesus asks his disciples to leave their comfort zones. They walked away from jobs, family, friends, a life that they knew-to follow Jesus into one where they didn’t know much, except for the Rabbi. “Following” admits that we don’t know exactly where we are headed or how to get there. It is an act of humble worship and great trust to allow Jesus to lead our community and our lives.
JESUS Our leader, our rabbi, the one who has come into our lives and invited us into something greater. God’s dreams are better then our own, God’s vision for our lives is far more colorful and fun than we could imagine, so come join us in following our amazing God into a world we hardly knew existed.
Well that’s all good and nice, but how do we actually do it? There are three values that we uplift which will make our missional goal a reality.
First, we “worship to deepen our connections.” Using the cross itself as an example, we worship to connect with God (the vertical) and we worship alongside each other to connect with one another (the horizontal). If our worship doesn’t bring us closer to God or others, than we are doing something wrong.
Secondly, we value “education to challenge our understanding of God.” Growth always means some level of discomfort, and we welcome the challenge of seeing God in new ways. We need to push ourselves to see God in places and faces that we would have overlooked without becoming aware.
Lastly, we do what Jesus did. “Service with others to change the world.” Jesus often brought people into his miracles to change the world around them. Changing the world is a big job but doing so means that we begin with God changing our world. We invite God into our lives to give us a glimpse of what God is up to, and what we are being invited into and we join together to get to work making God’s kingdom show up on earth.