June 16 – Good and Faithful Fathers

The commercial holidays are always problematic in the church, especially those that appeal to sentiment and know there’s nothing like a little guilt and sense of obligation to motivate the reluctant gift giver. Valentine’s, Mother’s, and Father’s Days come to mind.

Besides our unwitting collaboration in hawking unneeded stuff, the commercial holidays often demand that we view our complicated and hard world with a sweet simplicity that does us no good.

So maybe I woke up in a bad mood

We are going to take note of Father’s Day in our worship this Sunday. At the 9:15 service, as many men as are able will join our “Men’s Instant Chorus.” I love that tradition. We are going to sing “Faith of Our Fathers” in all its exclusionary glory, noting not just the faithful women and men who have lived their faith into our lives, but particularly those good and faithful dads who may have been a part of our lives. Continue reading

June 9 – LPC: Poo Poo Heads Welcome

I found it under a pew.  We had a funeral at the church this week, so before the service I went into the sanctuary just to neaten up a bit.  There were some Sunday bulletins in the pew racks and an upside down hymnal or two.  And an offering envelope on the floor.

Of course we know that pew envelopes are used mostly as notepaper or scratch pads.  We buy them by the hundreds and aren’t too concerned that few of them ever make it into the offering plate.  And, yes, I realize not all the notes taken during worship are to record an especially well made or insightful point from the sermon.

Written on the back of the pew envelope and then dropped on the sanctuary floor after this past Sunday’s service, I assume, was this note, “You are a poo poo head.”  I have some idea of who usually sits in that part of the room, but far be it from me to try to guess the author or the recipient of the note.  Was it sibling to sibling?  Maybe spouse to spouse depending on how the morning had gone.  Was it declarative or accusative? Continue reading

June 2 – On Lighting Candles and Cursing the Darkness

We hear a lot of darkness cursing in this particular time through which we are passing. There’s a not so small industry made up of bloggers and wannabe pundits who have mastered the art of finding just the right curse for that darkest darkness which has descended on this identity group or that band of aggrieved victims.  Liberal cursers and conservative cursers, progressive cursers and evangelical cursers, single-payer cursers and “build the wall” cursers; we love to curse the darkness.

As for me, I just want to curse the cursers. Continue reading

May 26 – The Faces of the Day

Our spring sermon series has been built around the texts of some of the great hymns of the faith. Members of the church suggested the hymns, and seven with strong Scriptural references were chosen for the weeks between Easter and the beginning of the summer season.

One of the requested hymns is “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” and it will provide the theme for this Sunday’s sermon with the preaching text from Revelation 14 and its image of the grapes of wrath.  Come Sunday as we explore our lives and our times lived out in the realities of wrath and grace.

In preparing for the sermon, I put together a short video designed to remind us of the hymn and its context.  You may view the video here (or scroll down to the bottom of this post). Continue reading

May 19 – Body and Soul, In Life and In Death

This week closes with a reminder of the great joy and comfort of the gospel.

The Heidelberg Catechism asks, “What is your only comfort in life and in death?”

We answer, “That I belong—body and soul, in life and in death—not to myself but to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ, who at the cost of his own blood has fully paid for all my sins and has completely freed me from the dominion of the devil; that he protects me so well that without the will of my Father in heaven not a hair can fall from my head; indeed, that everything must fit his purpose for my salvation. Therefore, by his Holy Spirit, he also assures me of eternal life, and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him.”

Yes, this week closes with a reminder of the great joy and comfort of the gospel.  Body and soul, in life and in death, we belong not to ourselves, but to our faithful Savior, Jesus Christ.

Pam and Casey Huckel, along with Mackenzie, Scarlett, and Felicity, welcomed Clementine Violet into their family on Tuesday.

Marilyn Franzi and her family said good bye to Marilyn’s mother, Betty, who died at age 94 on Thursday.

Clementine and Betty both belong to God. Continue reading