November 10 – Not your gift? Get over it!

Tomorrow is work day at LPC, and I will show up as usual.

Church work days are a time for all the people of the church to pitch in on clean-up, fix-up, spruce-up projects around the building and grounds. Work days come around twice a year at LPC, and in the fall there’s a lot of leaf raking and winterizing to be done in addition to the walls and woodwork that always need to be scrubbed or painted.

I am passably good at raking leaves, but they tend to steer me clear of wheel barrows, hedge clippers, power tools, hammers, paint brushes, screw drivers and anything else requires advanced operator skill. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. A handyman I am not.

Most of the people at church work days are really nice, and you should come if you have a couple of hours on Saturday morning. Many hands make light work and all that.

Showing up for church work days is not in the pastor’s job description, but I go anyway. So long as they keep me away from something dangerous like a paint brush, my little bit helps. And time I put in at the handle end of a rake is time someone else can give to one of the high skill jobs.

That’s how it is in the church. We pitch in. We do what we can do even if we aren’t first in class. Just as you need to keep me away from paint brushes and power tools, others of us need to stay away from microphones and hospital rooms – but not from worship or from caregiving, just as I don’t stay away from workdays even though I can’t operate a screw driver correctly.

That’s how it is in the church. Continue reading

November 3 – Fake Mail / Real Need

You know, fake mail.  It comes to our house fairly often, and two pieces snuck into our mailbox yesterday.  Fake mail is junk mail dressed up to look like first class mail.  A machine applies a fake stamp to the envelope, a junk mail stamp dressed up to look like a first class stamp.  Then a printer addresses the envelope with a fake font dressed up to look like human handwriting.

I suppose the idea behind fake mail is to fake us out. Just before we drop the fake mail in the trash can with all the other junk mail, we take a second look.  We see the almost human-like handwriting and the stamp in the upper right hand corner and we wonder who sent us some first class mail.  It’s not until we’ve opened the envelope and begin to read the letter that we realize we took the bait.  It was just junk mail dressed up to look like first class mail. Continue reading

October 27 – When Heroes Fail

#ReformationDay500. While some may be preoccupied this coming Tuesday with tricks and treats and little ghosts and goblins knocking at the front door, others of us will have the Chapel Door in Wittenberg in mind. Maybe we’ll lift a good German beer to the occasion rather than sneak another couple of candy corns.

Five hundred years ago this coming Tuesday, All Saints Eve, the young monk – a college professor, really – Martin Luther, posted 95 Theses to the Chapel Door at Wittenberg. 95 complaints about corruption and abuse in the medieval church. We mark the day as the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. Continue reading

October 20 – A French Revolution

This past Tuesday was the last full day in Paris as Becky and I celebrated our anniversary with an altogether wonderful trip to the City of Light.  We had taken an early morning train to Versailles. We loved the gardens, but the opulence of the palace was overwhelming in the way that too much of something sends the senses reeling, unable or unwilling to take it all in. As someone posted in reply to a photo I posted on Facebook, “it would have made me want to start a revolution, too.”

Returning to Paris mid-afternoon, we roamed our neighborhood on the Left Bank of the Seine, enjoying lunch at a sidewalk café, finding some last minute souvenirs, and visiting both Saint Sulpice and Saint Severin churches. Unlike Sainte Chapelle and Notre Dame we had seen earlier in the week, Sulpice and Severin are not so much tourist attractions, though tourists wander through the churches all day long.  Images of the stained glass and magnificent organ of Saint Sulpice and the soaring arches of Saint Severin will remain in my mind’s eyes for years to come. Continue reading

October 13 – Where the Lines Have Fallen

Many of you know that Becky and I are away this week (and don’t worry, this was posted ahead of time). We are in Paris celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary.  Such joy!  Much could be said and will be said, but as we remember October 16, 1977, we remember especially words spoken.

He may have used an older version of the Worship Book, but the Reverend Kim Warner’s words would have been something like this: Continue reading