We started a new sermon series today “Setting the Table.” For those who know me, I love to cook and share dinner with others. This sermon series is drawn loosely from Margaret Feinberg’s book Taste and See, Discovering God Among Butchers, Bakers, and Fresh Food Makers. We will focus later in the sermon series on 4 of the biblical foods she uses in her book.
While they may not “abound” there are many books on food and spirituality. After all the “table” is central to the Christian faith. Before his arrest and crucifixion, the last act of Jesus is ask his disciples to “remember me” every time they eat and drink. In many many Christian traditions the meal of Jesus is shared every week.
In her book, Margaret Feinberg writes,” When we gather to eat, God want to nourish more than our bodies: he want to nourish our souls with transcendent joy and supernatural community and divine presence. When we feed our physical appetites in community, we open our hearts for God to feed something deeper as well.”
In today’s worship service we focused on Abraham feeding the divine messengers and on the call of Simon Peter and James and John. A traditional grace in many homes states: Come Lord Jesus, be our guest and let these gifts to us be blest. In Abraham’s case, The Divine shows up and is literally his guest. The same is true for Simon.
And Sarah and Simon are afraid. They have offered what they have and it is received with grace. The call for Sarah to trust the promise of God and for Simon to follow comes out of blessing. They are blessed to be a blessing and we are too. We are called to set the Table of Grace and Love.
Incorporating the theme of Vacation Bible School: “God is able to do far more than we can ask or imagine by the power of his work within us” was a perfect frame for what God CAN and WILL do in God’s people. You can find the whole worship service here.
If you want to experience some of the VBS music you can find the theme song here. And the kids favorite song “Even When the Lions Roar” here.
Today was the final Sunday of our sermon series “Draw the Circle Wide.” Pastor Rebecca preached the last two Sundays as I have been on vacation. It was good to be in worship today and bless and commission our VBS volunteers and students and to assist Pastor Rebecca.
This sermon series has been a blessing to my soul both as a preacher and as someone who listened to others preach. In a time that is difficult and the circle seems to be getting smaller it is good to be challenged that our faith requires something different. Our faith is one that asks that we look past a persons skin color, ethnic background, country of origin or any number of ways we try and keep people out.
The parable of the Good Samaritan always challenges our perception of neighbor, of who is acceptable to receive mercy, grace and love. Pastor Rebecca did a wonderful job of drawing in the current crisis at our southern border as an example of how persons are being vilified rather than being seen as neighbor.
To experience the whole service or just the sermon click on this link.
We have had a very full day at church! This weekend it started with a “bit” of water in our basement under the sanctuary. We had already planned a church wide Sunday school and mission lunch in Meredith Hall (underneath the sanctuary.) Fortunately it was found yesterday or cleanup and a fixing of the pumps could happen before today.
Today’s scripture is a difficult one because in the 21st century it is hard to figure out how best to deal with “demon possession.” The scientific and medical understanding today is far beyond what was understood 2000 years ago. Yet, I tend to be intrigued by how God in Jesus can be encountered in this stories which were recorded so long ago. The story of “Legion” paired with the scripture reading from Galatians is a powerful reminder that Christ draws a wide circle and a greater circle then we can imagine.
The General Board of Global Ministry (GBGM) along with the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) called for today to be a day of solidarity for suffering children. You can find their full statement here. We included the prayer woven into the pastoral prayer this morning.
Today’s service included two beautiful musical numbers on call and a wonderful children’s time by Pastor Rebecca. You can find the whole service or just the sermon here.
I am continually challenged in my own life in how I can Draw the Circle Wide and be part of God’s reign in Christ.
It was a wild ride of a morning weather wise in south central Kansas! I don’t sleep well on Saturday night (occupational hazard for me) and so I am usually up and going by 4:00 a.m. or a little earlier. We had had storms, but sometime around 4:20 the tornado sirens went off.
As a typical Kansan I don’t tend to get over anxious…but that early in the morning I pay attention. I haven’t heard the sirens in our area for an actual weather event in a long time. As I was moving to go get Andrew, I heard his feet hit the floor and also then noticed the siren only sounded once!
I went to the facebook feed for KAKE TV to hear the sirens were a mistake. However within a few minutes the sirens went off (not in my area) but south of Wichita. A lot of storm damage before the sun came up and in my neighborhood up the street a transformer blew and many of our neighbors had been without power.
What a way to begin a Sunday. Other than the weather excitement it was a good day to gather and to continue our sermon series “Draw the Circle Wide.” Today’s scripture was from Luke and focused on the woman anointing Jesus at Simon the Pharisee’s home. When Simon is asked….do you see this woman? I came to the conclusion that he didn’t…or that he only saw what he wanted to see, the labels that had been placed on her.
And me? I am not so different from Simon. I can become judgy pretty fast and making assumptions about folk. I am sure that draws the circle tighter not wider. Fortunately, the ripples of grace that come from faith in Christ is there for us all.
The music today in worship was outstanding. You can find the whole worship service or just the sermon here.
I committing my self this week to pay attention to how I “see” people, really see them. It is my hope that by doing so, I can be part of God’s work to “Draw the Circle Wide.”
Today is a day filled with the secular and sacred. It’s Father’s Day in the United States and in the Western Church it is Trinity Sunday. Neither of which I dealt with in my sermon today.
I did offer a Happy Father’s Day to all the Fathers, Grandfathers, Uncles and men who have mentored. I was a fatherless child for a while and I am so grateful to those teachers and preaches and youth group leaders, my grandfather and my stepfather who mentored and supported me over the years. I do not underestimate the gift they gave with their time and love.
Trinity Sunday usually sneaks up on me as it is one of those “theological” Sundays which take a lot to unpack. One of my favorite videos is about St. Patrick and all the “heretical” understandings of the Trinity. You can find this silly and yet provoking theological education here.
You will find none of that in my sermon today. The service continued the sermon series “Draw the Circle Wide.” Today we have Jesus healing a centurion’s slave on his word alone. Jesus is amazed by the faith of this outsider who believed Jesus had the authority and power to heal on a word. You can find the whole service or the sermon only here.
Yesterday was a day filled with joy! It is Pentecost in the life of the church and we celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit immediately began to draw the circle wide and through out the book of Acts, the Spirit shakes us and stuns the early church with a vision of a greater circle, of greater inclusion and a breaking down of boundaries and barriers.
Pentecost, while one of the least celebrated church festivals at least in the secular world, it one of the most profound. The Spirit can not be contained, like the wind and fire, the Spirit and wild and touches everyone.
In worship we brought in 9 new members at the Downtown Alive service and 2 new members including an immersion baptism at our Gathering service. We commissioned children for camp and hosted a picnic that had to be brought indoors because of rain.
The whole worship service or just the sermon can be found here.
Come Holy Spirit!!!!
What a week it has been filled with experiences and joy! It feels like a long time since I have come to blog. I tried to blog toward the end of the week, but the internet at the hotel was intermittent and I couldn’t pull up my site. Soooo, I waited to share all the wonderful joys of the week.
This week was the Great Plains Annual Conference. For United Methodists, this annual meeting is part business and part family reunion. Both the business and the family part is filled with smiles and snark, laughter and tears, anxiety and contentment and the push and pull of different understandings. This was the year we elected General and Jurisdiction delegates for 2020. Elections add a layer of tensions because these are the persons that will help make decisions about the future of our denomination.
Annual Conference is also a time of worship. This year, Rebecca Goltry Mohr was approved as a full member and ordained as an elder. On Thursday, she was introduced to both clergy session and the full annual conference.
On Friday was her ordination! What a joy it was to have 50 people from First UMC there to celebrate with her as well as family, friends and the whole of the Great Plains Conference.
Saturday began with a 5K
Then, after difficult conversations and debates, the annual conference voted to stand opposed to the traditional plan passed at General Conference. I do not know what that means in the long run, but I am hopeful for the work of being an open and inclusive church has truly begun.
The bishop “fixed” our appointments so Pastor Rebecca and I will return for another year of ministry.
Which brings us to worship today. This is the last Sunday in Easter and we remembered the Ascension of Jesus. This moment of Jesus’ departure reminds us we are called to continue to be on the move with Jesus and to be witness to all! In the service we celebrated Pastor Rebecca’s ordination and commissioned a mission as well has celebrated the Sacrament of Holy Communion. You can find the worship service in its entirety here.
I am grateful to continue to serve and to share God’s love with all.