June 7, 2020

We had some Wifi issues during the recording of worship on Sunday, June 7th. The audio of the sermon is perfect, however the video of the whole service has some skips, unfortunately. We have now figured out what went wrong, so we can make a better recording next Sunday!!! Genesis 1:1-2:4a Psalm 8 Matthew 28:16-20 “Entrusted to Us” A few years ago, I was back in school working on another degree in ministry. I’ve put that work on hold for the moment, given some other things going on in my life that needed to take priority. But the courses I took, and the reading and theological reflection they involved were very helpful, even if I never actually complete the degree. For example, I remember taking a course called, “Theology of Ministry.” Its overall purpose was to assist each of us as students to develop our own theology of ministry as we understand it in our particular contexts and roles within the church. I titled my major paper for the course, “Partners in the Ministry of Christ: A Presbyterian and Ecumenical Theology of Ministry.” You see, I was discovering that my theology of ministry is rooted in a conviction that all Christian ministry is the ministry of Christ. The members of the church – the Body of Christ – all receive different gifts from the Holy Spirit, and are called and equipped to serve God in a variety of ways. Some are called to the Ministry of Word and Sacraments, to … Read more »

April 12, 2020

  Matthew 28:1-10 “To See the Tomb” I made a special point of sending a thank you note to Marianne Woods after we finished the Good Friday online worship service a couple of days ago. We had a bunch of people involved in leading the service from their own homes through a Zoom video conference that was live streamed on Facebook. But I especially wanted to thank Marianne for singing “He never said a mumblin’ word,” and leading us all in singing “Were you there when they crucified my Lord” as well as all the sung refrains between the stories of suffering and struggle. I was the one who wrote the stories of the many different people who are being especially impacted by this COVID-19 pandemic. They were based on the lives of real people that we’ve all been hearing about in these days, and I wanted to invite us to remember them and pray for them as we all continue through this strange and challenging time. I didn’t realize until I started to hear the stories read by our church members how emotional I would feel. I mean, I should have known, because it’s not unusual for me to get emotional! But as I listened and prayed, I felt my own heart breaking with their sorrow and grief, anxiety and fear. I was so grateful that Marianne was leading the singing, as I knew that I could not have managed it without my voice shaking with emotion. As difficult … Read more »

June 15, 2014

Genesis 1:1 – 2:4a Psalm 8 Matthew 28:16-20 “Entrusted to Us” As many of you know, I spent the last two weeks in Toronto taking a course as part of my doctoral program. The topic of the course was “Theology of Ministry,” and its overall purpose was to assist each of us as students to develop our own theology of ministry as we understand it in our particular contexts and roles in Christian ministry. I titled my preliminary draft paper for the course, “Partners in the Ministry of Christ: A Presbyterian and Ecumenical Theology of Ministry.” My theology of ministry is rooted in a conviction that all Christian ministry is the ministry of Christ. The members of the church – the Body of Christ – all receive different gifts from the Holy Spirit, and are called and equipped to serve God in a variety of ways. Some are called to the Ministry of Word and Sacraments, to Ruling Eldership, or to Diaconal Ministry, and others are called to use their gifts and serve as lay people in a whole host of different ways – through music, teaching, evangelism, hospitality, generosity, healing, and many other ministries of leadership and service. Whenever Christians minister to one another or to the wider world we do so in the name of Christ, and our ministry is a part of Christ’s ministry. Towards the end of my course, we were beginning the morning with prayer and singing, and the scripture that morning was the one … Read more »

June 19, 2011

Genesis 1:1 – 2:4a Psalm 8 2 Corinthians 13:11-13 Matthew 28:16-20 Today is Trinity Sunday, the only Sunday in the church year that calls us to ponder a teaching of the church rather than a teaching of Jesus. The scripture readings, of course, are carefully chosen to reflect the Three-in-One doctrine: God as Creator, Christ, and Holy Spirit. And the readings provide biblical backup for a non-scriptural word: Trinity. Although this mystery of God revealed in three ways is a core belief of Christianity, we struggle to explain it. Monotheistic Christians do back flips explaining why such a belief doesn’t make us polytheists. It sure sounds like we worship three Gods, while we claim that God is One. A reflection on water has often been used to provide insight into this baffling doctrine. At different temperatures, water exists as a gas, as a liquid, or as a solid. Water is one substance, but it has three very different forms. Is that helpful for wrapping our heads around our one God – Father, Son, and Spirit? Perhaps. A Lutheran pastor, Mary Anderson, in a reflection on the Trinity, describes a memorable experience of the Three-in-One. She was watching her grandmother sleep during her afternoon nap. As she contemplated the old woman’s existence, she thought wisely, “That’s Grandmamma, Mamma, and Odelle.” Mary’s grandmother smiled in her sleep as Mary called her by the names used for her by her grandchildren, her daughter, and her husband. Three names, three relationships – and yet … Read more »