First, here is a link to an article at Alban Institute that I would like you to read, especially if you serve on PUC’s and GEUMC’s Council, Worship Committee, or in any other leadership position:
“Shifts that You Should Know About”
Here is some questions you should ponder, one for each shift.
1. Where can our congregation be worshiping?
2. If we can’t afford a pastor, what can we do (and we are already doing one alternative)?
3. Where do we get the “stuff” and/or information we need for ministry?
4. Who can and should be included in Bible Study, ministry work groups, etc.?
5. When should worship be held?
6. When, where, and how often should faith formation groups meet?
7. What does being “active” in church really mean in our world today?
These are not problems to be fixed, according to the author, but realities to be adapted to.
On Wednesday night we will have Thanksgiving Eve Worship at both churches, 6:00 PM at PUC and 7:30 PM at Grey Eagle. Our texts are:
Deuteronomy 26:1-11 – Moses instructs the Israelites on what they should do after they have settled the new land and harvested their first crops. “And then you . . . shall celebrate with all the bounty that the Lord your God has given to you and to your house.”
Psalm 100 – A short psalm of thanksgiving. “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth.”
Philippians 4:4-9 – This his been our theme verse throughout November. “Rejoice in the Lord always!”
John 6:25-35 – After Jesus feeds the five thousand on the east side of Lake Galilee the crowds track him down on the west side. They want more bread and more miracles (“works of God”). Jesus says the work of God is their belief. They say that Moses gave them manna so what can Jesus do? First, Jesus redirects them toward the source of the manna, God. Then he points them to the true bread which brings life, himself.”
Sunday, December 1, is the beginning of Advent when we look forward to the coming of Christ (and not necessarily Christmas). We also begin a new Lectionary Year and turn our attention to the Gospel of Matthew. Our texts are:
Isaiah 2:1-5 – There will come a day when nuclear weapons and weapons of war will be converted to tractors, plows, planters, and harvesters. The nations will come to God and peace will become the only way of living. Thus says the Lord.
Psalm 122 – A song of ascents. Jerusalem was built on a hill and the Temple was at the top of that hill. To go to the Temple you had to “ascend” the hill. Psalms 120-134 were sung to make the trip pass a little more quickly.
Romans 13:11-14 – Jesus will soon be here so we need to step out of the dark and begin living in the light. Paul uses several metaphors in these four verses. It ultimately comes down to putting on Jesus Christ.
Matthew 24:36-44 – We must be constantly read for the coming of Jesus. Using Noah and the ark as a metaphor for what will happen, Jesus says that where 2 are working one will be taken and one left behind. To the “Left Behind” followers I ask, who is the one that is left behind (using the Noah story as the example)?
Have a great week and a great Thanksgiving with family and friends.
Peace in Christ,
Pastor Gary Taylor