Well, I am now back from my 2 week “stay-cation”. Some of the yard and garden work that I intended to do got done. Weather (wind and rain) precluded the rest of the work. I also did a bit of binge TV watching: Daredevil on Netflix and trying to catch up on two years of Arrow on CW network. I spent a wonderful afternoon with Zachary in Fargo and stopped at Detroit Lakes UMC for Wednesday Evening Worship on the way back. I went to worship on the first Sunday at a Lutheran Church and worship on the following Saturday at Pilgrim Point Campground. Those three worship times emphasized the importance of some of the small things we take for granted.
1. Make sure your website directions to the church are correct and put out signs. – Trying to find Detroit Lakes UMC was way more difficult than it should have been. Using their website to get to the church landed me 2 blocks away. I also put their name into Google Maps and got to the same place. I almost gave up, but, due to my doggedness, stopped one final time and entered the address into Google Maps and discovered I was across the street behind the building. I snuck into the 1/2 hour worship 10 minutes late. Good directions and simple sign two or three blocks north of the church would have saved me 15 to 20 minutes of wandering around.
2. Make sure your newspaper has the correct worship times (especially if they change). – Cheryl and I decided to go to Faith Lutheran Church in Eagle Bend. The newspaper said worship was at 11:00 AM. As we got to the church 10 minutes early Cheryl said that everyone looked like they were leaving. As I pulled into the parking lot, I spotted Pastor Melissa driving out of the lot and headed to Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran in Clarissa. I quickly followed her and we ended up worshiping there.
3. Worship can happen anywhere. – I went to Pilgrim Point Campground last Saturday for a Minnesota Conference UCC workshop, “Retraditioning Church for Today”. We worship at the beginning of the workshop and finished the workshop with communion. Of course, worshiping at a “church” campground should be natural, but where two or three are gathered in Jesus’ Name . . . (If you are wondering, I did not go to church on Sunday.) For more on worshiping anywhere check out this new national media campaign by Rethink Church:
One final note before I move on to the texts. Cheryl and I will be going to Fargo tomorrow to attend Zachary’s graduation ceremony from Morehead Tech. I will be back in time for PUC Council meeting.
This coming Thursday is Ascension Day. The readings appointed for that day are:
Acts 1:1-11 – Jesus is lifted up.
Psalm 47 – God is the God of all peoples and nations. Sing praises to God!
Ephesians 1:15-23 – Paul prays to God that who believe in Jesus will have the spirit of wisdom, enlightened eyes, and know the hope to which we are called.
Luke 24:44-53 – Jesus opens the minds of the disciples to understand the Scripture and is then carried away to heaven.
The readings for Sunday, May 17, 2015, the Seventh Sunday of Easter, are:
Acts 1:15-17, 21-26 – The eleven remaining disciples decide that they should have a twelfth to replace Judas. They set up the criteria, narrow the choices to two, and then throw dice (trusting God to decide) to choose Matthias.
Psalm 1 – Those who delight in the law of God will know happiness and they will bear much fruit. Those who do not will not for they will blow away like dried leaves.
1 John 5:9-13 – This is the final reading in the first letter of John and there are some summary statements within the reading. “Those who believe in the Son of God have the testimony [of God] in their hearts” . . . [which is] God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.” “I write these things . . . so you may know that you have eternal life.” The glory and beauty of 1 John is simple: God is Light, Life and Love. In love God gave his son Jesus to humanity to be Light, Life, and Love. To those who believe in Jesus, that Light and Love are in them and they have his Eternal Life. We, in turn, become and are the Light, Life, and Love of God for the rest of humanity.
John 17:6-19 – The entirety of chapter 17 is Jesus’ prayer to God. Verses 1-5 are a prayer for himself. Verses 6-19 are his pray for the disciples. Verses 20-26 are his prayer for future disciples. Jesus’ prayers in John can seem convoluted and redundant. I think the one key verse for understanding the second section, our reading, is verse 11b: “Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.” At the beginning of chapter 18 Jesus is arrested and will soon be dead. They need God’s protection.
Peace in Christ,