Time for what? For me to share about finance. Stay with me and I’ll walk you through my thought process, sadness, and beyond.
I keep reading about the difficulty in congregations with regards to giving while we shelter in place. I hear of staff layoffs and the negatives and questioning what ifs. I find it difficult some days to not be drawn in to these conversations. Not that I would stick my head in the sand and ignore the situation but rather to guard my heart and mind against the bows and arrows that are flying around.
Here are my thoughts looking ahead:
1. Yes we’ll worship together again
2. Yes this time is difficult and stressful
3. Yes we may feel isolated, lonely, and fearful
We are told to “be not afraid”.
Easier said than done but possible.
Long term ideas include more:
Uploaded services for those at home.
More times of blessings and gratitude.
Special gift baskets for those who are lonely and suffering.
Let’s look beyond the immediate needs of the building. Those needs can and will be met. Let’s look to our local giving of food and support for those we share with at Christmas.
Perhaps we “Need a little Christmas” right now?!
In what ways can we envision this? (Without the snow)
Let’s turn our hearts to sharing our blessing today..
1 Protect me, O God, for in you I take refuge. 2 I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.”[a]
3 As for the holy ones in the land, they are the noble, in whom is all my delight.
4 Those who choose another god multiply their sorrows;[b] their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out or take their names upon my lips.
5 The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. 6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; I have a goodly heritage.
7 I bless the Lord who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. 8 I keep the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.
9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices; my body also rests secure. 10 For you do not give me up to Sheol, or let your faithful one see the Pit.
11 You show me the path of life. In your presence there is fullness of joy; in your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
WELCOME in the name of Jesus, the Christ.
Sharing with you some ideas about this psalm and our lives today.
We’re standing in the middle of something so much bigger than each of us but our God is big enough AND small enough to tap each of us on the shoulder and say, “Have no fear, I am with you.”
I don’t often write out my full prose of my message and today will be no different. The mind map that I will share at the end may seem confusing or odd but it gives a glimpse into my thought process throughout the week.
The big question and the following questions stem from this statement: “If you were to write a psalm today what would it look like?”
The psalmist today writes about how very present God is and not like the gods of the Canaanites. There are a lot or resources available on this Psalm – just ask Mr. Google if you want more.
Back to the questions.
How would you write your psalm today? Would you base it somewhat on Psalm 16?
What does your lament or tears look like? Would you share that part of you? That’s not always easy.
What songs would you sing today? Songs of joy, faith, or love perhaps.
Take the questions further – what does your dream look like? For tomorrow or for this time next year. What’s the dream for when we worship together once more?
Perhaps the dream would be about rising again. We will arise! We will find joy in today but also in tomorrow and whatever is next for us.
This morning we sang songs of Joy: Joyful, joyful we adore you, I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart, and then finished with I can feel you near me God (Jump for joy).
Are you feeling joy? Are you able to get excited about your dreams to come?
This we know for sure: God is with us. We are not alone. Thanks be to God.
See my Mind Map below which is the short form of my message today.
Saturdays have often felt weird to me. Many people enjoy the weekend off from work; not quite the same now.
As a minister/preacher I have found, and still today, a difficulty in the concept of a day off. Saturdays are often filled with anxiety about worship coming on Sunday. Questions of am I ready, does the message make sense to me, and will it make sense to others, flood over me. Anxiety creeps in. I can “put the sermon to bed” and leave it there but as a creative I’m constantly rethinking and tweaking a turn of phrase here and perhaps adding a poem or a quotation there. The sermon never feels done.
In normal life I would preach three services each week which gives me the opportunity to finesse the message after each one. I would have time to work with the congregation who are present. Now with only one service and online complications, I feel like I’m preaching to myself. Perhaps that is exactly what I’m doing. Perhaps that is exactly what I need.
Be not afraid is my mantra these days. Reminding myself that I have no reason to fear. God is with me. God is with us. We are not alone. Thanks be to God.
May your Saturday be exactly what is needed for you today, this moment.
16 When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. 2 And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. 3 They had been saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” 4 When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. 5 As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. 6 But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. 7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.” 8 So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and.
May we all share in the joy of the resurrection in new and different ways. He is risen! He is risen indeed! Amen