Monday, January 30, 2012
Welcome to Chicago
Saturday, January 28, 2012
Playground Work Day
Why I love this church! Today is the re-scheduled work day for the new playground. It's a dirty job of shoveling wood chips out down to the dirt to prepare the site for the installation of the new equipment. Who showed up? Other than the former Children's Ministry Director, members and friends who have no little children at home. None of the volunteers today will directly benefit from the work. It's not about them, but others! I couldn't get them all in the picture because they were moving too fast and did not want credit anyway. It's about the kids, not them. What's not to love about a church like this?
A friend asked me how I keep enjoying being a parish pastor for so long? That question, in itself, made me pause. Is it that long? I guess both time and age become increasingly relative over the years. I don't think of myself as either old or long-timer. But I guess when I do the math and start counting post-seminary pastoring years, it's soon 32 and if I add the part-time youth pastoring/interning years, it's 36! Yikes!
Monday, January 23, 2012
Sunday, January 22, 2012
Experiencing Generational Shift
Saturday, January 21, 2012
Some changes are gradual and others seismic. I monitor changes in me with interest and sometimes sadness. I am changing, aging, maturing, curmudgeoning, extending and exploring. Watching the changing in me in our move to California has been delightful. Observing the changes as our children married and became distinct, spiritual entities is so much fun! Enjoying a new routine and pattern as empty-nesters is also fun (we love hiking together!).
Thursday, January 19, 2012
Preparing for a Playground
We are getting a brand new children's playground here at MCC! Through a generous donation from a couple I never met, a large gift was given with the intention that it be used for children. So the Director of Children's Ministry and her Ministry Team searched out option and interviewed playground companies, bringing their recommendation to the staff and then council. It will be so sweet; safe surface, age appropriate equipment, and fun and active. It will send the right signal about the priority children have here.
Monday, January 16, 2012
MLK: my story
I was 15 years old. I lived for myself and my pleasures: skiing, biking, swimming, cars and girls (in that order of success!). St. Paul was a lily white community. My dad was the senior pastor of one of the largest Covenant Churches in the denomination at that time (1st Covenant St. Paul). The Jr. High I went to (Cleveland) was almost totally white. I paid little attention to the news and do not recall hearing or watching news about Dr. King's assassination.
Saturday, January 14, 2012
Sunday is the third in a series of sermons based on the phrase: It's Time. Using the "B"lectionary Gospel texts, we saw how Simeon was able to say "Now, Lord, let your servant depart in peace." Last week we explored Jesus' baptism in Mark 1:4-11 and God's beginning words to him "You are my Son, whom I love, in you I am well pleased." We reflected on what it means to have God declare our identity, his love for us, and his pleasure in us.
Matt 4:19/Mk 1:17
“Come, follow me, and I will send you to fish for people.”
Matt 8:22/Lk 9:59
“Follow me, and let the dead bury the dead.”
Matt 9:9/ Mk 2:14/ Lk 5:27
“Follow me” (to Matthew)
“Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me.”
Matt 16:24/ Mk 8:34/ Lk 9:23
“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves, take up their cross and follow me.”
Matt 19:21/ Mk 10:21/ Lk 18:22
“If you want to be perfect, go sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then, come, follow me.”
“Follow me” (to Philip)
“My sheep listen listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”
“Whoever serves me must follow me.”
“Follow me” (to Peter on the beach)
“You must follow me” (to Peter asking questions about others)
Thursday, January 12, 2012
Confession of a Constant Critic
I am critical. That's my confession. I can critique, scrutinize, analyze and suggest improvements for just about everything (and everyone). That can be a good skill when collared and controlled and it can be a virus when it runs rampant.
Friday, January 06, 2012
It's Time...for Baptism
I was drawn to the ocean again this morning! The surf is higher than normal and it was high tide. The waves hit the break wall and splashed almost onto the sidewalk. Talk about power! But, then again, you know that, living here in Santa Barbara with the ever-present ocean reminding us of the power of water.
The text for this coming Sunday is Mark 1:4-11, where Jesus enters the waters of baptism to begin his public ministry. We will be returning to the waters of baptism to rediscover its power in our lives. If you have not been baptized, this might be the time to consider talking to me, Jon or Lisa about your own baptism some time soon. If you have been baptized, this will be a great Sunday to renew your own baptismal vows.
Thursday, January 05, 2012
Taking down decorations is a lot less fun than putting them up. At the beginning of Advent we held a "hanging of the greens" Saturday and lots of folks showed up to cut greenery, bundle sprigs, decorate the tree and set up angels.
Sunday, January 01, 2012
Yesterday Martha and I hiked Cold Spring Trail that began at about 800 feet above sea level and went up to 1600 feet before looping around and back down again. At the top of the trail we walked along a cleared fire break road and came to this vista. Out in front of us was the ocean covered by a marine layer of clouds that crept up onto the beach and lower village. For those below, the day was cold and foggy with little to see. For us, it was hot and clear and gorgeous. It all depended on the elevation.
May your 2012 have sufficient elevation to see the beauty!