On Tuesday, November 8th, 2016, 9:00-5:00, Westminster Presbyterian Church’s sanctuary will be open for prayer and personal meditation. There will be no formal prayer or worship service during these hours, but if you would like to stop by during the day to offer a prayer for our nation as we vote for a new president, the doors will be unlocked. Or maybe you simply need a moment of quiet reflection for an hour. Regardless of your motive, all are welcome.
Every time that I sing Know That God Is Good with the children of our church I am reminded of the truth of that statement. They sing the verses in English and Swahili, and end with a joyful Hallelujah. If there is drumming involved they are even more enthusiastic. During the choristers rehearsal the children all get a chance to play the drum while we sing. As each child has the drum placed in front of them, they turn their attention to keeping a steady beat. This skill takes a lot of concentration to master, and they focus all of their energy to the task. My hope is that the skills that they learn through singing in choristers, Sunday school, and worship will ground them in their faith. The steady beat that resonates through the drum will guide them in their faith journey. The rainbow bulletin board that the children created in the choir room is a visual to remind us all of the goodness of God that can be found in all people. That is why our rainbow is made of many hand shapes. May you see the goodness of God in the people that you encounter this week. And if you are struggling to see the good, take a look at all the children and youth of our church and they sing, pray, praise, and play.
Minute for Mission
It was easy for me to decide to provide this Moment for Mission as it relates to Stewardship. When I think of stewardship I first reflect upon the things for which I am grateful. Specifically, I think of the things that this church community has provided me and my family. After some reflection I find that I view that gratitude in three principle areas.
First, it relates to what the church has provided me individually. This church has provided me the space to grow on my spiritual journey at a pace and in a manner that works for me. I grew up in this church but I have not always been an active member of the church nor a regular attendee. However, this church has always accepted me wherever I was in my journey. I have always felt welcome when I was within these walls. I hope you have experienced that same acceptance.
I think specifically of the youth in the church and I hope you too have experienced that acceptance. When I was young in this church I had many doubts and questions. I hope the youth in the church today feel it is safe to express their questions and doubts. I know at times I have been scared to express my doubts. I have learned after these many years that this is a safe and welcoming space regardless. I still have various doubts and questions and I know that I will be loved and supported regardless. That acceptance of me on my journey is something that is deeply meaningful to me and something for which I am grateful.
The second area that I reflect upon is how we are as a community. We are a community that cares and loves each other. I am deeply grateful for the support and the love that this church has provided my children. The church members who have cared for my children are an example of love and concern. Through their actions they teach an important lesson I want my children to learn. I appreciate and I’m deeply grateful for the love they give and show my children.
Also, as Ken referred to in his sermon last week, there are times in which we need help. There are times in which we need to light a beacon and ask for help. I know that this church will respond to that call if I or my family lights that beacon. I hope you know that I will respond to your call if you like that beacon. This community is here for me and for my family. That is deeply meaningful to me and something for which I am grateful.
And finally, we are not an insular community that just cares about our own. We respond to the call to share love and concern for others beyond our walls. We seek to extend ourselves in our local community and throughout the world. In the areas of justice, hunger, poverty, housing; the list goes on, this church is active in the world and has a commitment to sharing it’s time talent and resources with others. We seek to make real the call to serve others. This too is important to me and something for which I am grateful
These are just some of the things I reflect upon as I think of stewardship at this time of pledging. I hope you’ll reflect upon that what you are grateful for at this time as well.
Thank you – David Saunier
Praying for People
This month, I would ask you to join with me in praying for people considering membership at Westminster Presbyterian Church. For four Sundays, between 9:45-10:45, I will be teaching classes and helping folks discern whether not they should take the next step. We desire people to join the Westminster Pres. community, but we also want to nurture them in their spiritual journey. Pray for our staff as they minister to all the needs of the church. Pray for those who are depressed or facing health concerns. And if you have a moment, pray Psalm 121.
I lift up my eyes to the hills—
from where will my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot be moved;
he who keeps you will not slumber.
He who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is your keeper;
the Lord is your shade at your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.
The Lord will keep
your going out and your coming in
from this time on and forevermore. Amen.
I told this story on Sunday, October 23rd as the Children’s Sermon. I thought that like all good stories, it bore re-telling.
When my mom was a little girl, her house didn’t have electricity. They had to light a fire to stay warm, cook their food and heat their water for bathing. Because my mom was the oldest of eight, she had the important chore of checking the fire. It was an important job. One morning, she opened the door of the wood stove and saw the fire had gone out! She quickly went out the back door and called her dad in from the tobacco field where he had been working since before the sun was up.
“Daddy, the fire is out!!”
While she waited for her father, she went over to the woodpile and picked up as big a stick as she could lift, so when her dad came in the door, there she stood fixin’ to throw that log into the wood stove.
“Whoa, there!” my papa said.
“But the fire is out, Daddy! Mama and the babies are gonna freeze!” (My mom is rather dramatic.)
“Elizabeth,” he said, “the fire’s not out. I banked the ashes to keep the coals from going out. The fire is there, we just need to tend it.”
She again hoisted that big stick up and again her father said,”That big a stick will put the fire out. What we need is kindling – we will use those small sticks – the ones you and your brothers pick up in the yard- to slowly catch the fire. And then, after awhile, that fire will be a-blaze.”
You see, my mom thought that when she couldn’t see the fire, it must have gone out. But really it needed re-kindling – that careful work of putting small sticks in to the coals, that quiet work of sitting and waiting for each stick to catch hold of the spark, that slow work of not rushing to put the large pieces on too soon.
Our faith in God is like that hidden fire. Sometimes it looks and maybe even feels like its gone out, when really it needs some tending with small and patient attention. I wonder where you are in this story. Does your fire need rekindling? Do you need patience for the work of rekindling? Do you need reminding to put down the big stick and look for the small sticks along the way? Whatever the case, I invite you to spend some time this week, tending to your fire. I intend to do the same. Blessings – Lynne