May 21, 2019
Greetings, everyone -
THIS SUNDAY AT CENTRAL
Council Person on Duty: Gayle Fellman
Education Hour: Classes will resume in September.
Coffee Hour: CLC Choir
In Worship: Visions abound in the readings for the sixth Sunday of Easter. Paul has a vision about what to do. John has a vision of what will be. The risen Lord Jesus provides visions of peace that passes human understanding and power beyond human imagination.
Readings and Psalm
Lydia and her household are baptized by Paul
Let the nations be glad and sing for joy. (Ps. 67:4)
The Lamb is the light of the city of God
The Father will send the Holy Spirit
Our Home-making God
Into the midst of our anxiety and alarm we are offered a vision of a glorious future filled with promise—the promise that God will make a home with us. This is a promise of an ultimate future home—a New Jerusalem!—but also a promise of God’s daily home-making presence in the hearts of all who believe. Paul has a vision of a cry for help from Macedonia, and his beloved church at Philippi is founded in the home and household of Lydia. In Revelation, John, turning from the lake of fire, is carried up in a vision and sees the New Jerusalem coming down, centered on the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. But no longer is there separation from God, weeping, or mourning, but now a restored creation where God and God’s people are at home together. Jesus promises that though he is going away, he will come to his disciples in the power of an advocate, the Holy Spirit, and that both he and the Father will make their home in all who believe. The gathering of the faithful assembly to receive Christ’s word and sacrament is a foretaste of that New Jerusalem, where God will finally and ultimately be at home with us, even as the Holy Trinity makes a home now in the hearts of all who believe. Into the anxieties and uncertainties of our everyday life we are offered both a vision of a glorious future when God will be at home with us and we will be at home with God, and a living foretaste of that same future: “We will come to them and make our home with them. . . . Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you” (John 14:23b, 27a).
As many of you are aware, I will be taking a 3-month sabbatical this fall for the purposes of rest, renewal, and continuing education. The church as a whole is going through a time of transition and change. Knowing what to expect in the future is harder to do than ever. Your council is hard at work trying to vision what the future of Central might look like. They will be asking for your help. Part of my sabbatical will be spent learning the latest trends and techniques for helping congregations plan for the future. Upon my return, we will work together to imagine how Central might continue to be a beacon of light and hope for our community through its proclamation of the Gospel.
September 9th (“God’s Work, Our Hands”) will be my departure Sunday and I will be back in the pulpit on December 15th. Of course, there are some practical concerns in this process that can create some anxiety. Who’s going to be preaching each week? Who do I call if I need something? We will be sharing those details more specifically as the time gets closer. What I can say now is that the preaching and pastoral care parts have already been committed to by pastors you know. Pr. Betty Krafft will take the lead in serving during this time with the exception of a couple weeks in October when she is on a trip with her mother. Each of the newsletters this fall will have the preaching and contact numbers for the pastor “on duty” during any given week. They will serve you well. (Hopefully, not TOO well…don’t replace me before I get back!) J
There will be opportunities for all of us to learn and grow during this period. It should provide us with ample tools to move forward together in mission for the sake of God’s kingdom!
GIVING WITH JOY
The Apostle Paul wrote, “Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7). This verse does not have to be taken literally to mean that we must smile when we give. However, it does say that we are to give our gifts from hearts filled with joy and gratitude for all the blessings from God. Gifts from the heart are given joyfully rather than as an obligation. We give cheerfully and willingly because, through faith, we acknowledge that all we have God has given to us, and we want to return to God a portion of those gifts.
Prayer: Dear Lord, you entrust us with financial treasures so we can use them not only to provide for our own needs but to use them to serve those who are in need. Grant us faith to share willingly, cheerfully, and generously the gifts you’ve entrusted to us with others. In your precious name we pray. Amen.
Blessings on your Stewardship Journey!
See you in worship!