Card Shower

Dear friends,

A beloved member of our Church, Kathy Jahn, is turning 39 this coming Tuesday, February 18th. Okay, she may be a year or two older than 39, but I’ve been told it’s impolite to mention such things.

In hopes of giving her spirits a nice little pick-me-up, we are requesting that everyone and their mother, and brother, and friend’s brother and mother, send her a Birthday card.

Send it late, that’s okay. Don’t know her? Sent one anyways. Noticing a theme?

Let’s have her get as many Birthday cards next week as we can possibly manage. Her address is in the directory, but Pastor Matt is happy to email it to you if you don’t have it.

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God is not watching you from a distance


“As the bridegroom rejoices over the bride,

so shall your God rejoice over you”

Music:  “Abandon” by Kindling

 “Abandon!  Hear God rejoicing over you”

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Missionality, the beginning of the conversation

This last week we started what will be an ongoing dialogue about missionality and how that can affect our view of Church. Check out this first video and listen to my only somewhat rambling message.

 

Click play for my message on combining the best parts of “attractional” Church with “missional” Church

[audio http://tindeck.com/download/pro/dpyz/%5Btindeck.com%5D+-+Matt%2BRittle%2B-%2BMissional%2Bv%2BAttractional.mp3]
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Happy Mother’s Day!!

A Litany for Mother’s Day
Written by Rev. Patty Lawrence

We remember Sarai…
who was taunted by others in the household
because of her inability to have children.

All-encompassing God,
we pray for those who feel excluded
when we emphasis one kind of family as normal.

We remember Esther,
who was adopted and raised by her cousin.

God who embraces us all,
we pray for those who cannot be raised by their parents,
for a short time or permanently.

We remember Jochebed, the mother of Moses,
who placed him into a raft on the river.

Saving God, we pray for parents who struggle to raise their children
in difficult circumstances

We remember Hannah,
who loved her child so much she handed him over to another to raise.

Loving God, we pray for parents who have placed their child in another family.

We remember Naomi,
who grieved the death of her sons.

God, who grieves with us,
we pray for parents who mourn the death of a child.

We remember Ruth,
who gave up her family to be family to another.

Inclusive God,
we pray for those who choose to be family
to those isolated by culture or language or distance.

We remember Elizabeth,
who had a child in old age
and we remember Mary,
who had a child as a teenager.

Ageless God,
we pray that as a community we accept people of varying life stages
and responsibilities and relationships.

We remember Rachel,
crying for her children

God of justice and hope,
we pray for those whose children are killed,
and look to a time when children can live safely in their communities.

We remember Lois and Eunice,
who taught Timothy faith by example.

Faithful God,
we pray for those who teach us faith by their lives,
may we remember that we also teach about you in the way we live.

We remember other people not named in the Scriptures,
like the mother of the prodigal son.

Companion God,
we pray for those who wait for a phone call or a visit,
cut off from family and friends by distance and disagreement.

Nurturing God, we give thanks for those
who enrich our lives by their presence
who teach us about your abundant love
who encourage us to journey in faith.

———————–

Happy Mother’s Day to ALL!  THANK YOU for EVERYTHING

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Boston Marathon Bombs, a Pastor’s response

Harrowing video taken from right next to the first explosion:

That video is made even more harrowing when you consider that the person who filmed it, was just innocently standing there prior to the explosion…and then had the “sense” to take out his phone/camera and record the early moments for us to see later.

Think, if he been standing a few feet a different direction…

This photo and many  more remind us of the fragility and cruelness we contain within us:

bomb

The initial two bombs were exploded right next to the finish line.

Most, if not all, of the professional runners had long since finished the course….the people crossing the finish line at this point would have been primarily normal people looking to better their own health, or else people who had worked hard to train for the race in order to raise money/awareness for whatever charity or cause they cherish.

Consider that THESE people, along with race volunteers, were primarily the ones hanging around the finish line.

These thoughts…these images…this whole story…It’s just a reminder of the real insanity of certain people and of the cruelty we’re capable of, as humans. Does our ability to hurt others for no reason ever end?

Before we dive into hating humanity or wanting vengeance upon the perpetrators of this crime, whomever they may be… Let us first pause and reflect upon that initial scene…

Amidst the chaos, blood, limbs missing and people laying on the ground (some motionless)…we see workers, in the above video, immediately working honor and respect the flags of foreign nations by keeping them upright – not letting them touch the ground.

Reports abounded of medical personnel – who had just finished running the 26.2 mile marathon themselves – whose main thoughts had likely been on rehydrating and resting…Immediately rushing – not away from – but TOWARDS the explosions…in order to tend to the clearly wounded people they knew would need their assistance.

It wasn’t long until the Boston Police Department called in every off-duty policeman in the city…but some off-duty cops and fireman didn’t wait for that call. Some rushed into work immediately, knowing they’d be needed…and wanting to serve.

There’s even stories out there of people who crossed the finish line, and didn’t stop running. They heard the explosions behind them – and kept on running to the closest hospital, to donate blood. Because after running 26.2 miles – that’s where all of our minds would have been, right?

Yes, amidst the stories of horror coming out that remind us of the deep depravity and truly destructive nature of humanity…There are also stories, if you listen hard enough, that reminds us of the best of humanity…of the hope that our fragile hearts and lives contain.

Sure, people set this completely senseless attack into motion…killing at least 2 and wounding at least 20… (numbers from early reports)…but the number of people who did that pale in comparison to the numbers of medical personnel, fireman, policeman, race staff/volunteers and soon to be countless hundreds, thousands and likely millions of people that will be donating their time and money the rest of today, and the coming days in order to set right this wrong.

Let us not glorify the perpetrators of this crime at any point. We do not need to know their names or why they did this. We do not need to put them on the TV and make them famous.  We need only know that justice has been served, after it has.

But before that…long, long, before that… We have today.

Today, may we focus all our energies, mental and emotional, on the best parts of humanity.  Let’s remember the relief workers, race volunteers and early responders who are working tirelessly to contain and clean up this mess.

Let’s focus all our energies, mental and emotional, on those whose lives are now forever changed…Be it by emotional scars they’ll carry with them the rest of their lives…or real scars – of people with bloodied heads, missing limbs and many other physical traumas…let us focus our energies and our prayers on THOSE people.

To the families who are wondering if there loved ones are okay…
To the families who are already grieving, because they know their loved ones aren’t…

Today, we honor you. We remember you, all of you, so many of you affected by or affecting this story. Let compassion, hope and love rule the day.

May we lift all of the victims, families of victims and responders up in prayer.

May we always remember that love is more powerful than hate. Peace more powerful than fighting. Hope more powerful than fear. Prayer more powerful than anything.

Today, may we lift up those powerful prayers, to everyone in Boston – and to the family or friends of anyone affected.

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