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From the Pastor's Study

February, 2024

Greetings,

 

The middle of February this year is the beginning of Lent. It is also Valentine's Day. February 14 is Ash Wednesday this year. Lent is one of those times in the church year where we find ourselves in a time of waiting. We are waiting for the reveal of God's great love in the resurrection of Jesus Christ that comes on Easter.

There is a commercial currently running on TV and one of the lines is "No one likes waiting". There is a picture of a woman waiting for clothes in a laundromat in the commercial. I have a confession to make. I see that commercial and I hear that line and I have to disagree. I don't mind waiting, and in fact, there are times I actually like waiting. Because for me, it is usually a quiet time. I have spent several hours of my life waiting in a laundromat. I didn't mind it because I was prepared to wait. So, I came prepared. I brought a book to read. Waiting time gives me time to stop and think, to ponder, to read, to prepare for what is next. 

Lent is just that, a waiting time, a time to stop and think, to ponder and to wonder and to prepare for what is next. The key is to be prepared for the wait and ready to make use of it so when the waiting is over we are ready. 

In Christ,

 

Pastor Pat

January, 2024

Greetings,

 

It is interesting to me that at this time of year, when the days are still fairly short and darkness still has a strong hold on each day, in the church we are celebrating the coming of the light. Epiphany, or the season of Epiphany, runs from Epiphany Sunday, the closest Sunday to January 6th, until Lent begins. It is a season when we recognize the coming of the light in the birth of the child Jesus.

It is a time for us to remember the hope that comes with the birth of Jesus. That even in the darkest of times there is a light that will come and shine in our lives. Sometimes that light may be reflected light from someone we encounter. Someone who enters our darkness and lightens our lives. Sometimes that light might be the shining brightness of the beauty that is God in the form of humanity, in the form of Jesus. In whatever way the light comes into our lives we are reassured that there will be light. The light has come and will continue to come. Even in the darkest hour, the light that is God's light in Jesus Christ cannot be overcome. It is that which brings us hope in even the darkest times.

 

In Christ,

 

Pastor Pat

December 2023

 

Greetings,

 

Advent is upon us! I look at the word Advent and see a longer word. Adventure. In Webster's Dictionary the meaning of adventure is stated as follows:

1: an undertaking usually involving danger and unknown risks: the encountering of risks

2: an exciting or remarkable experience

3: an enterprise involving financial risk

This definition could easily be applied to Advent. It is a time of danger and unknown risks as we journey to the manger with Mary and Joseph. It definitely is a time for exciting or remarkable experiences as we recall the story of the birth of Jesus and prepare to celebrate that event that happened so many years ago yet still impacts us daily. Even in some ways, there is an element of financial risk as we commit once again to a life lived in the shadow and imitation of Christ who calls us to give of ourselves and our resources. 

It would be easy to be ho-hum about Advent and want to skip the four weeks leading up to Christmas in the church. But I encourage you to see the adventure, take the risks that involve changing our lives and priorities, getting us out of our comfort zones. Make this Advent a true Adventure!

In Christ,

 

Pastor Pat

November 2023

Greetings,

 

Gratitude. Live a life with gratitude. It is appropriate in this month of celebrating Thanksgiving and All Saints Sunday that we refresh our commitment to living a life of gratitude. What does that mean exactly?

In everything, by prayer and supplication, give thanks. Sounds pretty simple, right?

Give thanks for everything in our requests to God and in our prayers. Sounds simple, but being that we are very human and flawed, simple isn't as easy as it may sound. We like to complain, sometimes a lot. We find fault with things around us, sometimes a lot. We see the negative things in our world and we despair, sometimes a lot. Sometimes finding those things for which we are grateful, for which we are filled with gratitude, is difficult.

But the amazing thing is that once we start seeing those things, no matter how small they may be, we start seeing other things and then more and more until we are no longer able to focus on the negative, the faulty, the complaints, because we only have room for the thanks and the gratitude. It is a snowball effect, the more we find to be grateful for, the more there seems to be.

May you find all the things to be grateful for in your life this month and always!

 

In Christ,

Pastor Pat

 

October 2023

 

Greetings,

 

October is probably one of my favorite months.  You may have even heard me say “all the best people are born in October”.  It is not a coincidence that both my husband and I have birthdays in October, as do several of my family members.  But aside from all the birthday celebrations I like October because that is when the leaves are changing ad so colorful.  October is when the temperatures are cooler ad there is a crispness to the air. There is something special about a crisp Fall day when the sun is shining through the gold and red and orange of the leaves on the trees that makes it almost impossible not to stop and admire God’s handiwork. 

 

October is a reminder of the awesome creation of God in which we get to live.  I hope you take time to smell the crisp air and enjoy the beauty of God’s world this October.

 

In Christ,

Pastor Pat

September 2023

 

Every once in a while, when I am working on the computer and using the internet, I will lose the connection.  It is a random occurrence and I often do not have a good explanation for it. I attribute it to gremlins in the system sometimes! Sometimes I do know why the connection is lost. For example, when a storm rolls through and knocks out the power I know why connection is lost.  This loss of connection is usually short live and then it is restored pretty painlessly with nothing done on my part and I am back to work at whatever was interrupted.  But there are times when it is longer, and I may have to put in extra effort to reconnect.

 

Our relationship with God can be like that sometimes. We can be sailing along, feeling strong in our faith and something causes us to lose connection.  Sometimes faith is restored without a lot of fuss, but sometimes we have to struggle with our faith to restore that connection.

 

One of the ways we stay connected in our faith life is by attending church and Sunday School and praying, worshipping, and studying with others of faith.  If you are feeling like you have lost connection in your faith life maybe you need to reboot the system, so to speak, and plug back in to worship on Sunday morning in church or begin attending a Sunday School or Bible study class.

 

In Christ,

Pastor Pat

 

 

August 2023

 

Greetings,

 

As some of you may know, one of my hobbies is pottery.  Specifically wheel throwing pottery. Forming pots cups, plates, etc from clay on a spinning wheel.  If you have visited my office at church or visited the house, you have no doubt seen some of the results of this hobby.

 

One of the main things to learn in wheel throwing pottery is how to center the clay on the wheel.  When the clay is centered everything else is much easier.  When it is off balance, everything becomes infinitely harder.  It sounds pretty simple. Center the clay on the wheel.  Just put it in the middle, right? But that isn’t how it works.  Because s the wheel turns it begins to push the clay out from the center.  What this means for the potter is that you must continuously work to keep the clay centered.  Again, doesn’t sound too hard.  But I have found that if I am not centered—if I am distracted and paying attention to anything else than what I am doing—it is much harder to center the clay.

 

In many ways, working with clay and working on a potter’s wheel are a mirror for our relationship with God and our faith life.  We too need to stay centered on God and when we do it is much easier to get along. In our faith life there are many distractions that want to pull us away from center, from God, and we must always work to stay centered.

 

The best news, with clay or with our faith life, is that when things go completely off center and everything collapses, we can always start again.

 

In Christ,

 

Pastor Pat

 

July 2023 

Greetings,


“Knee high by the fourth of July.” If you have been around farming at all you may have heard that statement. It refers to the growth of the corn crop and how it should be knee high by the fourth of July to be a good crop. It is an old statement as advances in farming have made it somewhat obsolete. But in this current year it rings in my head as we wait anxiously for rain! 


Waiting anxiously. It seems many times we wait for something we need with an anxious feeling. Unsure about the future and how it will all come about. In dry years we wait anxiously for rain, in wet years we wait anxiously for sunshine. We wait anxiously for test results. We wait anxiously for loved ones to call or come home. We wait anxiously to hear about a job interview or buying that new house. There are
many things for which we wait anxiously. But we also know as faithful people that God is in charge of all things. We don’t need to be anxious.


There is assaying in Alcoholics Anonymous “Let go, Let God”. We too need to remember to let go and let God. Let go of our anxiety, let go of our anxious waiting and rest in the promises of letting God be in charge.


In Christ,
Pastor Pat

 

 

 

June 2023

Greetings,

“Summertime, and the living is easy! Fish are jumping, and the cotton is high.”  This is the first line from a song in the musical Porgy and Bess. But it is the line I hear in my head  when I begin to think about Summer starting. I remember school days as school winds down and those three months of summer vacation loomed before me with all the possibilities away from school.  Or as I graduated out of school days the change in tempo that seems to happen during the Summer.  Life slows a little and days are longer and filled with the possibilities of things to do and places to explore.  Gardens are blooming and growing and there seems to be an endless parade of nature’s beauty.

 

Not only is Summertime a great time for vacations and getting away from home, but Summertime is also a great time to connect with God in a deeper way.  Spend some prayer time on the back deck or the front porch as the birds sing and there is the early morning quiet.  Take that evening walk and listen for the quiet voice of God whisper in the breeze in the trees.  Come to church on Sunday morning and share the experience of faith shared among others who also are finding connection with God.

May this Summer be a blessed and fruitful time of faith and rest!

In Christ,

 

Pastor Pat

March 2023

Greetings,

 

My Grandmother was a rock hound. Not just a collector of rocks here and there, but a serious rock hound. This meant whenever we were on vacation she would be picking up rocks and stone from the places we traveled. In fact, one year she picked up so many, my father insisted that the car weighed at least 500 pounds extra. To prove his point, he drove us through a scale to weigh. I don’t actually remember if he was right, but I know there were a lot of stones and rocks collected over the years. She and my grandfather would even go on rock hunting trips and bring back the specimens they found. I have what is left of her collection.

 

There is a certain weight and solidity about many rocks. They can also tell a story if we know how to read it. 

 

So why am I going on about rocks? Because in worship during Lent, which begins February 26, we will be taking a Journey of the Stones. Each Sunday as you enter the sanctuary there will be stones for you to pick up and hold during worship. These stones are representative of things in our lives that can weigh us down, hold us back or are used to hurt or harm others. We will hear about stones of rejection, hearts of stone, stones that go with sticks, crying stones and others. I invite you to take the journey, consider the weight of the stones you carry and perhaps lay some of them down at the foot of the cross.

 

In Christ,

Pastor Pat

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