Facing Our Vaders

The following is only an excerpt of this sermon. The full sermon can be heard by clicking the audio link below.

Psalm 32

In the third installment of the great saga of my child, that is “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi”, Luke Skywalker seeks to complete his training as a Jedi Knight. The Jedi, by the way, for those of you who don’t know, are the guardians of the galaxy, the defenders of all that is good until they are wiped out. But to finish his training, Luke turns to the home of Yoda. And Yoda is old now, and he’s about to pass into the realm beyond and he tells Luke, “No more training do you require. Already know you that which you need. “

“Then I am a Jedi,” says Luke.

“Hmm, not yet,” says Yoda, “One thing remains: Vader. You must confront Vader. Then and only then a Jedi will you be.”

Now let’s be honest, you all want to be Jedis, right? You all want to move things with your mind and you all want to kicks some patootie with a lightsaber… Come on, fess up! Well, maybe that’s just for young boys fascinated with light sabers. I don’t know, maybe you don’t want to be a Jedi. But there are some pretty good things that come with being a Jedi. Because in addition to being guardians of the peace, the Jedi have peace. On top of being defenders of freedom, the Jedi are free. Who doesn’t want to be at peace and free?

Unfortunately there are too many things that stand between us and peace and freedom. To reach peace and freedom, in the words of the Jedi Master, we must face our Vaders.

Now, an essential part of every Presbyterian Worship service is a time of confession. In the traditional service, we usually have a printed prayer or some kind of litany which gives language, which gives voice to our sin, to our brokenness. And it always includes a time of silence for us to reflect, to turn our gaze inward, so that we might reflect on our own brokenness, our own sin and offer it up to God. Now this time and opportunity for confession, though it is essential, it is not meant or intended to make you feel bad or guilty. It is not meant to make feel as if you were worthless as a person. It is not a threat, it is not meant to inspire fear or trepidation. It is not a word of judgment in the way of the great Colonial revivalist, Jonathan Edwards, who pictured us as spiders dangling from the hand of God over the eternal flame.

(To listen to the sermon in full, please click below)

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  • Back to School, Not Back to Church…

    …at least not all the way. Some ministries of the church are in action, others are not.

    Ministry is Continuing!

    To date we have shared around $7,000 with our local community to help relieve those affected by coronavirus, and we have another $2,000 we will be distributing now. This has gone toward food, diapers for families in need, rent & mortgage relief, and other purposes.

    Thank you for continuing to worship with us—our YouTube videos get around a hundred views each week, and in some cases, there are multiple people watching one screen. Thank you for listening. And thank you for your continued financial support.

    We are going to be doing some new things in the interest of our own spiritual health, fellowship, and the ministry of the church. The first is drive-through communion (or drive-thru, as it is frequently written).

    Drive-Through Communion — Sept 6th, 9:15-9:45am

    If you wish, you’re invited to drive through our parking lot on Sunday, September 6th from 9:15-9:45am and I will serve communion to you. You are just as welcome to partake of communion from home, as we’ve done the last few months.

    Fellowship Bike Ride — Sept 13th, beginning at 1pm

    On Sunday, September 13th we will have an FPC Bike Ride. We will meet at FPC and go on a 10-mile bike ride led by John and Jean Stewart. Maps of the route will be provided, and a shorter route will be available if needed. Some of the route will be on streets and some on dedicated bike paths. Meet us in the parking lot at 1pm, and we will depart by 1:15.

    Zoom Bible Study — every Tuesday morning from 8-9am

    If you’d like to join us for Bible Study we will begin on Tuesday, Sept 8th, from 8-9am. We will meet via Zoom so you can enjoy breakfast and coffee from home. The zoom link will be available on our First Pres Logan Facebook page each Tuesday morning.

    My role as pastor is to be a spiritual guide, someone who helps each of you on your faith journey (and as you might imagine, you help me just as much). I confess to you that feeling like we are connected and in touch these months has been a struggle. Continuing to not meet in person remains one of the more challenging decisions of my career in ministry. I want to see all of you each week. Worshiping at home via YouTube is certainly just as pleasing to God as when we gather and sing, but it doesn’t feel the same to me, and I’m sure it doesn’t feel the same to you. Hopefully, some of the above activities will help us with that.

    In the Presbyterian system the pastor does not make decisions about all of the activities and happenings around a church. The pastor leads worship, teaches through Bible Study and similar endeavors, provides pastoral care, and participates in many other diverse activities around the church and community. We have Elders and Deacons who take on other responsibilities, including making decisions about church activities (reserved for Elders, who serve on Session). Who does what around a church (and how we do it) is outlined in the Book of Order, which covers all kinds of things. But as you can imagine, there isn’t a chapter titled What To Do in Case of Worldwide Pandemic.

    The Elders that we elect as a congregation (you elect them, Pastor Meg and I do not vote) make many important decisions for each congregation, although pastors frequently share their thoughts and offer guidance for any vote that is taken. The Session of FPC Logan met on Wednesday, August 19 and voted unanimously to continue with online worship for at least the next month (until the next Session meeting, on September 16th).  At that meeting we will reassess the situation and take another vote for the coming month (or months). Session made this decision because we don’t feel it is safe for us to be in the same room for an hour together. Some people may be willing to take the risk. I am not, and neither are your FPC Elders. Of particular interest is the effect that the return to school will have on coronavirus numbers. Public schools and the Utah State University are back in class now, with both online and in-person classes. Also, of great interest is progress in vaccine trials. We are praying that one (or several) of these vaccine trials provides good news in the next few months.

    May the grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you all,

    Derek

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