Paul’s Message: I Wish…

As the spring season progresses, as I sit in the shadow of stunning green mountains with just a touch of winter snow left at the peaks, as I look out over a valley just waking up to a new day, as I look forward to a day of meaningful work (and a little play too), I find myself wishing.

I wish the Lakers are able to reconfigure their team and win another championship next year (I wish for the Jazz to make it to the western conference finals. ;-)

I wish Timber would stop barking at the neighbor’s dog who seems to be relishing her walk in front of our/his window.

I wish for time and weather to hop on the bike and get a good ride in today (I think this wish will come true :-) .

I wish safe and blessed travels for all who are heading this way or that (including my daughter Lydia coming home to the US after a semester in Oaxaca, Mexico. Yea! says mom and dad).

I wish for blessed arrivals for summer citizens. May your travels be filled with refreshing experiences, meaningful work, or happy reunions.

I wish for wisdom for those who have questions that are profound.

I wish for a summer of wonderful worship and meaningful ministry for First Pres (Faith doesn’t take summers off, it makes summers better)

I wish for a warm welcome for the new associate pastor the Lord has already chosen (even if we and she/he don’t know who it is quite yet!)

For those who are looking for work, those who don’t know where this month’s rent, or next month’s mortgage payment, or tonight’s dinner is going to come from, I wish they discover a path to just what they need.

I wish for healing and strength to come to those who are hurting. I know that many are struggling with brokenness in mind, body, and spirit. Many are wrestling with relationships or wallowing in loneliness (sometimes both). Some are seeking to overcome past hurts, or to deal with the demon of an addiction. I wish for you to take steps toward wholeness.

I wish for peace inside ourselves, in our homes, in our communities, in our government, in our churches, and around the world. Boy do I wish for peace.

“I wish” is, perhaps, not the right phrase. “I pray” is a lot more like it. Praying is a lot more (and a lot mo ‘betta, as they say in HI) than wishing. Wishing is more for pipe dreams. Praying is more for children of God who hope and work for wholeness to come. Praying is aligning ourselves with that divine love that desires to move the whole creation toward Sabbath peace. Praying makes things happen. Maybe it’s not as quick, or not in the way that we’d choose. Maybe those stubborn prayers seem to remain forever on our lists, especially the larger and/or deeper ones. But I believe prayer eventually brings hope, and hope (combined with love) makes things brighter and moves things forward. I not only wish, I pray … for you.

Peace, Paul

This entry was posted in Sermons. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.
  • After all this time…

    Well, this is it my fellow followers of Jesus, we are returning to in-person worship at First Presbyterian Church. It has been fourteen long months of us learning to be a worshiping community in the best ways we could figure out (thank you Jesus, even for things like YouTube and Zoom). It’s been challenging for me as your pastor (I imagine Pastor Meg would say the same). It’s been challenging for all of you in faith and life and with family and friends. 

    But we’re going back to church, praise the Lord.

    Many things seem to be happening in our world at this moment. How are you handling it all? We’re opening the church doors again. There was a verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial in Minneapolis. Many of you have your Covid-19 vaccinations. It’s Springtime and the tulips are starting to bloom. The Sandhill Cranes and other migratory birds are back in the valley. So how are we doing as we process all of this? How are you doing?

    Relief? Sorrow? Joy? Sadness? 

    All of the above?

    I’ve heard several phrases of late, including ‘pandemic pain.’ I’ve felt fatigued myself. But having received the vaccination shots, I am ready to be back in our church building with you praising the Lord together. With high vaccination rates among our church members and several safety precautions, Session has voted for our return to in-person worship. Details are listed in another article inside this edition, but our first Sunday back will be Sunday, May 9th, with our regular service times of 9 & 11 a.m.

    This worldwide pandemic is not over. Not by a long shot as I watch the news from places like India and Brazil, or even Michigan. But many of us have received our vaccinations and we are implementing some practices that should allow us to worship the Lord together, safely. And to be clear (I cannot say this enough), if you do not feel safe coming to church in the near future, please continue to worship from home. I will do my absolute best to make sure our worship live-stream allows you to connect with God and connect with the rest of us from the safety of your own home. We have purchased a small and simple (yet high quality) camera that will live-stream Sunday morning worship directly to YouTube. You have the option to watch it ‘live’ as we are worshiping or watch it at a later time that is more convenient for you.

    So, what might we expect on Sunday mornings in May when we go back? First and foremost, we will be together singing, praying, and praising the Lord. Hallelujah! There will be a few changes, of course. We ask that everyone wear a mask while in the building. We will not have indoor fellowship to prevent ‘grouping’ around the food. Both services will be in Bruner Hall (this is to allow for social distancing). We will initially space chairs out in groups of one, two, three, four, etc. (please find a group of chairs that matches your household). Our air handling system will be on during the service. We won’t use hymnals so that multiple people aren’t touching them each morning (lyrics will be in the bulletin and projected onto the wall). And finally, if you are feeling under the weather, we ask that you please be extra-considerate of your fellow worshipers and remain home.

    Every day of life is a new endeavor. The same is true for us in this process of returning to worship. May we prayerfully and carefully take actions that promote good community health, along with our spiritual health. Thank you for your patience with us, and I look forward to seeing every one of you, whenever that might be.

    —Pastor Derek

  • Pages