“The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.” Num. 6:24-26 NRSV
So, I’ve decided to do two sermon series in the coming months, one before Advent and one before Lent: the first being “God’s Blessings” and the second “God’s Love”. I do this because we have to begin coming out from under the fog of COVID. I do this so we can rise out of the refiner’s fire we’ve been in. I do this so we can get back to some normalcy and get back to the energy level prior to March 2020.
We have been so focused on survival and yearning for the way it used be and having our heads down that we have neglected to look up to God and realize the many blessings and the enduring love that God offers us. We have endured some trying times. Our community and country have endured times where we are split, snarking at each other, even snarling at each other for just the fact we don’t agree on simple things. I find the sentiment “it’s my way or the highway” has been the overriding theme over these many months. So, it is time to refocus, recommit, reform, and center our hearts, minds, and souls with our eyes on the prize.
Our Session has done a remarkable job, especially these last eighteen months. They have succeeded in keeping the ministries they each were called to do going and thriving. They have been innovative, mindful, and creative in every committee meeting and Session meeting. They made the tough, yet compassionate, decisions and we are all the better for it. Keeping a ship like ours sailing and not allowing it to be tossed and turned is a testament to their tenacity, commitment, and faith. I’ve been trying to chronicle what we have done to help guide the future generations through pandemics as it relates to our faith-based community so that there is some basis from which to minister.
Your staff has done everything the Session and I have asked of them and more. They work tirelessly in and behind the scenes. Their love of you, and their Savior and God, this church, and its mission has been unwavering. I am blessed to be part of this staff because of it. They make me a better pastor because of what they do. They take their callings seriously and for that I am grateful. One of the collaborative things that we came up with was the Monday afternoon email… In Case You Missed It… The Sunday Recap. It keeps us all up to date on calendar events and announcements and then allows us to look back on the Sunday morning worship in snippets through YouTube.
I hope you have seen the work that Nikki has done on our website and social media pages. She is one remarkable jack-of-all-trades. She also produces all our online content from worship and Bible studies to the learning center classes. She has coordinated the ZOOM meetings throughout this pandemic for the church as well.
Pastor’s Pondering continues… Luke is running on all eight cylinders and has the buildings looking great! He is such an accomplished and dedicated employee. His ministry is the first thing that everyone sees and he is always right there to assist in any way possible.
Johnny has been the one person on staff where COVID has taken its toll. It is almost impossible to do youth ministry from a distance. On-line can only go so far… youth groups are built on relationships; they worship, study, play, cry, laugh, and celebrate together, and ZOOM only goes so far. Opening back up for outside gatherings will go a long way to getting this great group of kids back together again.
Tim has been a rock star… literally and figuratively. Daily videos (I get to hear daily concerts as my office is in the choir room) have our social media being viewed by hundreds of people daily. At worship, an energy, a faith that surpasses all understanding gives us but a glimpse of the ministries and talents of Tim. Tim is my right hand when it comes to worship, and he is a great partner in ministry… one that I know my colleagues are envious of! We plan months ahead and try to create a worshipful atmosphere here at FPCLC. We review the texts I am preaching, and we sift through hymns and music to ensure they relate back to and support the texts. Tim picks anthems and cantatas the same way, even creating a theme for the season.
Tim and I have revamped the music and texts as well (we are going off Lectionary… so rebellious, aren’t we? LOL). We threw out all the hymns and texts that we had previously planned (three months ago) to utilize for the coming periods of time. We are also changing up the Gloria Patri and Doxology using new tunes. We are also utilizing new affirmations of faith (except for communion days). So, if you follow along with the lectionary and review the texts prior to Sunday mornings we are using, I give you a new listing (I include the hymn numbers as well). Peace, Pastor Ken
1. God’s Love (World Communion) October 3,2021
a. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 Hymns- 319, 769, 832
b. 1 John 4:7-16
2. God’s Forgiveness October 10, 2021
a. Psalm 86:1-7 Hymns- 12, 611, 743
b. 1 John 1:1-10
3. God’s Son October 17,2021
a. Genesis 15:1-21 Hymns- 634, 438, 366
b. 1 John 5:1-8
4. God’s Spirit October 24,2021
a. Psalm 51:9-13 Hymns- 422, 300, 408
b. 1 John 3:11-24
c. John 14:15-27
5. God’s Gifts (Reformation Sunday) October 31, 2021
a. Eph 4:7-13 Hymns- 275, 326, 649
b. 1 Corinthians 12:1-13
6. God’s Understanding November 7,2021
a. Romans 5:6-11 Hymns- 336, 497, 839
b. Romans 8:31-39
7. God’s New Life November 14,2021
a. 1 Corinthians 1:26-31 Hymns- 450, 774, 821
b. Romans 6:1-8
8. God’s Will & Reconciliation November 21,2021
a. 2 Corinthians 5:16-21 Hymns- 367, 643, 647
b. 1 Thess. 5:12-18