A Reason to Attend

harter house

I find myself in the Oakland airport waiting for my connecting flight.  This trip to Lake Havasu City was not a vacation nor was it a business trip.  This was a family trip.  My mom was in the hospital and my dad needed on site help with important decisions about her care (as of this writing mom is heading for rehab).

Tomorrow (Sunday 9/27/15) St John’s as a congregation has an opportunity to gather together between the Sunday worship services not for a vacation or for business but for onsite help for important decisions regarding the care of our community.  Carolyn Schoenborn put it this way in an email to the St John’s Google Group:

A Personal Invitation

Early in our ministry when our children were still young and our pastoral salary qualified our children for free lunches, our parents and key members of the congregation – in their own ways – saw to it that we had the resources we needed to keep from falling into unrecoverable poverty.

We now do the same for our adult children and their families. Sometimes the assistance is minor. Sometimes it has been major. But, families especially care for one another. However, if we are victims of generational poverty, how are such life saving resource made available?

St. Johns has a wonderful opportunity to step in and become a potentially significant resource to persons living in severe poverty here in Lewis County.

On behalf of the Social Ministries Committee, I encourage us all to attend the congregational meeting this Sunday and learn how we can make a major difference for persons who are homeless and living in poverty. It’s a ministry opportunity we will not want to miss!

Carolyn Schoenborn

Please accept Carolyn’s invitation and come at 9:45am Sunday morning to learn more about this exciting opportunity and to give your first hand help in important decisions for the care of our community.

Children in Church

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Psalm 95
1O come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
2Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
3For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods.
4In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also.
5The sea is his, for he made it, and the dry land, which his hands have formed.
6O come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!

The changing face of marriage

I often hear that 50 percent of marriages end in divorce.  Then I hear that number is not right and actually the divorce rate is falling for marriages since the 1990s.  Then something else is blamed.  Then another thing is blamed.  Then we stand around pointing fingers.  But what if marriage has changed?

A sociologist interviewed by the Times connects the rise in divorce to women’s changing expectations, and the decline to men’s adaptation. It used to be that women needed marriage. A husband meant compliance with cultural norms, financial stability, the ability to have sex and children without social censure.

It’s not that way anymore. As effective contraception has become available, and women’s economic power has grown, the nature of marriage has changed from a partnership with distinct and defined roles to a give-and-take between equals, something, the Times’ sociologist says, we’ve now figured out.

I so resonate with the phrase “changed from a partnership with distinct and defined roles to a give-and-take between equals.  I posted a meme on facebook the other day and lamented how so many well-meaning “senior saints” wonder if the kids and I will be fed if Rachel (my wife) is sick or out of town.  I’ve actually had to get Rachel to tell a person that “yes, Matt does most of the cooking in our home.”

I don’t think this is a bad change from well defined roles to a give-and-take between equals.  But it is a change and it is one more thing we have to negotiate between the generations and in our society in general.  How many of our institutions still assume a stay at home mom?  What happens when it is a stay at home dad?  What happens when both partners make sacrifices to career for the sake of the family?

There is still a lot of ground to cover for us as we figure out what all this means.  I’ve been wrestling lately about what this means for the church.  We continue to see God up to new things in God’s creation.  Marriage is just one of those things.  How can we as the people of God support families as they negotiate their partnership in the midst of a world that just isn’t set up to support them?  How does Grace fit into all this?  Can forgiveness be the gift we bring to the table as the Church?

Lots of questions this morning.  If I had the answers, Rachel and I would be on the lecture circuit.  😀

Meet a Saint Today

In Matthew 19 the disciples were trying to keep the little children away from Jesus.  The disciples didn’t want Jesus distracted with little people outside his generation.  Jesus reaction is recorded in Matthew 19:14

Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.

Our society is heavily segregated by age:

It is possible, today, for a middle-aged office worker to go to sleep on a Friday having interacted all week with not one person more than a decade older or younger; the same could well be true for her daughter in college, or her parents living at Pleasant Oaks Village. According to one study, Americans over 60 said that only a quarter of the people they had discussed “important matters” with during a six-month period were younger than 36; if they didn’t count relatives, the number dropped to an astonishing 6 percent.

The Church is probably the last place in the United States where young and old might actually interact with each other.  And what do we do?  We try to follow the world’s example and leave the interaction to the “professionals:” pastor, youth pastor, Sunday School teachers, etc.

So what happens when we mix across age/generational lines.  We share faith with one another.  We share life with one another.  We share Jesus with one another:

Studies have shown that seniors in retirement homes benefit when they spend time reading to children and playing with them, while young people are given the chance to absorb wisdom and life experience.

I encourage you to read the whole article.  There is a place for us to interact with peers of our own age and life experience.  But God’s Kingdom calls us to break through the barriers that separate us.

God has given each of us gifts in the Communion of Saints.  You are a Saint in God’s Kingdom no matter what generation you belong.  The person from another generation is also a Saint in God’s Kingdom.  Go meet a Saint today.