The Pastor's Ponderings is a weekly note from one of the pastors that is sent to the congregation. If you would like to be included in the list of email subscribers to the Ponderings, you can subscribe here. Current subscribers wishing to unsubscribe can do that here as well.
I'm excited about Sunday's church picnic to celebrate all the great things we've been able to accomplish for Christ this year - all because you put YOUR gifts of time, talents and treasures in the hands of the Master. It's appropriate that we celebrate with food and fun! I really love that Jesus enjoyed meals with people of all descriptions. One of the criticisms of him was that he ate with tax collectors and sinners a lot. (See Luke 7:34). We of course gather at the Lord's Table regularly to share in God's grace.
It reminds me of my grandmother's dining room table, which in my memory was the size of a football field. She had 5 kids and many, many grandchildren. We'd gather for Sunday dinner and Granddaddy would always say the blessing, but I noticed before he said it, it was my grandmother who started it by staring meaningfully across the table and saying, "Joe..." It was a reminder that he not forget that important step in his fatherly responsibilities.
The food that weighed down the table was a gift from God - especially in summer, when we had tomatoes from the garden and true Vidalia onions and fresh cucumbers and hot biscuits. And the faces around the table, all kin to me, by blood or by marriage, also gifts from God. When we gather around the table, or for Sunday's picnic, I hope you'll take a moment to thank God for the bounty provided and for all the people God has sent and will send to be a part of our family (related by baptism)!
See you in Church,
Dear Glen Mar Friends,
As I was thinking about Jesus as "Good Shepherd" for this weekend's preaching, I remembered this encounter from my "young mother" days.
"Mommy, it's lo-ost." My three-year-old makes "lost" a multi-syllabic word. His blue eyes register concern. He wiggles in his booster seat.
"What's lost, honey?" I'm making a peanut butter sandwich.
"My white jet plane."
I look in front of him at the fleet of aircraft assembled on the placemat. "It's in the toy room, right where you left it. You have more than enough planes to get through lunch."
"But it's lost, Mommy. We have to find it. Because it's lo-ost."
What follows is a fruitless discussion in which I point out that something is not lost if we actually know where it's located, that we don't have to have physical possession of something to protect it from the realm of stray socks and dropped pacifiers. My son is unconvinced. If the plane is not where it's supposed to be, if it can't be loved and flown and talked to, what does it matter if we know where it is?
Jesus is the Good Shepherd who counts each sheep as valuable. The sheep are so precious that it's not enough just to know where they are. Jesus wants to teach them, to move their hearts to repentance and faith and to love them even to the point of dying for them. I think Jesus wants this for each of us sheep, too.
That's the joy of our worship, that we have been loved and searched for and brought home. That's the joy of our Christian journey, that when we stray from God's path, God will follow us and bring us back and reconcile us over and over again. That's the joy of our common life together, that we are in turn the searchers and the found ones. This weekend, we'll continue our sermon series with Because He Lives: From "Lost" to "Led." #seewhatididthere
I hope you'll join us this weekend and bring MOM to church too. We'll be celebrating our graduates at the 930 service also!
See you in Church,
Dear Glen Mar friends,
I'm so glad to be in the season of Easter with you! Because He Lives...we can move from Fear to Faith, as Pastor Jen reminded us last week. This week, we will explore that Because He Lives...we can move from "empty" to "enough."
This week, I'm excited to share that we are sending out information packets sharing all the difference YOU have been able to make through your giving here at Glen Mar over the past stewardship year. When I looked at the brochure showing all the ways we are "Praising God, Growing Disciples, and Serving the World," tears filled my eyes, knowing that Glen Mar is full of people whose faith is making a real difference in the lives of real people. In that packet, you'll also find more information about how and why to make a pledge for the next year. I want to invite you to be in prayer for the coming weeks about how God might be calling YOU to give. Commitment Weekend will be 5/18 and 5/19, followed by a church picnic.
Between now and then, will you join me in praying each day this simple prayer?
God of Resurrection, remind me that all I have is a gift from you. Show me how you are calling me to share those gifts through my giving, so that everyone might know the difference that Easter makes.
In addition, starting next week, be on the lookout for a week's worth of daily devotionals to help us grow in faith, hope and love and grow to be as generous as our generous God?
God is so good, and deeply provides all we need to do God's work. I'm amazed at what God can do if each of us simply place our gifts in God's hands. Like the loaves and fishes, Jesus takes our small acts of faith and brings forth life-changing fruit.
The local church is where the real work of church happens. That is the place where people show and share and experience the love and welcome of Christ. Glen Mar has always been, and will always be, a place where people can meet Jesus and grow as his disciples.
I'm so proud to be your pastor and so very grateful for your generous, faithful spirit.
See you in Church,
Dear Glen Mar Friends,
Holy Week was full of holy moments - from the kids waving palms to folks putting fresh flowers on the cross for Easter Day. You may think that Easter has come and gone, but in reality, Easter is a whole season in the church year (50 days long, starting with Easter Day), and we sing that "every day to us is Easter" because we follow our Risen Lord all year long.
In the coming weeks, we'll be looking at the difference Easter makes - in our lives, in our priorities and in our world, as part of the stewardship and discipleship series, "Because He Lives..." The chalkboard in the Gathering place is full of responses to the sentence "Because He lives..."
Because He lives, I will too.
Because He lives, I can love and serve in his name.
Because He lives, I can be generous and loving without fear.
Because He lives, I need not be afraid.
Because He lives, I can step out of my comfort zone.
Because He lives, I use my gifts in furtherance of the Kingdom of God.
Because He lives, my priorities are all different.
The Church for centuries has proclaimed "Christ is risen, He is risen indeed." What the world wants to know, I think, is, "So what?" What does it mean for how we live, and how we work, and how we use the time, talents and treasure we are given? There is real hope to be found in a risen Savior who reaches out to touch us, a risen Savior who is known by the mark where the nails have been, but who has won the victory for us and for all creation.
See you in Church,
Beth Shalom Congregation, our Jewish neighbors, invite us to attend their upcoming community Holocaust Commemoration Service: From Kristalnacht to Tree of Life, Uniting Against Hate, on May 1. The program begins at 7. Doors open at 6 pm with exhibits of Holocaust artifacts and survivor testimonies. This event is sponsored by the Howard County Board of Rabbis and the Jewish Federation of Howard County. Pastor Mandy will be attending.
We pray for our brothers and sisters in Sri Lanka in the wake of acts of terror targeting Christians on Easter Day. The testimony of Easter is that God says "Yes and Amen" to all that Jesus embodied, to the principles of love, peace, faith and truth. Hatred and violence will never have the last word, and even though we are in the world, Christ has overcome the world. Whether we are praying for a synagogue in Pittsburgh or a mosque in New Zealand, we stand with people of peace and faith and against these acts of terror.