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.
Dear Glen Mar friends,
"I am the church, you are the church, we are the church together..." Church is not a one-man or one-woman show - it's the body of Christ and all parts are needed. Did you know that YOU have gifts that we need to accomplish the Mission to which we are called? To praise God, grow disciples of Jesus Christ, and serve the world? To be witnesses to and for Jesus wherever we are? Join us on Sunday as we celebrate the ways we are equipped to accomplish our Mission together - the ways God calls all of us to serve. Join us also for our Fall Festival/Ministry Fair/Cosume Contest with Bags of Candy at the End for Safety on Sunday from 3-5 pm. Learn about ways you can "plug in" at Glen Mar even in this season of "distancing".
I've been meeting with several small groups in connection with our Mission Possible campaign. I want to try to reach everyone who might like to be in conversation about Glen Mar and our call to be the church for our neighbors. If you haven't met with me and would like to, I'm holding a Zoom meeting on Sunday, 10/25 at 5 pm. To join, email me for the zoom link.
If you haven't checked out Vespers lately, the music is live and great, and the message is wonderful and the weather's been outstanding. Plenty of room, and you can worship in your car too. Sign up for Saturday Night here: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/4090B4CAAAC2AA31-saturday
On Sunday, we have plenty of space in the place as well. Sign up here to join us in person on Sunday mornings at 10 am. https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10C0D49AFAF2AA0F9C52-sunday.
See you "in Church" or "online,"
Dear Glen Mar friends,
How is your Mission Possible week going? Have you accomplished your weekly mission we are calling "Walk and Chalk"---a prayer walk around your neighborhood, with an encouraging chalk message or two? I hope you have found our daily devotions helpful this week. The link to "Week 2" devotions is here: https://pdfs.glenmarumc.org/MissionPossibleDevotionsWeek2.pdf.
This week's worship theme is Gratitude - and we'll see all the ways the early Church in Acts was grateful for what God had done in Christ, and how that gratitude was transformed into generosity. Perhaps you have experienced the link between gratitude and generosity in your own life. Maybe there was a time when you experienced God's grace and forgiveness, and that made you more forgiving to others. Or, you know of a time when you needed love, or support, or maybe a financial blessing to make it through and make it over a hurdle, and God provided through a friend, or family member, or Glen Mar brother or sister, and you were able to "pay it forward" for someone else in need. A grateful person is so often a generous person. And a generous person is so often a grateful person. As Paul writes, "You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity with result in thanksgiving to God (2 Corinthians 9:11)."
Reserve your spot for Saturday Night Live here: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/4090b4caaac2aa31-saturday
And reserve your spot for Sunday morning here (we have plenty of room at both)
Or join us online - No matter which one you choose, I'll....
See you in Church,
Dear Glen Mar friends,
Our first Sunday back in the Spirit Center went really well. It was so good to hear voices and see real people again. It felt like "church" to me. Let's do it again! If you're not ready, or you want to be at home, that's totally fine. If you're "in the house" you can expect masks, lots of space between family units and great worship. If you're at home, you can also expect...great worship! We're taking reservations here https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10C0D49AFAF2AA0F9C52-sunday.
I'll be preaching on Acts Ch. 1, as we start a brand new, exciting worship, stewardship and capital campaign series called Mission Possible! The sermon title is (wait for it), "Your Mission, If You Choose To Accept It." We'll be exploring how the early Church lived out its mission as Spirit-filled and Spirit-led followers of Jesus, and talk about where God is leading Glen Mar by the power of that same Holy Spirit. The series will last through Nov. 8, where we will recommit ourselves as followers of Jesus by renewing our baptismal vows and sharing our commitments around the mission Jesus calls us to...Mission Possible! You may have already received a snail-mailing with more info about what's ahead. You won't want to miss it!
Because we are bathing the whole series in prayer, as we pray for our neighbors, our Church, and our call to love and serve, we are asking folks to sign up for a "sweet hour of prayer" for how God is working through Glen Mar to root people in the life-giving message of Jesus Christ. It's starting at 10 am this Saturday, 10/10 through 9 am on Sunday 10/11. You can pray right where you are. Signup here: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/60B0B4CA5A72FA75-mission
At Saturday Night Live (5 pm), we'll continue our study of Fruit of the Spirit with "Goodness." Come out to hear God's Word, with music and safe singing by Dan and the Band. Here's the list for that. https://www.signupgenius.com/go/4090B4CAAAC2AA31-saturday
See you in Church!!! (Yep, still glad to type that....),
Dear Glen Mar friends,
Welcome back to Worship!
This Sunday, we'll welcome a (so far small) group of folks to our sanctuary for worship at 10 am. Masked and distanced. If you're not ready, or you want to be at home, that's totally fine. If you're "in the house" you can expect masks, lots of space between family units and great worship. If you're at home, you can also expect...great worship! We're taking reservations here https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10C0D49AFAF2AA0F9C52-sunday.
And Saturday, we're giving 3rd graders their Bibles at Saturday Night Live (5 pm)! The weather is looking great! Come out to support and "be the church" for them, with music and safe singing by Dan and the Band. Here's the list for that. https://www.signupgenius.com/go/4090B4CAAAC2AA31-saturday
This weekend, we'll have "take home communion" kits for those present in worship on Sunday as we celebrate World Communion Sunday together. Normally, I have to work hard to make the point that on World Communion Sunday we celebrate that people are gathering around the Lord's Table all around the world, not just at Glen Mar. This year, that point is easily made - because many of those tables are in townhouses and apartments, in retirement communities, and maybe even a picnic table or two. Truly the Lord's Table happens whenever 2 or 3 are gathered in Jesus' name, and the Holy Spirit makes us one, whether our bread is naan, or challah, or rye or gluten free crackers. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is peace and joy, there is justice and love...and this Sunday, Jesus will truly be "everywhere."
See you in Church!!! (I've been waiting so long to say that!!).
Dear Glen Mar friends,
Saturday Night Live is still going strong - and we'll keep going as long as weather permits. RSVP here - you can be in a chair in a parking space or in your warm and comfy car! https://www.signupgenius.com/go/4090B4CAAAC2AA31-saturday is the registration link. And...we will invite around 40 people to join us in the Spirit Center for worship on Sunday, 10/4 - stay tuned for details on how to reserve a spot.
I was reading Julian of Norwich's Reflections on Divine Love this week. It occurred to me that Julian lived at a very tumultuous time - late 13th century - early 14th century England. They were facing the plague of the Black Death, which decimated the population of Europe in ways that would make COVID-19 seem tame. There were wars and insurrections. There was famine and oppression. Still, Julian had visions of God's presence through it all. In those visions, she said, she never saw any indication that followers of Christ would avoid trouble, or pain or sorrow. She did, however see clearly that in the falling and the rising, we would be held and carried by God's love. She writes "He said not 'Thou shalt not be tempested, thou shalt not be travailed, thou shalt not be dis-eased'; but he said, 'Thou shalt not be overcome."
Her most famous quote was, "All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well." What a strange message to get from God in a time when things were so bleak and broken. It feels dismissive almost, or at worst, delusional.
And yet...as we live in our own times of brokenness...perhaps Julian's word is a word for our time too. The brokenness is not of God's design. The injustice and violence are not of God's design. Much of the pain and many of the wounds we inflict are of our own making. But in the midst of it all, another story is being played out. And that story is stronger than the travails we are facing now - it is a melody line under the clashing notes that deafen us - and it is a song of lament for the ways we have missed the mark, and that weeping that endures for often what feels like a long, long night. And it is a song of joy that comes, resurrection that comes, reconciliation that comes...if we do not give up.
See you "in church",