Choices…to Be Made Well

Choices. Choices face us every day.

How do we choose…from our many choices?

A story…about choices.

A middle-aged man, named Franklin, received an unusual inheritance from a unconventional uncle. Franklin lived in New England. [Read more…]

T-Shirts and Christmas and July, Oh My!

T-shirts and Christmas and July, oh my!
T-shirts and Christmas and July, oh my!
T-SHIRTS AND CHRISTMAS AND JULY, OH MY!

Question: What do t-shirts, Christmas and July have to do with one another, other than an allusion to the mantra–“Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!”–uttered in The Wizard of Oz?

Answer: T-shirts and Christmas are key themes in our worship gather- ings during the month of July.
On July 5, the first Sunday in July, we will celebrate (our first ever!) “T-Shirt Sunday” at The United Church of Warsaw.

On July 26, the final Sunday in July, we will celebrate our on-going, annual “Christmas in July” at The United Church of Warsaw.

Question: What will happen on “T-Shirt Sunday”?

Answer: All those who attend Sunday worship on July 5 are invited to wear a t-shirt that features a faith-based theme or motto. Those wearing a “faith-based” t-shirt will be invited to rise briefly (as they are able) during the time of the sermon and read the message printed on their t-shirt. The pastor will then incorporate the faith-based message on the t-shirt into an impromptu meditation. That morning, the pastor will call on up to five people to read their t-shirts during the time of the sermon.

Question: Why are we celebrating “T-Shirt Sunday”?

Answer: In the 20th and 21st Centuries, printed t-shirts have emerged as a viable means of communicating scriptural and spiritual lessons. For example, if anyone were to walk into my Pastor’s Office, one would see five t-shirts hanging prominently on the south wall of the office space. Each of the five t-shirts bears a specific and timely message. Here is a sampling of the t-shirt messages in my office:

“Come what may, I want to run.” 2 Samuel 18:23
*****

PRAYER: The world’s greatest wireless connection
*****

I don’t believe in miracles. I rely on them!
*****

Invitation: On Communion Sunday, July 5, all (that means all family members) are encouraged to
come to Sunday worship at 10 a.m. in the sanctuary and to wear a t-shirt with faith-based message printed on it.

Guidelines: Suggested example of t-shirt message to wear:
Please be patient.

God isn’t finished with me yet!

Suggested example of t-shirt message NOT to wear:
Road Kill

*****

Question: What will happen on “Christmas in July” Sunday?

Answer: All music during worship on Sunday, June 26, will be Christmas-themed. Moreover, the message of the morning will be Christmas-related. Finally, Jennifer Fisher, the Director of Chancel
Ringers, will present a “Mini Bell Concert” during worship, and all her bell/chime music will be Christmas-based. A Special Offering will be taken during worship (in addition to our regular Offering) to support and offset the costs of sending four Bell Ringers (three youth and one adult) to Bell Conferences in June and July.

Invitation: All members and friends of our family of faith are invited to participate in our “Christmas in July” service on Sunday, July 26, at 10 a.m. in the sanctuary. Special Christmas
refreshments will be provided during the Time of Fellowship after the service.

Guidelines: Bring Christmas spirit! Wear Christmas apparel (hats, ties and bells)! Don Christmas colors (red and green)! Sing Christmas carols! Share Christmas love!

*****

In the month of July–especially on the Fourth of July–we often speak or hear these prayerful words: God bless America!
This July, may these be our prayerful words:
On July 5 – May the words of our t-shirts and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable to you, O Lord, our rock and our redeemer. (Psalm 19:14, paraphrased)
On July 26 – Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those of good will. (Luke 2:14)

Beside you in the journey of faith,
Rev. Barbara

Words for Grads, Words for Dads

Seasonally, the month of June is a “stormy” month.

This is not to say that the 30 days of June are climatically defined by rainstorms, hailstorms, thunderstorms or–Lord, have mercy!–snowstorms.

Rather, the month of June serves as a temporal stage for storms of celebrations–celebrations of graduations as well as celebrations of fatherhood.

Storms of nature can swoosh through geographic regions without much human notice.  Likewise, storms of celebrations–be they celebrations of graduations or of fatherhood–can swoosh through our mental calendars without our paying much notice…to those who are being celebrated.

Let’s pause and take notice of the people for whom the storms of celebrations are raging.

Let’s honor the grads and the dads within our families and our family of faith.

 

Words for Grads

Dear graduates:

Wow!  You have done so much.

And you have so much that you may be.  Wow.

In this time of celebration of you, may you recall and be guided by essential truths expressed in the words below:

The value of time;

The success of perseverance;

The pleasure of working;

The dignity of simplicity;

The worth of character;

The improvement of talent;

The influence of example;

The obligation of duty;

The wisdom of economy;

The virtue of patience;

The joy of originating;

The power of kindness.

 

 

Words for Dads

Dear dads and father-figures:

Wow!  You have done so much.

And you have so much that you may be.  Wow.

In this time of celebration of you, may you recall and be guided by essential truths encased in the story below:

Early one evening, a man came home from a stressful and stress-filled day at work.

The man was father to four children.

That evening, the man wanted nothing more than to sit in his favorite chair in the living room–alone and uninterrupted–and to read the day’s newspaper.

The man settled himself into the blue, upholstered chair known as “Dad’s Chair.”  He opened up the newspaper.

Within a minute, one son approached him.  He looked tentative.

“Dad, I hear the ice cream truck coming.  May I please have some money for an ice cream cone?” asked the son.

The man put down the newspaper.  He reached into his pocket, and he pulled out the necessary coins.

“Here you go, son,” said the man.

“Thanks, Dad!” said the boy.  Now assured, the son ran off.

The man picked up the newspaper.

Another minute passed.  A daughter came running to him.  She looked upset.

“Daddy, I fell out of the tree house and hurt my knee.  Mommy washed it and bandaged it.  Will you please kiss it and make it feel better?”

The man put down the newspaper.  He leaned over and gently kissed the bandaged knee.

“Thanks, Daddy!” said the girl.  Now smiling, the daughter scampered off.

The man picked up the newspaper.

Another minute passed.  An older son walked over to him.  He looked frustrated.

“Dad, I’m confused on this calculus problem.  Will you please help me figure it out?” asked the son.

The man put down the newspaper.  He looked at the page in the calculus textbook with his son.

Together they reconstructed the problem.  With his father’s guidance, the son reached a solution.

“Thanks, Dad!” said the teenaged boy.  Now relaxed, the older son walked off.

The man picked up the newspaper.

Another minute passed.  The youngest child–a daughter–burst into the room.

“Daddy!” shouted the little girl.

The man put down the newspaper.

“What do you want?” asked the man.  He looked exasperated.

“Oh, Daddy.  I don’t want anything.  I just want to sit in your lap,” said the youngest child.

Fatherhood is time-consuming…and, yet, time-less.

* * * **

Beside you in the journey of faith,

Rev. Barbara

Easter…without Bunnies or Bonnets or Baskets

If we were to allow supermarkets and department stores and shopping malls to define “Easter,” we might well be jolted with a garish parade of the following:

A New List for the New Year

Lists.

Those series of words or names or items…that are written or printed or imagined…that feature one after another after another after another…of whatever is being listed.

Lists. [Read more…]

An Un-Wrappable Gift

Gift.

In this holy/holiday season, the four-letter word “gift” seems to represent unspeakable expectation and to carry immeasurable weight.

Many of us–too many of us–have spent incalculable quantities of time, money and energy [Read more…]

In a Season of Frenzy, Choose Serenity

IT…is coming.
Ready or not, IT…is coming.
Whether you like it or whether you loathe, IT…is coming.
What is…IT?

IT…is the crazy, chaotic, commerce-catering corridor of days, beginning [Read more…]

Pleasing People versus Pleasing God

“Remember that you are called to be faithful, not successful. A Minister of God is called to be faithful in the eyes of God, not successful in the eyes of the world.”

These words were spoken by Rev. William (“Flan”) Flanagan. Flan was one of my clergy mentors who served at St. Andrew Presbyterian [Read more…]

I Asked God

“So, what did you do this summer?”

September is typically the month when children, teens and adults are asked–in some manner–how they lived the previous 80 days.

“So, what did you do this summer?”

Typically, the answers include [Read more…]

Just for Today

The month of August is in the thick of summer. And August seems to be a ripe month for “projects.”

Friends in my life, folks in my neighborhood and members in the church seem to be in the thick of “projects.” Their projects are vast and varied: erecting a playground set for children, refurbishing a bathroom, reclaiming a [Read more…]