Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Trail to the Summit


Hiked the Peters Mountain Trail with a friend, Jon Bausman, pastor of Aldersgate Church, while on the York District Clergy retreat.

New Member

Dick, presented by Curvin, joined Bethany this past Sunday during our 9:00 service. We are blessed!

Block Party Pics


Thanks to all who helped out with the big day, and to Kim's Karate for their demonstration.

The Lord's Prayer: Us

2 Chronicles 20 (Jehosaphat and the choir - moments with the children)
Matthew 6:5-15 (message focus)

Review:
how not to pray, how to pray
ADDRESS: Intimacy, family, community, divinity
REQUESTS: Your name, kingdom, will

LOCATION: “On earth as it is in heaven”
Not only closes out the first set of 3 requests but redirects the prayer to “on earth”; to human problems and needs; to what God’s name hallowed, kingdom come, and will done may look like.

Keeps this prayer from being super spiritual, a spirituality that neglects physicality. Forgiveness and deliverance can be read in a purely spiritual way. What of “daily bread”?

Eugene Peterson on Oxyrhynchus (Egypt) and the meaning of “epiousion” (daily), daily as in “fresh baked” (Eat This Book: A Conversation in the Art of Spiritual Reading, 2006, pp 141-150).

The first three requests dealt with heavenly matters, matters that find their origin and ideal in that realm. The second three requests deal with earthly matters. Jesus reminds us that it is not only appropriate but fitting and right to pray for these things.

But, as we discovered in the address to “OUR Father”, we see here the presence of the entire community. The requests are for humans in community, for “on earth” as “one earth”. “Give us”, “Forgive us”, “Deliver us”.

The language of this prayer thus pushes back against two persistent destructive tendencies in spirituality:
to spiritualize faith so that we neglect or marginalize the “earthly”
to privatize faith so that we neglect or ignore the community

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Lord's Prayer: Your

(Notes only this past week) 1 Kings 18:41-46 (moments with the children)

Matthew 6:5-15 (message focus)

Fall ROOTS series.

There is so much in this text. Jesus starts out by telling us how NOT to pray. Don’t pray to put on a show. Prayer is talking with God. It is a private thing. It is not to make us look good. And, don’t treat prayer as work – the more you pray the more God hears. We aren’t supposed to wear God out with whining or negotiating. The best prayer is simple and direct.

Then, he teaches us how to pray. He gives us a great gift, “The Lord’s Prayer” or the “Our Father”.

Robin, Jesse’s birth, praying "The Lord's Prayer"

Friday, September 16, 2011

Breakfast reception



Thanks to JoAnn for her years of excellent ministry as secretary! And to Khris and team for the great breakfast.

Block Party 2011 - Rescheduled

Now set for Saturday, September 24, 2011
10:00 AM-1:00PM
Rain or Shine
(In case of rain, the event will be held indoors.)

Everything is FREE for children 12 and under
One FREE Back to School kit for every child 12 and under

Bounce House, Games, Crafts,
Face Painting, Food
Ball Walk
Kim’s Karate Demonstration

From last year's Block Party.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Flood Story

From Dona L, last Thursday - Thanks for sharing!

Yesterday I was evacuated from my office position through the hospital. The creek rose so fast we had 15 minutes to get out through a fence that was cut for escape. My car was left behind as I walked up Mt Rose Ave hill towards the apartment.

When I got to the corner of the alley and saw my home I broke down and cried. I was wet inside and out, tired and exhausted but thankful for the strength in my body to get me safe with my faithful dog, Cooper. We often take for granted so many little things.

I am thankful to be safe, thankful for the electric that came back on, thankful for God's Grace to yet help me through another storm and challenge in my life.

It takes a lot to scare me, but I was scared. Walking through the evacuation route, up the hill in the rain I was on auto pilot. Not thinking other then one step at a time. When I turned that corner and saw my home it hit me how fortunate my life has been.

I do not know if my car is damaged and do not care. Cooper and myself are okay. I ate yet another meal of green beans and zucchini from my lil city garden, turned the faucet for water to drink, shared my rice with Cooper, enjoying the comfort of my life. Another example of the abundant love God has offered to me.

In your prayers of thanks, make sure my life is included. I am blessed by strength, love of family and friends and neighbors. I have food to eat, and a certainly my reward for these challenges will someday be offered.

Flood Response

From our District Superintendent, Rev. Mark Webb, an excerpt on flood response, availability of assistance and the call for volunteers. Please do pass along any flood info to the church office.

Friends,

I hope everyone is well and beginning to dry out. We have received reports of various levels of flooding throughout the district with most issues being wet basements and leaky roofs. However several communities have been hit hard in spots and we will continue to discern needs and offer appropriate responses. In other Districts there is significant damage and loss in the Wilkes-Barre District and damage to churches and homes in the Lewisburg, Harrisburg, New Cumberland, Williamsport and Wellsboro Districts.

In talking with Larry Siikanen, Disaster Response Coordinator for the Annual Conference, there are things you need to know and can do to help your folks and the community move toward clean-up and restoration.

1. The Annual Conference through the Mission Board is in the process of hiring 3 people to coordinate the clean-up throughout our conference. It is hoped that they will be in place within a week. One of the three persons will be dedicated to coordinate work in mid-conference, another in the northeast and north, and a third in the south and west as needed. Those names will be available to you as soon as they are in place.

2. As people begin to return home and you know of needs for clean-up from the flood, please take their contact information and either send them to Larry at: lsiikanen@susumc.org or call him at: 570.898.8710. You can also send the information to the District Office and it will be forwarded on to Larry. If your whole area is in need of help, let Larry know that. The needs don’t have to only be your parishioners, but folks in your neighborhood. Larry and the coordinators will begin to coordinate teams to come in and evaluate and then work to try and get VIM/Work Teams into the area.

3. If you have people that want to help or if your church wants to organize VIM/Work Teams please coordinate that through Larry. He will be able to know where the teams need to be deployed.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

God and Geopolitics (2): I Tremble Within

Lamentations 1:1-3, 1:4, 3:21-26 (call to worship)

Habakkuk 3:1-19 (message focus)

Last week, I mentioned that I chose Habakkuk because the prophet is dealing personally and theologically with a situation that has parallels to our experience of September 11. The parallels are limited, but the theological questions he faces are common – judgment, justice, revenge, the end of all things, the clash of cultures, wrath, mercy, God.

I remember that morning, watching the news shows and shocked and riveted by the “breaking news”. Robin kept telling me that the buildings were going to fall. And, I kept saying that they wouldn’t. I remember the surge of patriotism, seeing the flag everywhere – even those of us who don’t typically display the flag were doing so – we focused on being “one” as a nation (at least for a little while). I remember talking with a trucker who had been making delivery in NYC the day before. I remember Dolly Parton, at the Washington July 4th concert event, offering up her personal brand of shock and awe for the troops entering Afghanistan. I remember the revenge fantasies – why don’t we just nuke ‘em all. I remember the fear of the other, particularly Arabs, and the pain of my Muslim and Arab friends – who, just like me, were entirely shocked and appalled by the attacks.

I appreciate the Bible more and more. I am amazed by how human God’s Book really is. Did you hear Habakkuk say, “I wait quietly for the day of calamity to come upon the people who attack us” (3.16)? Talk about a revenge fantasy! Of course, it is not all he says, and it is not the end of the matter. In the beginning of this short book, Habakkuk makes clear that he and his own people have some judgment coming, and deservedly so (1.13). Perhaps that is the source of the wisdom of Proverbs, which the Wednesday lunch group looked at this past week: “Those who are glad at calamity will not go unpunished” (Pro 17.5b). So, in this chapter, he prays, “In wrath may you remember mercy” (3.2).

Much like the opening section, this passage has Habakkuk speak and God respond. Unlike the opening section, this ends with Habakkuk speaking and the middle – God’s response – is “heard” (3.16, 3.2, “shema”) but not in words. It is a vision; in the context of the book it may well be the vision the LORD refers to in chapter 2: “Write the vision ... so that a runner may read it” (2.2). Today we’ll begin by diving into the vision, first two images for God and then two origins for God.

Friday, September 9, 2011

9/11

In both services this Sunday we will take time to pray, with grief and hope, on the tenth anniversary of the September 11 attack. Check out stories of The United Methodist Church in response to 9/11. Pic is from a 2005 visit to Ground Zero, NYC.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Block Party 2011

Postponed because of regional flooding.
Saturday, September 10, 2011
10:00 AM-1:00PM
Rain or Shine
(In case of rain, the event will be held indoors.)

Everything is FREE for children 12 and under
One FREE Back to School kit for every child 12 and under

Bounce House, Games, Crafts,
Face Painting, Food
Ball Walk
Kim’s Karate Demonstration


Pics from last year's fun (a cool day in mid-October).

Coin Drive

Thanks to everyone for participating in our August Kids' Coin Drive for our children's mission partners - The United Methodist Children's Home in Mechanicsburg and Building Solid Foundations (books for school libraries in Apam, Ghana). We broke the wheelbarrow "bank"!

Dance

It was great to have Lindsey share her gift of liturgical dance in worship with us this past Sunday!  Thanks so much! Forgot my camera, so this is off the phone.

God and Geopolitics (1): The Wicked Surround the Righteous

Psalm 37:1-11 (call to worship)
Habakkuk 1:1 - 2:5 (message focus)

I selected Habakkuk for this season – the approach of the tenth anniversary of the September 11 attack – because Habakkuk is dealing personally and theologically with a situation with some parallels to that of our nation. I say “some parallels” because every event and situation are unique. The theological questions he faces have something in common with the conversations about judgment, justice, revenge, the end of all things, the clash of cultures, grace, faith, and God that were and are part of our response to 9-11 and the continued war on terror. It even includes reference to an international debt crisis and employment and wage issues. To me, the most remarkable thing about biblical prophecy is not prediction of the future coming of Christ (which is admittedly amazing) but the ability to speak timeless truth. Today I am not going to draw all the parallels. I encourage you to take some time to read the three chapters of this book this week. Today, we’ll focus on Habakkuk’s dilemma, his crisis of faith in his own time.

We know nothing about Habakkuk the man. He is referred to in one other book, not in the Scripture, but that tells us nothing about him personally (New Oxford Annotated Bible introduction; Abraham J. Heschel). All we have is this book, and the book gives us nothing to locate it in history except the reference to the rise of the Chaldeans – in Babylon, modern Iraq – a reference that places Habakkuk in the southern kingdom of Judah. It opens with a dialogue, a conversation, between Habakkuk and the LORD, first the prophet speaking and then God responding – which we read this morning. It continues with five “woe’s”, traditional oracles of judgment. And, it concludes with a prayer in song form, clearly meant for use in worship. That final prayer-song will be our focus next week.

The dialogue reflects on the justice of God in an unjust world. It addresses the question, What if God uses evil people to mete out justice? Isn’t that inherently unjust? And that was one of the main reasons I connected with Habakkuk as I reflect back ten years to the events of the 9-11 attacks. I remember Christian religious leaders in our nation declaring that those attacks were the judgment of God upon our nation. Then, and now, I found the remarks, personally, offensive. And the fact that Osama bin Laden likewise viewed the attacks as the judgment of God? Well, that gives cause for pause. At this point, of course, the parallels break down. Habakkuk’s ministry took place 2600 years ago and the historical situation was quite different. Though the questions, the theological questions, the faith issues, have some overlap. We’ll focus on Habakkuk and his faith.