Monday, January 27, 2014

fishers of people

Jesus often refers to his disciples as “fishers” of people.  He gives this illusion and charge for us to be fishers.  This week reflecting on this I couldn’t help but think of the different ways in which we can be fisherman. (or fisherwomen).   There is the fishing with rods, in which you pick your bait, put it on a hook and sit waiting for the fish to come.  This style of fishing is very passive and in fact does not take a lot of work.  This style of fishing is also pretty slow.  The fishing that happens in the Bible is a much more aggressive form.  Instead of just sitting around waiting for one fish to arrive, fishermen put nets into the water and as they scoop around they sweep up bunches of fish at a time.  This form of fishing isn’t choose but instead all types of fish are up for grabs.  And this is the style of fishers we all need to be!  Not passive, certainly not choose and we don’t need any lame bait because the Good News of Jesus is pretty much all we need. 
We are called not to judge because everyone is worthy of God’s love.  We are called to proclaim Jesus to all we meet not just a few because we are not called to evangelize to only one at a time but instead to everyone we meet.  So this week ponder what type of Fisher are you?  And what type is God calling us to be? And how to we move between?

Thursday, January 23, 2014

annual meeting

Annual meetings
Yup it is that time of year again, the time of year when the committee chairs are rushing to get their reports in and the Clerk of Session is rolling in paperwork – Annual Meeting time.
It is really important that we hold this meeting once a year.  In part we do it because we are Presbyterian and it is called for in our Book of Order but more importantly we do it to increase communication and to give ourselves a record of the year.  This is important for our future church members as well as a nice reminder to ourselves of our year. 
I was recently reminded that because bad memories are usually associated with higher energy and/or stress we usually have more adrenalin pumping which is a key factor in helping us remember.  In fact, we remember more bad then good because of our bodies physiology.  And thus, it is essential that we take time each year and reflect; stopping and thinking of all the things that came our way and how they inform our future.  We have had a very successful year celebrating 200 years of church history.  Each year at our annual meeting we conclude with the positive or joys of the year.  Such an important reminder that we have much to celebrate. 
This year we are holding our Annual Meeting in the afternoon after a potluck lunch.  Come out and support us and celebrate in our year. One of the exciting things you will see is the new picture directory. 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

The familiar

It is the familiar in our faith that brings us comfort and assurance.  Calvin often noted that it was because of ritual and familiarity in our worship services that our faith was confirmed and strengthened.  The thought being that familiarity allowed for us to be more open to the spirit and thus feel the spirit more strongly.  Interesting, is it not?
And I feel that we have all felt that to.  When we are in moments of need or joy stating familiar prayers like the Lord’s prayer or reading familiar passages give us greater comfort.  This is important.  Our worship services are predictable and we all know when we should stand and when we should sit; we know the words to the Gloria and we can easily follow along in a bulletin to any church service, even churches we don’t usually worship at.
Yet, what if we didn’t have faith? Or at least a church to call home? What if we had never been to a church worship service or only attended weddings and funerals…how strange would it feel to you?  How worried would you be that you didn’t make a fool of yourself?

These are important things to think about.  For these are reasons why many of the 49% of unchurched people don’t go to church.  And also such an important part of what is “missing” in people’s life.  You see, as one of your session members asked sometime this year “[unchurched] just don’t know what they are missing” and that is SO true.
Yes our churches have some bad parts – yes we must ask for money, yes some ask too often and some have done some bad things with it.  Yes we have our in fighting but that is just because we are so passionate about our faith and our churches. 
Next time you are talking to someone who doesn’t have a church home, think about this…what would you be missing by not having a church faith to celebrate your belief with? And how can we make worship more comfortable?

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Beating the Winter Trap


On Thursday of this week the sun was shining bright, the blue skies could actually be seen and at 5pm it was actually still light outside – the first signs to me that it is indeed getting closer to spring.  Outside our windows this week was another story.  The frigid air that hit us a few of these days however was a harsh reminder that it not only is still winter but we do indeed live in upstate New York (or perhaps the North pole?).

This too is the Season of Epiphany.  The sign of God’s revelation to the world and more importantly this Sunday is the baptism of the Lord Sunday.  As Baptized Christians we are called to be born anew in our baptism.  Now, I’m using this phrase knowing well what implications I’m bringing to you.  You see, it is important that through becoming Christians we realize that our lives are different and we are changed.  For by being Christian we are called to live a higher and new life. 

But it is easy for us as Christians to fall into the trap of deception.  You see just like those who sat inside their warm homes on Thursday looking out at what looked like a beautiful day.  We are called to do more than just proclaim our Christianity well living sheltered lives.  We are called to do more than sit in comfort and overlook the obvious – the harsh realities of the world around.  We often put blinders on the realities around us and don’t fully live into our Christian call.   We might be “doing” everything we think we need to and yet if we are not opening our eyes fully we might be missing out on God’s true voice speaking to us.

Another slant to this illusion is that it is easy for us as Christians to judge the world around us by what we see and think we can observe.  But we are called through Jesus to make our Lord the judge of all and are called instead to show love to all we meet.  We must take heed to this call from God for this is what Christianity is all about, isn’t it?
There will be several more days in which the Sun will beat it’s warm rays down upon us and we will be reminded of what Spring and Summer shall bring.  When that happens, let us be reminded that in our life we need to do more than accept things for the way they look. Instead we should search beyond knowing that God, through our baptism, has called us to live anew, to be better and to challenge our understands finding meaning beyond what we think we know.