The season of Easter just ended with two special Sundays, Pentecost and Trinity Sunday. This Sunday we enter a long season of the church year lasting all of summer and most of fall traditionally called “ORDINARY TIME.” Sundays in ordinary time have no special names, only numbers (ordinals), but that does not mean that they are not important. The truth is that we live most of our lives in ordinary time, and God continues to lead us to experience and do both ordinary and extraordinary things. The traditional green liturgical color for ordinary time is especially fitting for this is a time for lifelong growth and service.
All year we have been celebrating various aspect of the wonderful Good News that Jesus proclaimed and lived. This Sunday we will reflect on his command to the disciples, found in Matthew 28:16-20, to go and freely share his good news with all people. We have good news to share. Will you?
This coming Sunday is Pentecost Sunday. You are invited to wear red, orange or yellow to commemorate the gift of the Spirit of God experienced as dramatic “tongues of fire” by the first disciples of Jesus in Acts 2. This year, however, my message will examine the quiet, gentler gift of the Spirit as found in the gospel of John, particularly John 20:22. The Good News of God’s Spirit.
This coming Sunday my message will explore The Good News of NOW. We often get caught up in regrets or nostalgia about the past, or hopes and fears about the future, and neglect to fully experience the present as the precious gift from God that it is. We need to realize that “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is mystery. Today is a gift; that’s why it’s called a present.” Along with the psalmist let us say, “This is the day that the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it!” (Ps 118:24)
This Sunday we will reflect on the story of Jesus’ feeding of the 5,000 as found in Mark 6:30-44. Jesus is moved by compassion to provide nourishment for hurting people through his teaching, healing, and example. I see in this story The Good News of COMPASSION. Compassion enables us to tap into often hidden sources of nourishment and healing, not just for ourselves but for those around us. This “compassion effect” is a powerful thing.
Home is something that we may take for granted until we are traveling away from home, moving from one home to another, or even more challenging, experiencing a time of homelessness. There is something within most of us that longs for a “home”. This longing for home is expressed in familiar sayings like “There is no place like home,” “Home is where the heart is,” and “Home, sweet, home”, among others. Yet our longing for “home” is often complicated and frustrated. This Sunday we will reflect together on The Good News of HOME, a good news meant not just for us, but for all people.
After working on last week’s message on Jesus’ invitation to lay down the burdens of our personality and find rest for our souls, I realized that I needed to follow up this week with The Good News of REST, part II. For we all desperately need times of rest from our life and work responsibilities. Otherwise we just burn out, get discouraged, ineffective and sometimes bitter. Jesus knew this, and he modeled this. So this week we will be exploring together Jesus’ invitation to his disciples to “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest for a while.” (Mark 6:31) In the busyness of our lives, how can we find the rest we need? Come, and find out.
On this first Sunday after Easter, I will be preaching on The Good News of REST offered by Jesus in Matthew 11:28-30. I think Jesus means something deeper here than just some time off or a nice vacation although this kind of rest is certainly essential to restore mind, body and soul after too much work and too many responsibilities. What is this deeper rest? What are the burdens we can finally lay down? Come this Sunday and find out.
APRIL 1 is EASTER SUNDAY. We will gather to celebrate The Good News of RESURRECTION with special music, and communion. You are invited to bring flowers from your garden to decorate our cross. Blessings, Ernie