We number in the thousands. Displaced preachers.
We were beginning to look toward Easter and the crowds that would pack our lily-filled sanctuaries. Lectionary preachers were already studying John’s account of the day of resurrection. I had decided to reflect on Luke’s telling of the story. But then, just two weeks after Ash Wednesday, our screens began to light up with talk of shutdowns and quarantines. For many of us, March 8 was the last Sunday in our pulpits, and even then we had no idea of what was coming.
Sunday, Pentecost Sunday, will be the twelfth Sunday of Lockdown. 84 days since we last took to the pulpit and looked out over a sea of familiar faces. 84 days since we preached the word to understanding nods, a few frowns, and the usual suspects nodding off into a morning nap.
I miss preaching. I miss the high honor and heavy responsibility of bringing God’s Word to a beloved flock. I miss the ordinary and familiar, the well-rehearsed routine of being ready for Sunday morning. I miss the “nice sermon” comments at the door and wondering what was nice about it. Continue reading
It was a big old house and originally the Gillam Avenue eastside next door neighbor of LPC, back when LPC was not much more than what we now call the chapel. In time the LPC building began its slow creep eastward, and in time the church bought the old house. At first it served as a manse – a parsonage, the pastor’s house, and later as an annex for Sunday School class rooms and church meetings. We called it Cunningham Hall, I suppose after the original owner. One of you can set me straight on that.
Sometime in the late 1950s, certainly before the current Sanctuary was built in the early 1960s, Cunningham Hall, the old house, was knocked down to make way for a parking lot. That’s what Americans did in the 1950s. Some of us have parked right on top of the spot where the old house used to stand, and, who knows, maybe the pastor’s office is where the old front porch used to welcome passers by. Continue reading
Jeremiah advised the Exiles to build houses and plant gardens. They weren’t to begrudge their circumstances, rather, they were to ready themselves for the plans God had for them – plans to give them a future and a hope.
The word to the Exiles has been a lesson for God’s people ever since. However discouraging our circumstances, however bleak the world our eyes perceive or our ears hear, God is at work, often unseen, unheard, his plans and purposes to fulfill.
Even during lockdown, even in the age of pandemic, God is calling LPC to place its lamp on a stand – hide it under a bushel? NO! We’ve talked about transitional leadership after Becky and I retire: Tyler, Brian, and Casey overseeing our ministries and helping us stay focused on the elders’ vision for work. We knew that shifting responsibilities would leave some gaps in the vital areas of youth and children’s ministries, ministries that have continued strongly, and, especially in the case of youth ministry, even thrived during lockdown. Continue reading
And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh. And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” Genesis 9:12-16
The photo at the head of this post was taken at Kibuye, Burundi, East Africa, April 26. The photo at the foot of this post was taken in Langhorne, Pennsylvania, USA, April 27. A (double) rainbow over the mission and medical compound that is Hope Kibuye. Twenty four hours later a rainbow arced over LPC on a cloudy spring evening.
We love rainbows. Continue reading
This is my Father’s world,
the birds their carols raise,
the morning light, the lily white,
declare their Maker’s praise.
The old hymn first sings of a common grace, what we call general revelation. The created order gives witness to its creator. With eyes to see and ears to hear, the human creature, above all others, is made to know its Creator. The Apostle Paul puts it this way in Romans 1 when he speaks of all humanity: For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
In the midst of lockdown, grieving, pain, and sorrow, this spring has been, remarkably so, a common grace spring. All nature sings and round me rings the music of the spheres. Continue reading