Happening Now Blog

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Wednesday Messages

from Pastor Brian 

Feeding five thousand people with five loaves and two fish?  The gospel reading next Sunday is an attention getter.  Jesus takes a few loaves and fishes offered by the disciples and turns it into a meal for thousands.  There are many meanings in this story, but one especially speaks to me as I survey the super-abundance of stuff on display for the rummage sale.  The miracle of loaves and fishes is a tale of the abundance of God's reign.  Where humans see scarcity, God sees abundance. When people can't see it, God helps them to see it.  In God's creation — in God's realm — good things are already all around us all the time.  But we need God to help us see, appreciate, and use rightly the good gifts God gives to all creatures.

The outpouring of goods given for this rummage sale is a sign of God's reign.  God calls us to act with generosity, compassion, and commitment to the common good.  Individually, we each have a few items we no longer need.  We offer them to God by giving to the church.  Jesus takes these and multiplies them, and behold!  The sanctuary is filled to overflowing.  God's people will be fed and strengthened by the abundance on offer here.  Even the unsold leftovers will be given away to benefit those in need.

Thank you for your faith and your generosity — offering your stuff and your self to support the work of the church.  These acts of faith are good for the soul.  As the Evangelist Luke wrote, "Give and it will be given to you … for the measure you give will be the measure you get back."  (Lk. 6:38)  You give yourself to God; you get yourself back again renewed in the image of God's abundant love.  Such a deal!

~~

"and they saw the God of Israel… and under his feet there was something like a pavement of sapphire stone, like the very heaven for clearness."  Ex. 24:10

Sitting at the desk in the morning, feeling equal parts anger, frustration and disappointment and not feeling particularly thankful.  Thinking more of what I can't do, than what I can do. A sad place to be.

Now the curtains are pulled back, and there is a clear blue sky, beautiful in its clarity as the writer of Exodus expresses.  I can also see roses ready to bloom and many birds flittering around from the hedge to the nearby feeders.  They provide a background soundtrack as well, twittering away, quite pleasant actually.  There, that feels better.  A reminder that I can come to God in whatever lousy mood and maybe find some peace and beauty.

In praise of the Creator,

Pastor Randy

Lessons for Sunday, August 3rd
Genesis 32:22-31
Romans 9:1-5
Matthew 14:13-21

THIS WEEK

Wednesday         10:00 a Bible Study w/Pastor Brian

Thursday              12:00 p All Church Luncheon

Friday and Saturday     RUMMAGE SALE
                                      August 1 & 2
                                      9:00 - 5:00 

We still need LOTS of help during the sale; cashiering and floaters; back up floor help, cashiers, customer assistance...if you didn't sign up please SHOW UP any way.

Sunday  8:30 & 10:30 worship service
Installation Sunday @ both worship services; all officers and committees please be present on Sunday.
Scrip Order Sunday

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you
Thank you to those of you who donated rulers. We have collected 255 rulers of the 200 needed. Once again we exceeded our goal.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Wednesday Messages

from Pastor Brian

Yesterday as I was corresponding with Council Co-President Cal Sugiyama, the question of my availability for pastoral care came up. I wrote to Cal, "I hope the congregation knows that they can call me 24/7." Then I realized that you may not know that. So, I want to share that information with you now. Please know that those of you who call SOV your spiritual home should feel free to call me any time, day or night, if you need to talk about pastoral care issues or if you need to have me visit.

I want to be available to you for pastoral care and spiritual guidance when you need it. That is part of the pastor's calling. The Psalmist writes, "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble" (Ps. 46:1). Pastors are called to reflect God's presence and to make sure that people in distress get reassurance of God's help when they need it most. So, if your usual coping strategies aren't working so well, and you find yourself urgently in need of God's presence and help, I hope you will get in touch to ask for my assistance.

I have some standard office hours, but please don't feel limited to those times if you want to talk or visit with me. Those office hours presently are Tuesday-Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Actually, it looks like I'll be doing Confirmation instruction off-site on Fridays for the rest of the summer. But during my office hours Tuesday-Thursday you're quite likely to find me at SOV.

If you want to phone me at other times, the best way is to call my home number: 503-255-1222. That's probably the most reliable way to get in touch by phone, and likely to get the quickest response from me. If I'm out of the house, I have my cell phone turned on, so you can try that number (see Sunday worship bulletins) if you don't find me at church or at home. You can also try emailing me at my church address: pastorbrian.sov@gmail.com. That's a good way to get in touch if matters are not urgent and you want to plan ahead. Day or night, I will try hard to say "yes" to your requests for pastoral presence and care.

~~

"I will tell you a mystery!  We will not all die, but we will all be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye at the last trumpet."  With those words Paul doesn't seem to solve any mysteries, but rather opening the door for many more mysteries.

Mysteries abound do they not?  They fill the yard I gaze over day after day.  I view many things that are a mystery to me, things that no doubt some understand and could explain, speaking here of the  mystery of nature itself.  The birds continue to amaze and fascinate me.  But, not being an ornithologist there is much I don't understand.  Many of them I can identify, many finches and their cousins.  But there was a new one last week.  Thanks to the chart given by some dear friends I was able to quickly identify a spotted rufus sided towhee.  Wouldn't it be nice to solve other mysteries by looking at a chart.  But that is not the case.  I have more questions than answers, sometimes struggle with mystery.  May we enjoy and be enriched by the mysteries of our lives.  Saying we live with it, is that not the easy way out?

Consider the words of Frederick Buechner…

"There are mysteries which you can solve by taking thought.  For instance a murder-mystery whose mysteriousness must be dispelled in order for the truth to be known.

There are other mysteries which do not conceal a truth to think your way to, but whose truth is itself the mystery.   The mystery of your self, for example.  The more you try to fathom it, the more fathomless it is revealed to be.  No matter how much of your self you are able to objectify and examine, the quintessential, living part of yourself will always elude you, i.e., the part that is conducting the examination.  Thus you do not solve the mystery, you live the mystery.  And you do that not by fully knowing yourself but by fully being yourself.

To say that God is a mystery is to say that you can never nail him down.  Even on Christ the nails proved ultimately ineffective."

In the Peace and Power of Christ,

Pastor Randy

--

Lessons for Sunday, July 27th
Genesis    29:15-30
Romans      8:26-39
Matthew  13:31-33, 44-52

THIS WEEK
Wednesday        10:00 a Bible Study
                           7:00 p SOV Choir Rehearsal

Thursday           12:00 - 5:00 p Tabor Studio

Friday               1:00 - 9:00 p Palmeter Piano Studio

Saturday           10:00 - 11:30 a SOV Choir Rehearsal


*GEM Ministry
SOV continues to support families by providing essential cleaning and personal items through our GEM (Gap Essentials Ministry).  Families are screened by Love INC and referred to SOV for the supplies. We are currently serving two families a month, and would love to serve more.  The next time you are shopping, please pick up some items to supply the program.  Especially needed at this time are:

·        All-purpose cleaner
·        Window cleaner
·        Dish soap
·        Facial tissue
·        Laundry detergent

Donations can be brought to the church and placed in the Love INC barrel in the narthex.

*SOV is collecting 200 rulers w/metric measures for children in Washington County in need of school supplies. Please place your rulers in the marked barrel in the Narthex.  Rulers are due by August 8th.  Thank your for your support.

*SOV's Rummage Sale is coming soon.
Please continue to bring your clean, gently used items to the church.
Dont forget to sign up to help with pricing, cashiering, security, set up, floor sales/assistance, treats for youth group to sell etc.
"Many hands make light work"

*New Member Sunday, September 7th
If you would like to become a member of SOV please call or email Secretary Tammy

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Wednesday Messages

from Pastor Brian

The great annual SOV Rummage Sale is coming soon.  Every week, you're asked to help make it a success.  The organizing team is asking for donations, lots of them.  They're also asking for help in staffing: carrying items to the sales floor; pricing; serving as sales assistants; keeping track of money; cleaning up.  All these things – donations and volunteers – are needed to make this event go right and bear good fruit.

Over the years, I've served several churches where the annual rummage sale is a big deal.  Congregations count on the revenue to fund special projects.  At SOV, we're talking about buying chairs.  No doubt that would be money well spent.  At least as important is creating community.  Working together on a good project builds community like nothing else.  All these are good reasons to pitch in and do your part.

But there's another reason, too.  It's about getting ready for the reign of God.  Once upon a time, Jesus was telling his disciples parables about a day soon to come when God's good governance of the world would be plain for all to see.  When he finished, he said, "Have you understood all this?"  They answered, "Yes!"  Then Jesus said to them, "Every religious scholar who has become a student of the reign of God is like the head of a household who can bring out of his storeroom both what is new and what is old."  (Matt. 13:51-52)

When you support the rummage sale, you bring out of your storeroom things old and new.  Donating them to the church, you dedicate yourself to God's reign.  You are undertaking a spiritual practice of generosity – giving away your goods and yourself so there is plenty of room in your heart for the love of God.  You can't really learn about God from books.  But by approaching the rummage sale as a chance to practice the generous love of God, you'll discover a treasure greater than any item you can carry from your house or garage.

~~

"I was glad when they said to me, let us go to the house of the Lord!"    Psalm 122:1

I never could understand the excitement of that statement.  I was brought up going to church every Sunday, but I certainly wasn't always wild about going, which is why I couldn't understand the Psalmist's gladness here.  And yet just a couple of weeks ago as I sat thinking of that Sunday morning worship my thought was "Gosh that was fun", and the Psalmist excitement made sense. On that day  what really stood out  was the baptism of Hailey Michelle, what a treat it was to be part of the moment.  To hold that young  life filled with promise in my arms. 

And then there is the music again and again.  The singing in the choir, well practiced and earnest in their praises. Thanks for sharing those gifts.  The musicians;  up to a quartet now!  Thank you Jameson, Steve, Dan and Charlie. Your skills and enthusiasm shine through.  Your jam with the closing hymn brings forth a natural "Amen" or "Alleluia!"  Thank you and I am sent forth with gladness.

Thanks to all the saints gathered, your caring for one another, expressions of love and prayers bring gladness indeed.

Thanks too, to Pastor Brian. His calm, gentle and welcoming demeanor are a gift.  So many reasons, thank God, that as I mature in age.  I get what the Psalmist was talking about, gladness! at the prospect of worship together.

In the Peace and Power of Christ,

Pastor Randy

Lessons for Sunday, July 20th
Genesis 28:10-19a
Romans 8:12-25
Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

THIS WEEK

Wednesday    10:00 a Bible Study w/Pastor Brian

Thursday        10:00 a Evangelism Committee Meeting
                      10:00 a LLL

Friday            1:00 - 9:00 p Palmeter Piano Studio

Saturday        10:00 - 11:30 a SOV Choir rehearsal

Rummage Sale
SOV is collecting your gently used and clean items through July 31st.

Love INCs Backpack Project
SOV is collecting 200 rulers w/metric measures through August 8th.
Please place your donations in the marked barrel in the Narthex.  Thank you

Red Cross Blood Drive
Monday, July 21st 1:30 - 7:00 p
Call 1.800.red.cross to register (walk ins welcome too)
EVERY blood type is needed, ALL THE TIME!
Donations are usually in short supply during the summer months and during winter holiday season. Each donation can help save more than one life. Be a HERO! Every two seconds someone in the United States needs blood. Yet it cannot be manufactured it must be given by a volunteer donor.

Kids of the Kingdom (KOK) is now registering for Fall 2014 enrollment. Please spread the word and visit SOV's website for more information: http://www.sovlutheran.com/kok.php

Prayer Requests
Mert, Beth, Pastor Randy, Choice and family, Neil & Dolores, Don & Hope, Bob & Connie

Friday, July 4, 2014

Wednesday Message

from Pastor Brian

This Sunday Deric Martinelli is going to be baptized.  Deric is five years old.  I've talked with Deric about his baptism.  He wants to be baptized.  This is a beautiful thing.  One day a couple weeks ago, Deric and his mother (Andrea) and his sister (Colleen) and I went into the sanctuary together.  We looked at the baptismal font and talked about what we are going to do when Deric is baptized.  We discussed some options and picked out just the right ones.  He was happy.  It was all good.

I felt touched by Deric's earnest sincerity and innocence.  He does not know the history of baptismal theology and ritual practices.  He's not acquainted with the archetypal symbolism of baptism as death and resurrection.  What he knows is that his baptism is about him being with God and the people he loves at church.  There is simplicity and joy in Deric's anticipation of his baptism.   What a lovely way to look forward to baptism!

Deric's way is a good reflection of Jesus' way.  Jesus often used children as models of how people should live in God's world.  Jesus sometimes criticized adults whose wisdom turned out to be merely clever foolishness.  In the gospel lesson for this Sunday, Jesus gives thanks that God has revealed wisdom to little infants while concealing it from the intelligent.  Sometimes I think that one of the main gifts of the Christian life is to help us shed our cynicism, and to let us experience as adults some of the sincerity, simplicity, and joy in life that Deric now has in his heart as he looks forward to baptism.

I'm not suggesting we should ignore our hard-won acumen, or abandon our responsibilities.  We can't go back to being five.  But we can remember that baptism is a doorway into a wisdom greater and more wholesome than our own.  May Deric's baptism be an opening for us to touch and be touched by that holy love that creates everything with a word and makes all of us children of the living God.

Lessons for Sunday July 6, 2014
Genesis 24:34-48, 42-49, 58-67
Romans 7:15-25a
Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30

This Week

Wednesday   No Bible Study
                         
Thursday       10:00 a Evangelism Meeting
                      6:30 p Men's Night @ Lil' Cooperstown

Friday            Happy 4th of July   (offices are closed)

Saturday        10:00 a Choir Rehearsal

Sunday           8:30 & 10:30 a Worship Services

Rummage Sale August 1 & 2, you may bring your clean, gently used items to the church anytime.

Ushers needed for July and August, please check your calenders and see when you can assist.

Committee members are needed for various SOV Committees;
Altar Guild
Fellowship
Stewardship
Social Concerns
Parish Education