Happening Now Blog

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Pastor's Wednesday Messages

from Pastor Brian 

Confirmation!  The word still strikes fear into hearts of adults across the Lutheran Church.  They remember themselves as teenagers standing nervously in front of a congregation, trying to recite verbatim parts of Luther's Small Catechism memorized by long, painful effort.  Herr Pastor had already found them worthy to undergo this ordeal.  Success meant life and blessedness.  But failure to recite Luther correctly or a miscue in explaining the appointed Bible verse would surely mean exile into the outer darkness with weeping and gnashing of teeth.  At least if felt that way, back then.

Thanks be to God, the Rite of Confirmation is different now.  This Sunday, October 26, is Reformation Sunday and a good day to confirm six young people who have been nurtured in the Christian faith by Shepherd of the Valley.  Amber, Anita, Colleen, Emily, Marissa, and Taylor have all worked hard to ground themselves in the bedrock teachings of the Lutheran Church.  They have faithfully participated in learning sessions with Pastor Randy, who has helped them to trust God and rely on God's holy love.  I, too, have had the honor of working a little bit with these young women as they prepare to affirm their Baptisms and embrace an adult faith.  Thanks be to God for their perseverance and for the love of this congregation in supporting them through this faith journey.

Each of the Confirmands will present a personal statement of faith as part of the ritual.  They have put a good deal of thought and love into these statements, with Pastor Randy's help.  These presentations are the good fruit of faithful living.  As a preacher, I appreciate how much courage it takes to stand up and tell people what you believe about God — even in front of a friendly crowd like SOV, this is challenging for teen-agers.  Please welcome these young women and their statements of faith as Christ has welcomed you: with your hearts full of love and tongues quick to offer encouragement.  Your ready affirmation of these young adults will serve as strong confirmation that they really are walking the Way of Jesus Christ.

* * * * * * *

From Pastor Randy

"All streams run to the sea, but the sea is not full, to the place where the streams flow, there they continue to flow."   Ecclesiastes 1:7

          Here we have the preacher, the great teacher of wisdom, in awe of the sea never being full in spite of all the streams running into it.  Choice and I were blessed to have been to the coast recently.  It was a trip that was supposed to have taken place last January, but life intervened.  Since the miracle I pray for every night has not arrived to my specifications it behooves me to take in the miraculous that takes place around me all the time and hopefully strengthened by it.  The coast is a great place for such things.

          Thinking of the distinct, sharp caws of the gulls as they wheel around in the wind.  How clumsy their take off can appear as they first run clumsily before lifting easily and wheel in the wind.  Picturing how flummoxed the fellow was on our deck when he realized  that a running start was not possible there.  Watching him try again and again to jump up on the edge of the rail but finding it too slippery to gain footing, but finally figuring it out and taking off into the wind, fascinating and miraculous.  Then there is the sound of the water itself.  Remembering the first time I stood on the beach at night and it reminding me of a thunderstorm from my youthful experience.  There is the sound rolling along but never ending, a favorite poet comparing the sound to a squadron of F16s.  Watching the dry sand blowing over the wet sand, eventually forming small dunes seemingly without end as well, the ever changing beach, the crashing water maybe bringing forth some surprises, always the miracle of continuing creation.  But I think I'll continue my nightly prayer for a miracle.

In the Power of the Creator forgive my selfishness and thanks for the continuing miracles.

Pastor Randy

Lessons for Sunday, October 26, 2014
Jeremiah 31:31-34
Romans 3:19-28
John 8:31-36

THIS WEEK

Wednesday  9:00 - 1:00 pm KOK Preschool/Kindergarten      
                    9:45 a KOK Chapel
                  10:00 a Bible Study

Thursday   9:00 - 1:00 pm KOK Preschool/Kindergarten
                 12:00 - 5:00 p Tabor Voice Studio

Friday       9:00 - 11:30 a  KOK Preschool
                 1:00 - 9:00 p Palmeter Piano Studio

Saturday  10:00 - 12:00 p SOV Choir Rehearsal

Sunday     Reformation Sunday