Happening Now Blog

Friday, November 28, 2014

Pastor's Wednesday Messages

from Pastor Brian

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day, a secular holiday with Christian roots.  Christian language and values pervade President Lincoln's proclamation of this holiday in October, 1863.  As we anticipate tomorrow's festivities, I offer it (slightly abridged) for thoughtful reflection.

The year that is drawing towards its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. 

[Lincoln goes on to note that, amidst a terrible civil war, America enjoyed peace with other nations; that peace and the rule of law exist in all parts of the country except for theaters of military conflict; that the economy was not devastated; and that despite war, the population kept increasing.  He continues…]

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States … to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.

Well, friends, our nation is not now at war with itself — at least not in the sense of military conflict.  Yet, Lincoln's words affirm timeless truths as meaningful now as then.  May God remember mercy and heal the wounds of our nation wherever civil strife be found, so that all people — of every color and belief — may live thankfully in harmony and Union with one another and with all of God's Creation.

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From Pastor Randy

"Yes, everything is for your sake, as it extends to more and more people, so that grace may increase thanksgiving to the glory of God. So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wearing away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day."    II Corinthians 4:15-16

Two times in the last couple of weeks I have traveled on Burnside St. through downtown Portland, taking note of the myriad folks outside, waiting for a meal or a place to sleep for the night. I also took note that many of them are probably my age. I dont believe I could live under the same circumstances so many live under. The last time I came even close was 10 years ago while living in Albany and I slept outside overnight to draw attention to peoples' plight and raise money for a shelter for homeless folks. But my night was luxurious in comparison to many. There was a fire ring available and I had a refrigerator box all my own and clean sleeping bag and no fears of someone trying to jack roll me during the night.

Sitting in my home as I write this, taking for granted so many grand gifts as I did earlier today, I was looking out my basement window and seeing clouds rolling by and bits of blue sky showing through. I was also watching birds flit in and out of the hedge and a squirrel trying fruitlessly to get into the large feeder, but not matter the acrobatics he eventually just dropped to the ground and ate the birds spillage, which just affirms my belief that the two are in cahoots in the whole thing, one of so many ways that I might be renewed every day because of the richness around us.

Thanks again to the Creator of all things,

Pastor Randy

Lessons for Sunday, November 30th
Isaiah 64:1-9
1 Corinthians 1:3-9
Mark 13:24-37

THIS WEEK

Thursday   HAPPY THANKSGIVING  offices closed

Friday        limited office hours, call before visiting if assistance is needed

Saturday    10:00 - 11:30 A SOV choir rehearsal

Sunday      First Sunday in Advent worship at 8:30 & 11:00