Happening Now Blog

Friday, March 20, 2015

Pastor's Weekly Message

Since I forgot to write my Wednesday message yesterday I might as well use my mistake to comment on an article from the front page of today's Oregonian.  "In God We Trust Less," says the headline.  Here is the salient reporting:

Data show Portland is the most religiously unaffiliated metro area in the United States.  About 42 percent of residents in the city and surrounding suburbs identify as religiously unaffiliated, according to a survey released this week by the Public Religion Research Institute.  That's nearly 10 percentage points higher than… Seattle and San Francisco, which both came in at 33 percent.  The "nones" are… young, socially liberal and usually believe in evolution.  Most are more concerned about religious groups asserting their beliefs on others than about government limiting religious freedom.

How do we respond?  Since Lent is a time of self-examination, I suggest we take a look at our own faith and practice instead of worrying about the decline of Christianity in America.  Instead of wondering how we can convert others to the Christian faith, we should make sure that we ourselves are fully converted to Jesus.

How do we do that?  First, get yourself to Sunday worship frequently.  We hold our faith in common, in the body of Christ that gathers weekly to be fed with word, bread, wine, song, and prayer.  Sunday worship is our most essential tool for getting ourselves and our kids converted to Christ. 

Second, pray.  You don't need to be secluded and quiet to pray.  When you have a spare moment in the kitchen, on the porch, or at your desk, say a prayer.  Or pray when driving.  It's easy enough to curse while you're driving; why not say a prayer instead? 

Third, read the Bible.  Take advantage of your religious liberty: read the Bible, dwell in the Word, and live accordingly.  Act with compassion and mercy for justice.  Be peacemakers, as Jesus says. 

Finally, open yourself to God's presence in Creation.  This world is not just a bunch of random stuff happening to us.  The world around us is God's splendid work of art.  The artist is always active all around us, trying to make contact with us through the beauty and wonder of Creation.  Stop, look, and listen to hear what God is saying to you today.  You might like it.

If you do these things, your life will be richer.  You may also discover that unaffiliated "nones" start taking notice of the good things that from your trust in God.  That's the sort of news we'd hope to see on the front page of The Oregonian!

* * * * * * *
Lessons for Sunday, March 22nd
Jeremiah 31:31-34
Hebrews 5:5-10
John 12:20-33

THIS WEEK

Wednesday    10:00 a Bible study with Pastor Brian
                       5:30 p Lenten potluck soup/bread supper
                       6:00 p Lenten video; Killing Jesus, Part 1: Who killed Jesus?
                       6:30 p Holden Evening Prayer service
                       7:00 p SOV Choir rehearsal
                       8:00 p SOV band rehearsal

Thursday        10:00 a LLL
                       7:00 p Council Meeting

Friday            Spring Begins
                      1:00 - 9:00 p Palmeter Piano studio

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

March Gladness kitchen shower continues through March
fellowship goodies; store bought or home baked are needed or other treats that can be stored or frozen; paper towels, coffee, creamers, qt ziploc bags, gallon ziploc bags, fresheners, dawn dish-washing soap, crystal light powdered drink mix.

YOUTH GROUP Vacation Raffle Tickets
$5. each or 5 for $20.
Buy your tickets and enter a chance to win a trip to  The Pines Resort in Sunriver.

Easter Flower remembrances
please add your name and remembrance to the sign up sheet in the narthex and place your donation in the offering plate or leave in the church office.