Monday, May 23

For Memorial Day

Dear Friends,

For those of you who are getting through this week by looking forward to an extended weekend, rejoice that we have such a gift as we transition into beautiful weather and the summer months ahead.  However, I encourage you to remember to give thanks this weekend for the reason we have this holiday in the first place.  Let us give thanks to God for those members of our armed forces who paid the ultimate price for the freedoms that we enjoy.  Also, if you see someone in uniform in the days ahead, thank them for their service to our nation as well.

If you find yourself around a special meal with family and friends on Monday or if you find yourselves gathered around the barbecue, take time to say grace giving thanks for our many blessings.  Also, feel free to print out and read the following prayer as well:

Almighty God, you are our strength and our shield.  We give you thanks for the men and women of our armed forces, past and present, especially for those who have died while serving.  May their sacrifices serve the cause of peace, and may our nation be ever grateful for their service.  With your wisdom and strength guide our military's leaders, and give to your people a desire for justice and peace.  We pray in the name of Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

We pray for safety in your travels and if you are in the area, we hope you will have the opportunity to join us for Sunday worship.  By the way, as we collect the many hymn requests submitted in recent weeks, the top two were the Battle Hymn (Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory)  and Amazing Grace.  So FYI, we will be singing Battle Hymn this Sunday May 29 (for Memorial Day, hopefully with trumpet) and on Sunday July 3 (for Independence Day).  We will be singing Amazing Grace in worship on July 3 as well (and again in the fall if you missed it!)

A blessed week and weekend to you all.  See you in church!


Pastor Mueller

Tuesday, May 10

A Prayer for Pentecost

Dear Friends,

This Sunday we celebrate one of the three great festivals of the church year, the Day of Pentecost.  Coming 50 days after Easter and ten days after the Ascension of Our Lord, it is the celebration of the coming of the Holy Spirit to Christ's followers, the birth of Christ's Church in the world, and our mission together. Historically, Pentecost has been a huge celebration in Europe, where church celebrations take on the tone of Easter here in the States.  Because Pentecost tends to fall over graduation weekends or Memorial Day, our celebrations tend to be more intimate and subdued.  However, in no way does this diminish the importance of this day in the life of Christ's Church. For that may have been the first Pentecost but there have been many more since that time as God's Spirit continues to work in, with, and through us for the sake of the world.

  If you are going to be in worship, here or elsewhere, this Sunday, wear something red as we celebrate the coming of the Spirit.  May God continue to  bless us. empower us, and guide us for the joys and challenges of the journey ahead.

Holy Spirit, come upon us.  Breathe new life into us.  Help us to share this new life in what we do and say.  You are our Creator.  Help us to be creative.  You inspire us.  Help us to inspire others.  Help us to build up rather than to break down.  Help us to be renewed and refreshed when we are torn down and tired.  Call us by your Spirit into the way of New Life, through the gift of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord.  Amen.


Thursday, May 5

A Prayer for Ascension

Dear Friends,

Happy Ascension Day!  Today churches throughout the world celebrate this pivot point between the Resurrection of our Lord and the coming of the Holy Spirit, as Jesus Christ goes on to reign at the right hand of the Father.   We will celebrate the Ascension of our Lord. this strange but powerful event in the life of Jesus' followers, at St. Andrew's this weekend.

  Over the last two weeks, our Gospel reading has shown us Jesus reflecting on his love for his followers, knowing that he has come from the Father and will return to the Father while they will be his body in the world.  If you want to read Jesus' prayer from the heart for his followers, you can read chapter 17 of the Gospel of John.  In the meantime, I would like to share with you a prayer written by Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia President David Lose, which is a prayer for us as we continue to celebrate and struggle with what it means to be the body of Christ here and now, with all of the joys and all of the challenges that the seasons of a life of faith can bring:

Dear God, whose love knows no ending, we know this life is beautiful and difficult and sometimes both at the same time.  We do not ask that you take us out of this world, but that you support and protect us while we are in it.  We pray that you would set us apart in your truth, that your love is for everyone, and we ask that you would send us out to bear witness in word and deed to your grace, goodness, and love. May we hear your voice calling us at home and at work, at school, our social settings, and the places we gather and volunteer, that we might feel and share your love.  We ask this in the name of Jesus, the one set apart and made holy for us.  Amen. 

Monday, April 18

Spaghetti Dinner this Saturday

Mark your calendar for our annual spaghetti dinner presented by our youth this Saturday April 23 from 4 to 7 PM downstairs in St. Andrew's Hall.  Tickets will be available  at the door.  Invite family, friends, and neighbors for a wonderful meal together.  (Keep in mind that we have worship at 5 PM if you would like to combine church and a good meal).  Ticket prices are as follows:

3 and under - free
4-12 years - $5
13 - 64 years - $8
Seniors - $7
Proceeds will help our youth on their South Dakota Mission Trip this summer. Hope to see you Saturday!

Thursday, April 14

Out of the Dust

Dear Friends,

Last Sunday in worship, our first reading focused on the conversion of Saul, a feared persecutor of Christians, to Paul, the foremost of Christian missionaries.  You can read his "Road to Damascus" story in Acts 9:1-20.  On Sunday we read it and talked about it a little bit in a children's message at 11 AM but, beyond that, the Gospel reading got most of our attention.  However, reflecting on that text since that time, I thought about the following:

- How Paul must have felt like a failure as a religious leader and, at least initially, how so much of his training was in vain.
- How much guilt Paul must have wrestled with for everything he had done to the Christian community and how difficult it must have been to have his whole way of looking at faith and the world around him turned upside down.
- How terrifying it must have been to have lost his vision and to be completely dependent on people who saw him as threat and enemy
- How it is not only Paul who is changed by this experience but also Ananias, the rest of the Apostles, and eventually, by Paul's writings and the Holy Spirit, the whole Church.

There are times in our lives where much of what we once believed is turned upside down.  Times when we do not see the world around us very clearly.  Times when we must learn to trust even when it is really difficult.  Times when we feel like our work has been in vain.  Times when we feel like complete failures.

But like Paul, sometimes when we fail, we change.  And when we change, we grow.  And then others change too.  Sometimes when we fail, we actually become more resilient or more appreciative.  And sometimes out of the dust of failure comes new directions, new growth, new maturity, new life.  

We have a God who creates light out of darkness, order out of chaos, and life out of the dust.  In the seasons of life to come, may God raise you up out of those dusty places that you may come to trust that God is with you and for you and going ahead of you that you may know with confidence that you are not alone, that failure is not the ending, and that there are new chapters to be written by God's grace.  Continue the journey.  Trust the promise.

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Mueller