Thursday, June 23

Faith In God

Dear Friends,

Today is the final day of an incredible week of Vacation Bible School at St. Andrew's.  (A huge word of thanks to our Director of Christian Education, Janice Stickley, as well as to teachers, helpers, guides. leaders of snacks,songs, games, and crafts, and everyone who worked so hard behind the scenes to make this such a joyous week)

One of the stories that we experienced earlier in the week was the feeding of the 5000 where the disciples seem to have a problem.  Jesus had promised them retreat and time away doesn't usually involve thousands of other people coming along but that's what happened!  Jesus doesn't seem angry or disappointed but rather sees it as a teaching opportunity.  However, at the end of the day the disciples have a lot of hungry people on their hands.  They also have a solution.  "Send them home."  But Jesus also has a solution.  "Give them food."  The disciples point out that all they have is five loaves of bread and two fish.  Not going to work, Jesus.

It's easy to point out the disciples lack of faith in Jesus. However, Jesus doesn't scold them but simply points them back to the resources they have.  It seems that, in the face of the improbable and seemingly impossible, the disciples not only need more faith in Jesus but more faith in themselves, in what God can do in, with, and through them if they offer who they are and what they have to God.  And so it is with us.

It is one thing to pray that God would enter into the troubled relationships of friends and family members and bring peace.  But it's another thing to ask God to enter into the relationship through us to bring peace. Faith in God often includes a willingness to be an instrument through which God does some of his best work. May God use us as instruments of grace, healing, and wholeness for a hungry and hurting world.

Each Sunday we gather to be given strength to serve as instruments of God's grace in the week ahead.  This Sunday at 9:30, as we gather around Word and Sacrament, we will be praying for servants from St. Andrew's headed to South Dakota to listen, learn, worship, serve, and grow in grace.  We will also be blessed this week by members of St. Andrew's Brass, who add so much to our worship.  Finally, if you are home over July 4th weekend, we hope that you will join us in worship as we enjoy songs of God and country and give thanks for the blessings of our lives and our nation.  See you in church!

Peace,

Pastor Mueller



Monday, June 13

Prayer for Orlando and victims of cruel and senseless violence

O God, our refuge and strength, our help in times of trouble,
Hear our cries of grief and loss.  
Lord, have mercy on those who have been killed, those wounded, and those who are fighting for their lives.
Give comfort to those who walk with those devastated by this shooting and those who mourn the loss of loved ones.
Give peace to those traumatized and filled with fear.  
Thank you for the courage and sacrifice of police, EMTs, ambulance, hospital staff, generous volunteers, and law enforcement who will continue to strive to keep us safe.  
Protect LGBT communities and  American Muslim communities from hatred and violence in the days ahead.
Grant us wisdom and discernment to be voices that speak out against homophobia and gun violence.  
Help government leaders and faith communities to find better ways to protect our citizens and to be voices of understanding and peace.
Help us to silence voices of arrogance and hatred and to bring down walls that divide us.
We are created in your image, for your purposes, O God.  
Inspire us to be ambassadors of your love and signs of your kingdom revealed in Jesus Christ, our Lord.  Amen.




Monday, June 6

Shifting Gears

Dear Friends,

   
 As we enter the month of June with weddings, graduations, and vacations posted on the calendar, many also embrace a change of pace for the summer weeks ahead.  Even here at St. Andrew's, the calendar looks a little different as many of our leaders seek rest and renewal.  However, our calling to lift up Jesus to the community in Worship, Education, and Service remains throughout the year.


Worship  -
This Sunday, we begin our summer worship schedule with one service at 9:30 AM.  This week,  many of our Sunday School children will be assisting with the leadership of worship as we give thanks to God for all that they have learned and shared over this past program year.  Following worship, there will be a light brunch in St. Andrew's Hall, to which all of you are invited.
Education -
Vacation Bible School is coming to St. A's June 20-23 from 9 AM - Noon.   If you are available and would like to help, please contact Janice Stickley in the church office. 
Service -
 Hospitality is needed for Lemonade on the Lawn this summer following each 9:30 Worship.  Pick a Sunday and sign up to serve lemonade / iced tea and cookies (please plan to bring napkins and cups as well) for about 50-60  people.  This is a great way to encourage staying connected as a community during the summer months.  Sign up on the sheet in the narthex or call the church office for available dates. 

  As we get into the heart of vacation season and as more of our St. Andrew's community will be away over weekends, we will be offering occasional mid-week services of Holy Communion in our outdoor chapel (and inside if weather conditions are not favorable).  Worship will have a more casual feel outside and will be less than an hour in length (It does get dark!).  Also, these services will not be recycled versions of Sunday worship.  They will have their own simple music, a spoken liturgy and different readings and message from Sunday.  This summer, we will be focusing on shorter books and lesser known figures of the Old Testament (ones that don't get much attention in our Sunday assigned readings).  So even if you are here on Sunday, here's another opportunity to gather again to grow in faith.  We will be sending e-mail reminders to the congregation when we get closer to the dates but here is our midweek schedule for this summer (Mark your calendars).  Worship is on the third Wednesday of each month.
 Ruth  – June 15 @ 7PM
Jonah – July 20 @ 7PM
Esther – August 17 @ 7PM

 God's richest blessings in the summer ahead.  See you in church!
Peace,

Pastor Mueller






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!

Peace,

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.



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