Monday, April 21

An Easter Prayer

Holy and Living God,
 
You continue to confound  our expectations and surprise us with your redeeming power in our lives.  Come among us, risen Lord.  Reveal yourself to us that we may know with confidence that nothing in all creation, not even death, can separate us from your love.  In Jesus' name.  Amen.
 
A word of thanks to all of you who offered your hearts and hands and voices to a deeply moving Holy Week and a joy filled celebration of the Resurrection.  It was exciting to see an increase in attendance at special services throughout Lent and Holy Week this year, especially among those who are newer to our faith community. Many hearts were touched and lives were lifted up through the celebrations of this past week. We are truly blessed. Continue to pray for those who were unable to be with us on Sunday, the sick, the struggling, the hospitalized, the homebound, and the dying.  Pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world, especially those who are persecuted for the faith.  Pray for our faith community, that empowered by the risen Christ, we would continue to grow in faith toward you and love toward others.  This Sunday in worship, we will be reminded of the ways that risen Christ meets us right where we are with his promises and his peace.  I am so grateful and incredibly blessed among you.  See you in church!
 
Peace,
 
Pastor Mueller


Monday, April 14

Holy Week Is Upon Us

Dear Friends,
 
    If you were not able to join us for worship this past Sunday, you missed a truly moving , breathtaking, deeply dramatic presentation of  the Passion of our Lord.  We want to thank our music director, John Rea, who wrote and produced the play, including some beautiful new compositions (and some pretty good material from Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). We certainly want to thank all of our choirs for their hard work and dedication.  Your support of this performance and your confidence in carrying out your varied tasks is  the glue that brings all of it together in such a profound way. Each year many people are blessed by this profound proclamation of the Gospel.  Thank you!
   
    This Thursday at 7:30 we begin our journey from despair to hope, from darkness to light, from death to life.  Here is our worship schedule for Holy Week:
 

Maundy Thursday – 7:30 PM   

Tonight we are reminded that our life of discipleship is a life of forgiveness and servanthood.  We are commanded by Jesus to love one another and we are united with Christ, with the saints, and with one another at the Lord’s Supper.  This brings us great strength in our own life of discipleship.

 

            Good Friday Service of Tenebrae (Darkness and Light) at 7:30 PM

In this deeply moving service that begins in light and ends in darkness, we gather around the word, prayer, and the cross,  the central sign of our salvation.

 

            Easter Vigil – Liturgy of Light, Word, Baptismal Remembrance, and Holy Communion at 5:00 PM

In this historic, deeply symbolic service, we are reminded of the great acts of God from Creation to Exodus to Resurrection.  God’s saving grace is proclaimed, then light fills the church as that grace fills us.  Come and experience profound readings, wonderful music, and a first glimpse of the resurrection.

 

            Easter Sunday – 8:15 and 11:00 AM:

We rejoice at the empty tomb. Christ is risen!  He is risen indeed! 

 

    Participating in the upcoming evening services can only heighten your sense of joy when we celebrate the resurrection.  Think about family members, friends, co-workers, neighbors etc who could join you for one of these special services. 

   

As we approach the cross and the empty tomb in worship, consider the following questions: 

   

    - Christ humbled himself out of love.  Where might we need to be humbled for the sake of our brothers and sisters in Christ?

     - What needs resurrecting in our lives? 

    - What makes it hard to turn this over to God and trust that God will bring us, too, through darkness to light, through death to new life?

 

    Holy God, remind us of your presence with us when we stumble, suffer, or are afraid in any way.  Give us strength, courage, and peace.  Help us to be an encouragement and a sign of life to others.  Amen

 

    See you in church!

 

    Peace,

 

    Pastor Mueller

standrewslutheran.com

pray-as-you-go.org





Thursday, April 3

A Glimpse of New Life

Dear Friends,

Warmer temperatures, plants beginning to break through the earth, and the start of a new baseball season are all welcome signs of spring, new life, and the marvels of our Creator.  This Sunday's Gospel is also a glimpse of the Easter proclamation ahead, a reminder of Christ's powerful presence in our lives, and a poignant reminder that death does not get the final word even when it sometimes feels that way.  As I prepare for this weekend and for a Bible Study at noontime today, I invite you to read this weekend's Gospel text in advance with a few questions to think about along the way.  The Gospel is John 11:1-45 (the only text that we will focus upon this weekend)

1. Why do you think that Jesus did not go immediately to help Lazarus?
2. How would you describe the words of Thomas in this text?
3. When Mary and Martha address Jesus upon his arrival, are they using words of anger or words of faith?  Why do you think this?
4. What do you learn about Jesus from his words, actions, and reactions at the tomb?
5. Why do you think that Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead?
6.  What do you find amazing or just plain weird about this story?
7. What does this story have to say about our relationship with Jesus?
8. What does this story have to say about our role as followers of Jesus?

Looking forward to being with many of you this weekend as we gather around Word and Sacrament, prayer and song, open our eyes to Christ who walks with us in our deepest valleys, and give thanks to a Savior who will make all things new.  See you in church!

Peace,

Pastor Mueller


Tuesday, March 25

I AM the Bread of Life

Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life.  Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty."

Dear Friends,

This Wednesday, we continue our Lenten Midweek series focusing upon Jesus' I AM sayings.  This week:  "I AM the Bread of Life."  Come and join us to be nourished in body, mind and spirit.  Feel free to come early where you will be fed by a hot delicious in meal in St. Andrew's Hall (beginning at 6:30).  At 7:30, we will gather upstairs for a simple, prayerful celebration around Word and Sacrament as Christ feeds us with His amazing gift of grace (Service with Prayers for Healing will resume on April 2).  Come join us to be renewed in faith.

Also, I want to remind you that there will be a congregational meeting following 11 AM Worship this Sunday (March 30) to present and discuss our long range plan for mission.  We hope that many of you will be able to join us as we gain greater clarity as to where the Lord is leading us to better serve the community.

"Return to the Lord, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, sow to anger and abounding in steadfast love."  

Peace,

Pastor Mueller


Wednesday, March 19

I AM the Good Shepherd

Lord, Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd of the Sheep, help your people to resist feelings of isolation, worthlessness, despair, pride, and complacency, things which grow out of the valley of death.  Open for us a space to know the power of the resurrection, space to be led in the green pastures, beside the still waters, and to dwell in the blessedness of your house.  Give us what we truly need.  Lead us, guide us, and help us in the midst of things we cannot understand to believe and trust in the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.  Amen

We continue our Lenten Midweek Series tonight (Wed.) with "I AM the Good Shepherd" with Dinner in St. Andrew's Hall at 6:30 and Worship in the Sanctuary at 7:30.  Blessings to all of you in this holy season.

Peace,

Pastor Mueller

Wednesday, March 12

Voice Recognition

Dear Friends,

With all of the advances in technology, you would think that by now voice recognition would be better than it is.  However, for those of you who have Dragon Naturally Speaking, Siri, or if you have ever tried to use Free 411 Phone Directory, you know that it can still be a nightmare ("I'm sorry, I didn't understand.").  The truth is, when it is not your electronic device, it can be really difficult to communicate and even when it is yours, it takes awhile for the training to be complete.

I sometimes wonder if we have the same problem recognizing God's voice.  The Almighty who sometimes speaks to us in whispered tones and through unexpected places and people is not always easy to recognize.  Throughout history, God has had to find many different ways to get the attention of his people (judges and kings, patriarchs and prophets, and, ultimately, his own Son, the Word made Flesh).  Lent is a season of being more intentionally tuned to God's voice, wisdom, and will for our lives.  During the next two weeks, our midweek services will focus upon the Great Shepherd who knows his sheep and sheep who know the shepherd's voice.  May we hear that voice in our lives, trust, and follow. 

This evening (Wed.), we welcome Pastor K back to the pulpit to share the Word with us. I look forward to seeing many of you tonight (Dinner @ 6:30 & Worship @ 7:30) and in the weeks ahead.  See you in church!

Peace,

Pastor Mueller

Thursday, March 6

Daily Acts for Lent

Dear Friends,

The Lenten season is a time to focus on strengthening our relationship with God and others.  Below are a number of simple things that we all could do to notice those around us who God created in God's image and to help them to see blessing in their lives.  Hopefully, such practices begin to shape our behavior beyond the Lenten season as we are blessed to be a blessing to others.

- Let someone get in line in front of you, whether in traffic or in a store
- Buy a coffee or soda for the person in line behind you
- Smile at five people you don't know
- Send a family member or friend a note thanking them for the ways they have been a blessing to you  
- When you pray for others, let them know you are praying for them
- Take a neighbor, fellow church member, or co-worker out to lunch for the first time
- Tip more generously and treat the person who is serving you with an extra dose of kindness
- Listen more and talk less
- Worship regularly and introduce yourself to people you do not know

I felt the Spirit moving in a powerful way at Ash Wednesday Worship and look forward to seeing many of you this weekend.  Sunday worshipers:  Remember to turn your clocks ahead one hour (Spring forward) before you go to bed on Saturday night or you might find yourself arriving at church quite late!  (Please offer a cup of coffee to the poor folks who do arrive late on Sunday!)

"Return to the Lord, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love."  

Peace,

Pastor Mueller