Tuesday, July 19

Lord's Prayer

Dear Friends,

This Sunday in worship our Gospel lesson is Luke 11:1-13.  In my message, I will be focusing chiefly on this rather strange parable of Jesus.  However, this is also the text where on e of Jesus' disciples says, "Lord, teach us to pray" and Jesus introduces what would become known as the Lord's Prayer.  While this will not be a primary focus on Sunday, I thought I would share with you below a reflection by Christian writer Brian McClaren bringing fresh meaning to a prayer that has become so familiar that, unfortunately, it can become rote and uttered with little meaning or reflection.  I hope that you will find this helpful for your own time in prayer.  And who knows?  It may even show up sometime in a worship service.

A Spoken Version of the Lord’s Prayer

This rendering of the Lord’s prayer uses unfamiliar words and phrasing to help us actually hear its message rather than lapsing into an auto-pilot recitation. You can use it in public worship by having a leader recite a line, having the congregation echo it, and then leaving a moment of silence for reflection.

+++++
Our Father, above us and all around us,
May your unspeakable Name be revered.

Here to earth, may your kingdom come.
Here on earth, may your will be done as it is in heaven.

Give us today our bread for today.
And forgive us our wrongs as we forgive those who wrong us.

Lead us away from the time of trial.
But liberate us from the evil.

For the kingdom is yours and yours alone,
And the power is yours and yours alone,
And the glory is yours and yours alone.

Amen.

I also hope to see many of you at our midweek worship service tomorrow (Wed.) night at 7 PM.

Grace and peace,

Pastor Mueller




Thursday, July 14

Prayer of St. Francis

In these confusing, uncertain, and disturbing times,  this prayer from St. Francis of Assisi  can be so central to our world, our nation, our communities, our churches, and our hearts.  Pray for transformation and for peace
Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying
that we are born to eternal life.


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