March 9th, 2022

March 9th, 2022

ps from ps:
This box of keys in the photo is from St. Paul’s. It’s all the keys to all the doors in the entire building.  An old building.  With a lot of different doors and locks.  Some changing multiple times over the years.  Without the old keys being tossed.  Dozens and dozens of keys.

Luckily years age a Master List was created that told you what number key went to what corresponding door.  Perfect!

And then the Master List disappeared.  Less perfect.

So now there’s just a box of keys with no real connections or directions to which lock they fit into.  The keys are all there.  But figuring out which one goes where is a huge and frustrating challenge.

I don’t know about your faith life, but mine often feels like this box of random keys.  Messy.  Frustrating.  And sometimes feeling like you’ve lost the Master List to figure out the key to a lock…in life.

I pray for peace in Ukraine…..and yet the war drags on.  We work hard to teach kids to be smart and safe….and then car accidents happen.  We struggle through a pandemic and finally can return to a more normal routine and movement…..and now gas prices and inflation make our dollars and time less effective and fluid.  

Sometimes it feels like you’re staring at a box of keys but just can’t quite figure out where they fit.  

How do we navigate through the confusion?

Paul said to one of his churches: Stand firm.  Stand firm in the face of all of it.  Stand firm in the confusion.  Stand firm on the solid ground of God’s faith in us.  Stand firm on the solid ground in God’s gift of faith for us.  He reminds that church that there will be people and events and evil and distractions and life that occurs, making it feel as if the Master List is missing.  Even so he says, stand firm.  

The keys are still there.  Even when it’s hard to figure out what things…in life…they unlock.  

We probably need to hear his message again today for this church too.  Keep praying.  Keep loving.  Keep teaching.  Keep struggling.  The keys are there!  Stand firm.


Lord, remind us in all we face today to continue standing firm .  Amen

Be well, safe and blessed!
ps
March 2nd, 2022

March 2nd, 2022

ps from ps:

Ever notice there is more going on behind the scenes than we realize?  It’s that same way with Lent and its Kickoff Party of Ash Wednesday.  Looks like just a messy cross on our foreheads, right?  Well it’s more than that.  It’s a reminder and an invitation.  Check out this video message from Pastor Steve (by CLICKING HERE) about how there is more going on this day than we might realize.  

You are more than welcome to jump into our “Returning to the Lord” in this season as we utilize and track some of our old and new spiritual practices.  (Print out the attachments below.  Or if that is a struggle, email katie@stpaulseggertsville.org and we’ll shoot them over to you)

Lord, thanks for the invitation.  Help us remember.  Amen

Be well, safe and blessed!
ps

February 24th, 2022

February 24th, 2022

ps from ps:
God is still bigger!

It’s helpful to remind ourselves of that sometimes.  Maybe on days like today, when we see leaders oppress and wage war on others to satisfy their own selfish desires?  These are the days that it’s extra important to reconnect and “return to the Lord” to be reminded of God’s incredible power.  

Our lesson from Luke this coming weekend has Jesus climbing a mountain with some of his disciples so he can be “changed” before their eyes and connected to Biblical heroes of the past, reminding those disciples of God’s continuous power, presence and plan.  

Today’s a day we need to be reminded of that again.

In the hours and days ahead, may we all lean into that truth.  May we all pray for the Ukrainian people, for their safety and health.  May we pray that God’s Holy Spirit will stir up hearts for peace in all the world leaders involved.  And may we each hang onto the bigger God that can change things again!

Lord, have mercy.  Come, Holy Spirit.  Amen

Be well, safe and blessed!
ps
February 16th, 2021

February 16th, 2021

ps from ps:
I had to do the “OJ” with Michelle last night.  Not that “OJ!!”  The other “OJ.”  The 70’s one from the commercial where OJ runs through the airport and jumps over stuff.

Yes, after a restful few days in Phoenix visiting my sister with not much on the schedule and no rushing around, all hell broke loose in the Newark airport.  I’m sure you’ve all had similar experiences.  What was once an hour and 20 minutes to get from one plane to the next turned into us walking off our plane in Terminal C, Gate 138 and having to get to Terminal A, Gate 28 in 20 minutes.  And yes, it involved (a) starting from row 34 in the arriving plane with 189 people that didn’t have connections trying to get off in front of us, (b) a dead sprint wearing sandals and carrying two carry-on bags each, (c) several flights of stairs to a bus that moves you more slowly than you can imagine in between terminals and (d) a pretty needed bathroom stop, which never happened.

But we made it!  To A28!  At 9:40pm for the 9:45pm flight.  Amazing!  To find the Gate door shut and the sign reading Boarding Closed.  Less amazing.

Ugh.

So struggling for breath, I wandered over to Gate 27, a flight to Rochester, to see if we could get on and at least get closer than a 6 hour drive back to Buffalo.  As I approached that Gate and looked out the window, I could see it.  Our plane was still at the end of the A28 jetway.  It hadn’t left!!  So I explained to the United employee our last stressful hour and he said…..

Now pause.  We all know how air travel works.  Me especially.  Pre-Covid, I averaged 4-5 flights a year, usually with two or three planes in each trip and EVERYONE knows they close the boarding door 10-15 minutes before departure and you need an Act of Congress to get that thing opened up.  So the choices for this staffer ranged from (a) “back away sweaty panting man” to (b) “you know the rules buddy” to (c) “not my problem moron.”  

Instead he picked a different response and he said…..

“Let me see what I can do.”

Despair turned to limited hopefulness.  The pain in my sandal-torn feet disappeared.  

He called the agent at the end of the Buffalo flight’s jetway.  In a dejected voice, he said, “Oh, you pulled the jetway away already.”  My heart sank.  He said one more thing to his colleague over the phone and hung up. 

And then he said “Follow me.”  

He ran us back over to the A28 door, scanned our tickets, punched 1234 in the code box on the security door (isn’t every code 1234?) and walked us right down the jetway.  We were greeted by another employee who said: “Glad you made it!  Welcome aboard!  Let’s get you seated.”  

I swear at that moment I saw choirs of angels singing and cherubim and seraphim doing whatever it is they do.  And an hour later we were back on the tarmac in the 716, instead of in the rental car line staring a six-hour drive right in the face.

Last night, we experienced grace.  God’s undeserved love and favor.  And I know it will change my day, my week, my memories of these few days and how I will treat other people.

I tell you this crazy story because I believe that this is the lifestyle that Jesus invites each of us into.  I don’t know if this guy was Christian or Buddhist or Muslin or a Jets fan.  But through his actions and his desire to choose good and grace and compassion, I was able to see what the world could be like if all of us who follow this grace-filled Savior actually lived it out.  Lived it out when other negative choices are available.  Lived it out when it’s easier to do nothing.  Lived it out when it might be inconvenient.  Lived it out when some protocols should be overlooked.  Lived it out with sweaty, out of breath strangers who tried hard but missed the mark.  

Grace is given to all of us.  Not to just be celebrated in church.  Studied in a Bible study.  Or words in a sermon.  It’s designed and gifted by God to change our moments.  Letting those moments change our lives.  Letting those lives change others.  And letting those others change the world.  

And maybe it can all begin for you today at your Gate A28.

Lord, help me to live into and live out your grace.  Amen

Be well, safe and blessed!
ps
February 9th, 2022

February 9th, 2022

ps from ps:
Love heals.

In Luke’s gospel, he highlights in chapter six that when Jesus was teaching them – “He came down with them to a level place to teach and heal them.”  A level place.  With them.  This is no sermon on a mountain.  This is a level playing field, a closer connection and a Lord coming to those who need love that heals.

Love heals.  Especially love that goes TO the people in need.  Especially love that makes LEVEL the playing fiend.

A few years back when my MUCH old sister turned 50, we gathered, two sisters and a brother, to hike up and down the Grand Canyon.  At that point in life, we were a loosely connected crew.  Living in Phoenix, Buffalo and Boston made already strained past sibling relationships even trickier.  

So we met for a few days together and experienced love healing.  Our level place went up and down one of the most stunning places in the world.  But the healing love might have been even more dramatic.  We came together and walked, laughed, rehashed and reconnected.  We went to one another to teach and be healed.  We were on a level place together to listen and love.  A sacred place.

Love healed.

I think Jesus is reminding us there is healing in love when we go to one another and seek out level ground.  Love heals when we offer ourselves into a space that isn’t ours or theirs, but is Gods level plain.

Today may you sense God walking toward and with you into that place.  And may that sense of presence allow you walk toward and with another to allow love to heal again.

Lord, let your love heal and teach again.  Amen

Be well, safe and blessed!
ps
February 2nd, 2022

February 2nd, 2022

ps from ps:

In the weeks ahead during worship in-person and digital worship as well, we’re going to start asking the question: What does God’s love do?  

We know what a screwdriver can do.  We know what a hammer can do.  We know what Josh Allen can do.  

But what can God’s love do?

I highlighted 1st Corinthians 13 in worship last week where Paul speaks to this community in Corinth about what love looks like, what its shape can be, what it shouldn’t look like. But what can love do?  I’d like you to consider that today.  

If you are playing Wordle right now, what word would you create to go AFTER love?  Love _ _ _ _ _!  And the good news is that it doesn’t have to be just five letters.  It can be four.  Or seven.  Or whatever you’d like.  What have you seen God’s love do?  What tangible actions, creations and animations have been shaped by the love of God.  

In the weeks ahead, I’ll share some of mine.  But for now, give some thought and prayer to yours.

Lord, guide me to see what your love is doing.  Amen

Be well, safe and blessed!
ps