Good morning, dear people!
Every Saturday we prepare for Sunday service, and while that preparing used to be more of pastoral responsibility, these days it is a worship team that puts together the service. And that’s a wonderful thing! I usually write the prayers and other parts of the liturgy early in the week. Kirsten reaches out to musicians and establishes the songs and hymns that will be part of the worship. We ask some additional people and some mainstays to join us on Zoom from their homes on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. for the recording. That’s what will happen this afternoon. We have found that it’s best to pre-record and post the service in various places, including our own website and Facebook, and also make it available in an easily accessible Vimeo format. Our church is investing a modest amount of money into the technologies that allow us to do this well. We are certain that, even when the church re-opens again, the virtual services will not go away and will reach many people who are, for whatever reason, unable to attend. For this coming Sunday (tomorrow), I want to thank Martha and Bernie H. who are acting as our hosts during these virtual services. I want to thank our “producer” Brian B. (he deserves a promotion!) and Jenn B. who is always part of the recording. I want to thank Kirsten and the musicians who are pre-recording in the church on Wednesday nights and those who are pre-recording at home. This Sunday, for our Earth Day and Creation celebration, we will have contributions from Jenn G. and Roy S., as well as Sarah W. and I believe the McGilloways. The Browne family will join us for the recording, as well as Anita B., who wrote this beautiful creation prayer. It will be our opening prayer tomorrow, but I wanted you to enjoy and pray it even today.
“God of the heavens and earth, you have blessed us with the majesty and splendor of skies and mountains, land, and seas. We are awed and overjoyed with riots of color and intoxicating scents, hidden treasures beneath the earth and sea, gentle breezes that sway trees and carry bugs and birds through the air. We are delighted with the laughter of children and touched by their innocence and once again we become young and carefree. All of this you provided for your people with your unending love. Help us to keep that love in our hearts and send it outward to care for all of your magnificent creation. Help us to reach higher than ourselves; to be more than we thought possible; to never look away from need; to find ways to go beyond what is expected; to ache when there is anything that devastates or mars your creation that you have, through your loving kindness, bestowed upon us. Help us to be your living caretakers and never turn from even the smallest blight, slight, or hurt to anything or anyone. Help us to be your face and hands on this earth so that all things and people will know your blessings and all praise you and say Amen!”
Attached, I hope you enjoy the de-ja vu picture and especially the poem. Brian forwarded it to me a little while ago and I believe Tom A. also brought that poem to my attention. It is a nice, hopeful poem and may help you pray that “we the people” will make the best out of this crisis. As I mentioned so many times, there is opportunity in every crisis, and that includes spiritual opportunity and the potential for rediscovering what makes us human and what truly matters in life. Last night, the NFL hosted their first online draft, which was probably a big deal for many sports fans – one of the few major sporting events that actually took place! As a sports fan myself, this has been a forced “fasting” from the excitements of games, and while I miss for instance watching European soccer games on a Saturday morning, I think it is good for me to have a break like that and it is good for our society as a whole to have a time-out. I believe that the sports world in recent decades has acquired too much money, too much power, and too much spiritual importance in our society. And I am saying this as a person who truly enjoys a number of sports, believe me, or ask my wife… One former president of the Southern Baptist Denomination once quipped that Americans may not know who their God is, but they sure know who their team is. He was right!!! Can we re-form our priorities and spiritual practices as people of the Re-Formation???
Today are the birthdays of Sam W. (18) and Olga S. (not 18). Happy birthday to you both!!!
Please join me in prayers today for our friend Bill D. His wife Pam, who has had a long-standing connection to St. Peter’s, wrote this: “I have a request. Would you please place my husband Bill on St. Peter’s prayer list? He was recently diagnosed with throat cancer and is starting regular chemo and radiation treatments which should last about 7 weeks. His doctors are confident that this treatment regimen gives Bill a high rate of cure, so we are being optimistic. However, this won’t be an easy 7 weeks, and so I’m asking for prayers from everyone- I know how powerful prayers can be, and comforting to know so many people are holding him in their hearts.” – I met Bill a number of years ago, and he has an interesting story. As a child, he lived in Berlin for several years. His father was a GI in the Army serving overseas. Both of his parents were killed in a devastating house fire, and he and his two siblings returned to the US as orphans. Why am I sharing this? Because it is often amazing to me what people have quietly gone through in their lives – and yet have managed to be positive and life-affirming. It is an inspiration to me! Please pray for Bill at this time.
Be blessed and be safe,
Enjoy this beautiful day! Pastor Andreas Wagner