As you know by now, Pastor Tim and I have named this, our third year of ministry with the Hagerstown Church of the Brethren, a year to focus on hospitality. Hospitality stems from Christ’s greatest commandments to love the Lord our God and to love our neighbors as ourselves. At the end of October, we will have a worship series on hospitality as we explore how we as a church can be more hospitable to not only the stranger who walks through our doors or through our parking lot, but to each other.
Hospitality is about relationships. Fred Bernhard explains in his book “Deep & Wide” that people stick around a church if they are making relationships with God and others. Relationship is key. So consider these stories.
I love gardening. Pastor Tim and I are very excited that we were able to get our own personal plot at the community garden this year and spend a lot of our downtime in this space. We have already enjoyed harvesting a variety of greens and peppers, yellow zucchini, and green beans and we are looking forward to the tomatoes, carrots, squash, and eggplant to come. The growth of spring and the harvest of summer and fall feel to me like Gospel because they speak to new life and slow growth and God’s grace.
When I was taking philosophy classes at Bridgewater College, I was fascinated by the power of language. When the brain orchestrates an original thought, is it limited to understanding this thought by the words it already knows? Or do human minds grasp for ideas and concepts beyond those our words can express? I thought about these questions for a good year of my study.
On June 1, Pastor Tim and I will have been serving with you in ministry for two years! What a journey these past two years have been. You’ll remember that in our first year of ministry together, Pastor Tim and I spent a lot of time just getting to know you. We held cottage meetings, attended many meetings, and focused on getting to know the culture of this congregation.
May will be such a wonderful month to be in worship together as the Hagerstown Church of the Brethren. We start the month off celebrating Youth Sunday and two weeks later we’ll celebrate Older Adult Sunday. May will be such a wonderful month to be in worship together as the Hagerstown Church of the Brethren. We start the month off celebrating Youth Sunday and two weeks later we’ll celebrate Older Adult Sunday.
“Lex orandi, lex credendi” is a Latin phrase often used in the Catholic Church which loosely means: As we pray, so we believe. Some even add a “lex vivendi” onto the phrase so that the phrase expands to: how we pray, so we believe, so we live.” If you think about it, this is absolutely true.
Maybe every winter feels long when you are wandering through it. I am not much of a winter guy. I don’t like the snow, especially if I need to be somewhere. I don’t like the sun going down so early. I don’t like the way that gray winter clouds form a heavy sheet over the earth. I think we’ve had enough winter.
The Church of the Brethren ministers manual, called “For All who Minister,” defines Lent with these words: “The forty days of Lent are most frequently identified with Jesus’ fortyday fast in the desert, the forty days Moses spent on Mount Sinai, and Israel’s forty years of wandering in the wilderness. The season of Lent focuses on discipline and penitence and is a time for increased reflection on the life, teaching, and sacrificial death of Christ.”
The sign of any great moment in life is that we do not want it to end. Moments like singing Silent Night in our candle lit sanctuary or slowly sipping coffee on Christmas day surrounded by family. In these moments, we are keenly aware of our emotions and the Spirit’s presence. We just want to breathe it in and stay there like Peter on the mountain with a transfigured Jesus.