Category Archives: St. Andrew’s

Sermon for Sunday October 16, 2016

Sermon for Proper 24, Year C

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Jeremiah 31:27-34               Psalm 119:97-104              2 Timothy 3:14-4:5                Luke 18:1-8

I love this reading from Jeremiah which offers the people of Israel a new understanding of God, moving them from the belief that we will be punished for the sins of our fathers to a belief that we are only responsible for our own actions.  Not only does this passage demonstrate to us that how the people of Israel know God changes over time, it also offers us the promise of a much deeper relationship with God.

Jeremiah writes, “This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”  The promise of God to write “my way” upon our hearts simply means we will be transformed by the love of God and what we will then want will be what God wants.  That, some might say, is when we will live in God’s kingdom.

To be Christian is to be transformed by Christ’s love.  This transformation is not, however, instantaneous.  We are being transformed.  Yet, we struggle from time to time with wanting to be in control and usurp God.  This is why in the second letter to Timothy, he is cautioned to remain faithful in his study of the scriptures, to proclaim the message, and to be persistent.  He is warned that the people will, as they have throughout history, stray from their relationship with God.  “For the time is coming,” he writes, “when people will not put up with sound doctrine, but having itching ears, they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own desires, and will turn from listening to the truth and wander away to myths.”

To be Christian, this is saying, requires us to be focused.  We need to focus on the gospel and doing what God calls us to do.  We are a long way from the promise in Jeremiah, from having God’s way be our way, God’s will be our will.  For God’s will to be our own, we must make a conscious decision to follow the way of Christ, and we must decide to do this over and over again.  As its says in the letter, we must be persistence in our faith “whether the time is favorable or unfavorable”  – in good times as well as bad times.

Today’s parable is also about persistence and faith.  Jesus tells his disciples about a widow who seeks justice for a dispute which she has with someone.  The judge is not interested in getting involved, but the widow does not give up.  She goes to the judge again and again and again until, we are told, he “grants her justice.”  Jesus says, “Will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night?”  But then Jesus asks, “And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”  This question puts a different spin on the parable.  Is this a parable about justice or faith?

The word translated in the parable as justice, might be more aptly translated as vindication.  The widow seeks to be vindicated for whatever claim she is making against the one who opposes her.  Vindication for our side of an argument is a form of justice, but vindication implies simply a ruling in her favor – saying she is right in her claim.  This suggests to me this parable is not about justice.  I believe it is about the same persistence and faith Timothy is told to maintain.

This parable is also about our prayers.  A persistent faith needs our persistent prayers.  Through prayer we not only ask God for what we want or think we need, we open ourselves to hear what God wants of us.  CS Lewis says of prayer, “I pray not to change God’s mind, but to change my own.”  Through prayer we can be transformed and see the world differently.

There are certainly times when we, ourselves, are guilty of what Timothy is warned against.  We do not want sound doctrine, we want to accumulate for ourselves.  We find people to help us justify what we want.  We seek people to support, rather than challenge us.  We don’t really want to hear the truth – just that which supports our beliefs and desires.  Persistent prayer can stop us from this wandering and bring the world back into focus so that we can see God’s creation for what it is.  God’s creation is filled with people who were created in God’s image.

Throughout the history of the church people have sought to understand when God’s Kingdom will come.  Many scholars will argue that Christ ushered in the Kingdom of God.  Thus, God’s Kingdom is here, now – just not yet fully realized.  Today’s lessons, remind us that what is past is past, we are now being judged for our own actions, for what is in our hearts.  If we, then, are persistent in our faith and in our prayers, we will be transformed by the love of Christ and his way will become our way.  And that is when we see God’s kingdom that surrounds us.

Let us pray.

Loving and gracious God, we give you thanks for the transforming power of your love.  Help us, we pray, to be persistent in our faith and prayers that we might see the world through your eyes.  We offer our prayers in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

 

 

Sermon for Sunday September 18, 2016

Sermon for Proper 20, Year C

September 18, 2016

Jeremiah 8:18-9:1                   Psalm 79:1-9                    1 Timothy 2:1-7                       Luke 16:1-13

Theologian William Barclay begins his commentary on today’s reading from Luke by saying:  “This is a difficult parable to interpret.”  I didn’t have to read his commentary to know that.  Jesus tells us a parable about a manager who, upon learning he is being fired, cooks the books so that the people he has been doing business with will be indebted to him.  So far this is just another story which we assume will provide us an example of God’s displeasure with evil doers and God’s pleasure with those who do the right thing.

Unfortunately, that is not the direction this parable is heading.  Instead, we are told, ” His master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly; for the children of this age are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light.”  It is safe to assume that this rich man is himself shrewd and appreciates that quality in others.  To him life is a game to be won by whatever means necessary.   The master often plays the part of God in parables, but we don’t get that impression here.

The comparison between the children of this age to the children of the light is also confused by what Jesus says next, ” I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of dishonest wealth so that when it is gone, they may welcome you into the eternal homes.”  Children of the light refers to the righteous, while children of this generation appears to refer to people who have lost their way.  So this is saying that the unfaithful are more clever than the faithful – which might just be another way of saying that they are more intentional and they spend more time making plans to accomplish what they want, than do the righteous.

Do we, as Christians, invest as much time planning to do God’s will, to being faithful AND caring for others as we do seeking ways to enjoy ourselves.  Here is where you might wish I hadn’t read Barclay’s commentary.  He says:

People expend twenty times the amount of time and money and effort on pleasure, on hobbies, gardening or sport as they do their church.  Our Christianity will begin to be real and effective when we spend as much time and effort on it as we do our worldly activities.

Please note that he is not suggesting we need to spend as much time at church as we do on recreational activities, but he is saying that we should spend as much time and effort on being a Christian as we do these other things.

For some, gardening, hobbies, and other “worldly activities” can be a spiritual experience.  I like to walk.  I often spend my time walking in prayer.  Creative activities can free our minds from the mundane and open our hearts to God.  Sometimes, though, I just walk and I forget to pray. Barclay is reminding us that being in a relationship with God requires effort and time.  As we read on in this parable, we hear this from Jesus as well.

In the last two verses of today’s passage, Jesus says, ” No slave can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”  This parable may be confusing, but there is nothing confusing in this message, “you cannot serve God and wealth.”  This parable is about what we value most – God, or our own comfort.  And what we value is reflected in how we spend our time, our energy and our money.

I believe this to be the key to unlocking this parable.  When Jesus speaks of “dishonest wealth,” he is referring to material goods and money – not necessarily that which is acquired by deceit or thief.  Thus Jesus says, ” I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of dishonest wealth so that when it is gone, they may welcome you into the eternal homes.”  Making friends by dishonest wealth means sharing what we have with others rather than hoarding it for ourselves.  In the parable the shrewd manager creates for himself a group of people who are indebted to him, who would have reason to take them into their homes.  But when Jesus tells us to share what we have with others, he then says it is so they will welcome you into their “eternal homes.”

This parable is about making a spiritual home for ourselves.   We do this by sharing what we have.  We do this by making an effort to do God’s will.  Barclay notes, “Possessions are not in themselves a sin, but they are a great responsibility, and those who use them to help their friends have gone far to discharge that responsibility.”

He makes another point about our material possessions and what Jesus says.  The two verses that talk about being faithful with very little and being faithful with dishonest wealth are told to remind us that this dishonest wealth – our worldly possessions, are not really ours.  They are instead on loan to us in this life.  Jesus says:

If then you have not been faithful with the dishonest wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful with what belongs to another, who will give you what is your own?

In the parable, the manager has been entrusted with the rich man’s property – just as we have been entrusted with whatever we have in this life.  To say that anything that we have is ours is dishonest.  Every single thing that we have belongs to God and we are nothing more than stewards of what our laws say that we own.

Jesus is challenging us to invest in our spiritual self by using what has been entrusted to us wisely.  Parables often raise questions in our minds.  I think this one raises more than most.  I’d like to have been told more in hopes that its message would become clearer.  But then, hearing that I cannot serve God and wealth might just be more than I can handle.  Suggesting that how I spend my money says something about my priorities makes me uncomfortable.  That just might be the whole point of this parable – to make us uncomfortable.  Being a Christian is not, after all, about being comfortable.  Being a Christian is, instead, about learning to share our time, our talents, and our money supporting one another; living in community; and being faithful to our God.

Let us pray.

Loving and gracious God, help us to remember that all that we have does come from you and that what we have been given is for us to do your will.  Help us to make you our master and to love and serve only you.  We offer our prayers in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

 

Announcements for Week of September 11, 2016

What’s Happening at St. Andrew’s

The Week of  September 11, 2016

Sunday Bluegrass Festival

12:30

pm
Monday Audubon Society

11:00

am
Tuesday Wood Carvers

Book Discussion Group

“My Antonia” by Willa Cather

9:00

Noon

am
Wednesday Stichers

Choir Practice

9:00

5:00

am

pm

Thursday Education for Ministry (EfM)

5:00

pm

Announcements

 

Adult Forum There will be no Adult Forum this week as we prepare for the Blue Grass Concert.  If you did not get your books last week, Father Jim will have them for you to pick up. 
Choir Choir rehearsals will resume on Wednesday, September 14th at 5 pm.
Giving Tree The focus for our Giving Tree is the Bridge Bash on  Saturday, September 24th, which supports the Food Bank AND our Food Pantry.  Participation Forms are on the table in the Narthex for both “food packer volunteers” and those who wish to “sleep in for hope.” A $20 donation to the Food Bank (designated to be used by St. Andrew’s Pantry) makes it possible for the Food Bank to purchase food at substantial savings and for St. Andrew’s to supplement our Food Pantry with food from the Food Bank.

Note:  T-Shirts that were ordered and paid for are available for pick up in the Narthex.

Upcoming Events at St. Andrew’s

Wednesday Sept. 21th Choir Practice
Saturday Sept. 24th Bridge Bash
 

 

 

 

Announcements for the week of November 29, 2015

What’s Happening at St. Andrew’s

The Week of November 29, 2015

Sunday

Food Ingathering 8:00 & 10:30 am

Tuesday

Wood Carvers 9:00 am

         Citizens for Clean Water 12:00 Noon

Wednesday

Stitchers 9:00 am

Healing Service 12:00 Noon

Choir Practice 5:00 pm

Pub Theology 5:30 pm

Thursday

PEO Meeting 11:30 am

EfM 5:00 pm

Saturday

Daughter of the King (DOK) 9:00 am

Service of Light 4:30 pm

 

Announcements

Adult Forum in November:  There will be no adult forum this week.

Food Ingathering: This Sunday is our food ingathering. There are shopping list available in the Narthex. If everyone brings an item from the list once a month, it will make a huge difference.  There are brown paper bags available in the red wagon (which is used to collect our donations) to help remind parishioners to bring food to the pantry.  We plan on blessing the food collected when the collection plates are presented at the altar on each food ingathering Sunday.

Service of Light & Remembrance:  The holiday season is particularly difficult for many who are not able to spend time with loved ones because of distance or death.  On December 5th, we will offer a Service of Light and Remembrance followed by a simple dinner.  All are invited to come as we open a space in our worship and this holiday season to remember those we love but who will not be present to celebrate the holidays with us.  The service will begin at 4:30 and those who wish to stay for dinner are invited to do so.  There is a sign-up sheet in the Narthex for those wishing to attend to help us plan for seating and meals.

Stewardship Update: To date, we have received 63 pledges (the same as last year) totaling $163,900 ($3,750 more than last year).  There are several cards still outstanding.  If you have not returned your pledge, please do so immediately so the vestry can complete its budget for 2016.  Every pledge makes a difference!

Vestry Highlights:  At the November Vestry Meeting, the vestry approved the following slate of nominations to the vestry:  Mearl Plunkett and Jane Darr.  The election will take place at the Annual Parish Meeting in January.  Information about Mearl and Jane will be included in the church’s newsletter. The vestry also discussed this year’s Stewardship Drive, noting we are a long way from achieving our goal and have learned of additional expenses that will need to be included in the budget for 2016.  Vestry members were assigned the names of those we have not yet received pledge cards from in order to contact them and ask that they turn in their pledge cards so we will be able to prepare a budget for next year.  Junior Warden Mike Moore reported on the work day and discussed some additional work that needs to be done.  Father McDonald asked for assistance in planning this year’s Service of Light and Remembrance.  It was decided to recruit help from those who sign-up.

Second Saturday Singles: Saturday, December 12th, 2015 the Second Saturday Singles Club will be taking a trip to the Brookfalls Restaurant for lunch. They will be meeting in the parking lot of St. Andrew’s at 10:00 am and leaving around 10:20. For those who would like to participate there is a sign-up sheet in the Narthex. If you have any questions please contact Elaine Zimny.

Men’s Breakfast:  The Men’s Group invites all the members of our church to attend a special Holiday Breakfast on December 12th at 9:00 am.

Upcoming Events at St. Andrew’s

Tuesday December 8th

Book Discussion Group

Zealot by Reza Aslan

St. Martha’s Guild

Saturday December 12th

Men’s Breakfast

Second Saturday Singles

Thursday December 24th

Christmas Vigil

Announcements for the week of October 25, 2015

What’s Happening at St. Andrew’s

The Week of October 25, 2015

Sunday

Food Ingathering 8:00 & 10:30 am

Tuesday

Wood Carvers 9:00 am

Twin Lakes Choral Society 5:00 pm

Wednesday

Stitchers 9:00 am

Choir Practice 5:00 pm

Thursday

EfM 5:00 pm

 

Announcements

Discretionary Fund Collection: All loose plate offerings (gifts not dedicated for pledge or building) this Sunday will be used to fund the Rector’s Discretionary Fund which is used to provide assistance to people who come to the church seeking help.

Adult Forum in October:  This Sunday we will continue our series, Embracing Spiritual Awakening, with Diana Butler Bass. This is the fourth session titled Belonging. Books are available through the office. Class will begin at 9:00 am.

All Saints’ Day Memorials:  All names to be memorialized on All Saints’ Sunday must be received by the church office no later than Monday, October 26th, in order to be printed in the All Saints’ Day bulletin.  See the signup sheet in the Narthex.  For those wishing to make memorial contributions in remembrance of loved ones, cards and envelopes are also available in the narthex.

Food Ingathering: This Sunday is our food ingathering. There are shopping list available in the Narthex. If everyone brings an item from the list once a month, it will make a huge difference.  There are brown paper bags available in the red wagon (which is used to collect our donations) to help remind parishioners to bring food to the pantry.  We plan on blessing the food collected when the collection plates are presented at the altar on each food ingathering Sunday.

Baptism Scheduled:  All Saints’ Sunday is a Sunday when Baptism are especially appropriate and this November 1st we will celebrate it with the baptism of Brian Maness at the 10:30 service.

Wedding Invitation:  On Saturday, November 7th at 3:30 pm we will celebrate the witnessing and blessing of the marriage of Gary Clayton and Brian Maness (reception to follow).  The couple invites all members of St. Andrew’s.  For planning purposes, they ask you to contact Gary at clayton19692000@yahoo.com, or 870-736-5570, if you will be in attendance.

Vestry Meeting Highlights: The Vestry worked on the calendar. They scheduled a fall work day on Saturday November 14th following the Men’s Breakfast. April Baily will host a Thanksgiving Dinner at her house for anyone interested in attending. There will be a sign up sheet in the Narthex once details are confirmed. A Service of Light is tentatively scheduled for December 5th at 4:30 pm. In addition, we will be ordering some new albs and rope cinctures to replace some of the damaged ones. The Vestry also reviewed possible candidates for vestry elections.

Upcoming Events at St. Andrew’s

Sunday November 1st

All Saints’ Sunday

Wednesday November 4th

Healing Service

Pub Theology

Saturday November 7th

Clayton-Maness Wedding

 

Announcements for the week of August 23, 2015

What’s Happening at St. Andrew’s

The Week of August 23, 2015

Sunday

Movie with a Message

The Legend of Bagger Vance

Tuesday

Woodcarvers 9:00 am

 Twin Lakes Choral Society 5:00 pm

Wednesday

Stitchers 9:00 am

Announcements

Discretionary Fund Collection: All loose plate offerings (gifts not dedicated for pledge or building) this Sunday will be used to fund the Rector’s discretionary fund.

Embracing an Adult Faith: This week’s session from the video Embracing an Adult Faith by Marcus Borg on What it Means to be Christian will be on Community.  Please note that for this series, forum begins at 9:00 am.

Food Pantry Volunteers: The St. Andrew’s Food Pantry is needing some more volunteers to shop for groceries and work the pantry on Wednesdays from 9am-12 noon. If anyone is interested in donating their time to this worthy cause please contact Gail Alter.

Food Ingathering: August 30, 2015 is the date of our next ingathering. There are shopping list available in the Narthex. If everyone brings an item from the list once a month, it will make a huge difference. There are brown paper bags available in the red wagon (which is used to collect our donations) to help remind parishioners to bring food to the pantry.  We plan on blessing the food collected when the collection plates are presented at the altar on each food ingathering Sunday.

Looking Out for Each Other: It is important that as a church family we take care of one another.  If you notice that a member is not in church or stops coming please check on him/her.

Ozark Center of Hope: The Ozark Center of Hope is growing and branching out in many areas. They are in need of volunteers. If you are interested please contact the Ozark Center of Hope. More information of their volunteer needs is the narthex.

Vestry Highlights:  At this month’s meeting, the vestry began looking ahead toward next year’s budget, made plans for the Parish Meeting, scheduled a forum on Scriptures and Sexuality, and a plan was made to care for the albs.  A budget committee was established and the vestry made plans for the 2016 Pledge Drive.  At the Parish Meeting we will recognize our new members (we’ve had eleven people join the church so far this year) and provide information on all the ministry opportunities we have for members to get involved in the life of St. Andrew’s.  On September 20th, during Adult Forum, the rector will offer a forum on Scriptures and Sexuality and the Episcopal Church’s decision to perform same-gender couples marriages. Margaret Weeks will recruit members to care for our albs, and determine the need for additional albs.

Bluegrass Concert: The Annual Bluegrass Benefit Concert for Gamma House is scheduled for September 27, 2015 at 12:30 pm. We are needing volunteers for:

Silent Auction: we will have a silent auction

  • make a basket for the auction
  • donate items for a basket
  • donate money to be used to purchase items for a basket, donate gift certificate, etc.
  • seek donations from businesses for the silent auction

Baked Goods: we will sell Ziploc bags of cookies

  • make cookies
  • put together bags to sell
  • sell cookies during the concert

 Set up & Take down

  • set up items for silent auction & baked goods
  • set up tables
  • take down tables and clean up

There are signup sheets in the Narthex.

Upcoming Events at St. Andrew’s

Sunday August 30th

Food Ingathering

Tuesday Sept 1st

Citizen for Clean Water

Twin Lakes Choral Society

Cooking Matters

Wednesday Sept 2nd 

Healing Service

 Pub Theology

Thursday Sept 3rd

PEO Meeting

Saturday Sept 4th

DOK Meeting

Sunday Sept 20th

Forum: Scriptures & Sexuality

Sunday September 27th

Blue Grass Concert

Announcements for the week of August 16, 2015

What’s Happening at St. Andrew’s

The Week of August 16, 2015

Sunday

Vestry Meeting 12:30 pm

Tuesday

Woodcarvers 9:00 am

Ozark Herbal Friends 10:00 am

Twin Lakes Choral Society 5:00 pm

Wednesday

Stitchers 9:00 am

Pub Theology 5:30 pm

Announcements

Movie with a Message:  The Movie with a Message for August will be The Legend of Bagger Vance on August 23rd at 1:00 pm.

Embracing an Adult Faith: This week’s session from the video Embracing an Adult Faith by Marcus Borg on What it Means to be Christian will be on Practice.  Please note that for this series, forum begins at 9:00 am.

Bluegrass Concert:  The Annual Bluegrass Benefit Concert for Gamma House is scheduled for September 27, 2015 at 12:30 pm. We are needing volunteers for:

Silent Auction: we will have a silent auction

  • make a basket for the auction
  • donate items for a basket
  • donate money to be used to purchase items for a basket, donate gift certificate, etc.
  • seek donations from businesses for the silent auction

Baked Goods: we will sell Ziploc bags of cookies

  • make cookies
  • put together bags to sell
  • sell cookies during the concert

Set up & Take down

  • set up items for silent auction & baked goods
  • set up tables
  • take down tables and clean up

There are signup sheets in the Narthex.

Upcoming Events at St. Andrew’s

 Sunday August 23rd

Movie with a Message

The Legend of Bagger Vance

Tuesday August 25

Twin Lakes Choral Society

Sunday August 30th

Food Ingathering

Sunday September 13th

Parish Meeting & Potluck

Sunday September 27th

Blue Grass Concert

 

 

Sermon for Sunday August 9, 2015

Sermon for August 9, 2015

Proper 14, Year B

1 Kings 19:4-8                Psalm 34:1-8                    Ephesians 4:25-5:2                     John 6:35, 41-51

“I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”

In this sixth chapter from the gospel of John, we have now moved past the miracle and the people’s belief that Jesus is the prophet God sent to deliver them from Roman oppression.  We have moved into the questioning and doubt, complaining even.  The people who were among the five thousand that were feed the day before are now complaining. They sought Jesus and asked him to provide them with another sign, that they might be certain he is the one, and he responds to this request with a teaching. Then starts talking about himself as “the bread of life.”

The people are now angry, they complain about him reminding one another that he is ordinary man – the son of Mary and Joseph.   So, in about twenty-four hours after they were ready to make him king, he has moved in their minds from a prophet, to a common man – and a confusing one at that.  Still Jesus continues to teach, saying:

“Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die.  I am the living bead that came down from heaven.”

Today’s passage from John ends with Jesus saying he will offer himself “for the life of the world.”

Last Sunday I talked about the problem with miracles.  Miracles not only confused the people who witnessed them in Galilee, they confuse us today – perhaps even more so . . ..  Miracle stories in the Bible, such as the one from 1 Kings in which an angel brings food to Elijah and the manna from heaven referred to by Jesus in today’s reading, are distracting for our twenty first century minds.  But each miracle has a message for us and the teaching from Jesus illuminates these messages.

Today, as Jesus continues the lesson he began in our reading last week, that he is the bread of life, Jesus helps us understand the eternal life God offers us is not physical, but spiritual.  The bread that we eat feeds our bodies, but what Christ offers feeds our souls.

Elijah was ready to die, he asks God, “It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my ancestors.”  He has been God’s prophet, he defeated the prophets of Baal and now finds himself fleeing from Jezebel, the king’s wife, who had threatened to kill him.  Now, alone in the wilderness, he wants God to be merciful, he wants to die.

I think most of us reach this point at one time or another.  We do all that we think we can, and still, it doesn’t feel like we’ve done enough.  We get tired of trying and we just want it all to end.  This isn’t to say we’re suicidal, we’re just tired, filled with despair and perhaps even depressed.  We want to be relieved of the responsibilities of this life.

But, like Elijah, God isn’t finished with us and God’s angels will provide us the nourishment we need to continue.  As Christians we talk about seeing the face of Christ in others, and we talk of people being “angels” for us.  We understand that God works through people, and when we are paying attending, we see this on a daily basis.  Sometimes, too, we are surprised to find that the kind word or offer of assistance comes from the people we least expect to demonstrate God’s love.

Last summer when I was on sabbatical, a friend of mine and I took a road trip on our motorcycles.  I had a flat along the way and managed to get to a gas station only to discover that it was the station one block further that had air – not this one.  We needed some tools and the first person to offer assistance was driving an old truck that had seen better days.  He not only found us the tool we needed, he gave it to us!

Unfortunately, we were unable to fix the leak with fix-a-flat and by tightening the valve core – so we were stuck until a couple of guys showed up in an old beat up SUV.  They not only offered assistance, they left and returned with a trailer to haul my bike thirty miles away to the hotel where we had our reservations – then they refused to take money for their help or even for gas.

I suspect we all have such a story, though your story might  simply be that a stranger offers you a kind word in the middle of a day when everything else has gone wrong.  And whether we say it is Christ, or an angel of the Lord working through them, the meaning is the same.  God offers us the substance which gives us the strength to continue our journey – and that is the message in today’s reading from First Kings.  In the Gospel of John, Jesus tells us God offers more than that.

God offers manna to the people in the wilderness to give them the strength to continue their journey.  But Jesus teaches us that the journey is not to the geographical Promised Land, but to eternal life – our life in Christ, who is the true bread from heaven.

These readings from 1 Kings, and John, tell us about the life that God offers for us, but it is our reading from Ephesians that gives us practical advice for how to live our lives in community.  Though this letter was attributed to Paul, its  authorship is subject to debate among biblical scholars.  What is not debated, however, is that it is written to Gentile Christians, not Jewish Christians, and that it focuses on how members of the church are to relate to one another.

Today’s passage speaks of being angry, but not sinning, of dealing with our angry before the sun sets at the end of each day.  It addresses the words that come out of our mouths, urging us to speak only those words which “give grace to those who hear.”  Paul, or his disciple who writes this letter, urges us to be imitators of God and to “live in love as Christ loved us and gave himself for us.”

Our life together here at St. Andrew’s makes a tremendous difference in how we live our lives.  The true bread from heaven that Christ offers is shared by living in love with one another.  I really liked the comment in last Sunday’s passage from Ephesians in which Paul said we are not to allow ourselves to be “tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine.”  This coupled with today’s reminder that we are deal constructively with our differences, teaches us to “guard our tongues,” if you will, and speak only in ways to build others up.

Living in love with one another does not mean we are in agreement, it simply means we seek to be supportive of one another.  We may very well need to explore our differences and resolve conflicts, but Paul tells us to do this in way that builds up rather than cuts down or discounts the other’s opinion.

In the catechism in our prayer book, it says, “The mission of the church is to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ.”  Commentator G. Porter Taylor reminds, “The nature of love is to love and to grow in that love.”  Again, to restore unity does not necessitate agreement, but that we respect one another and see each other as the child of God we are – transformed by the love of Christ – who is the bread of life.

Let us pray.

Loving and gracious God, we thank you for this community, St. Andrew’s, and the love we share with each other.  Help us we pray, to remain faithful to your call to us to seek to build each other up that when we leave here today we might take your love with us and share it with others.  We pray in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Announcements for the week of August 9, 2015

What’s Happening at St. Andrew’s

The Week of August 9, 2015

Monday

Audubon Society 1:00 pm

Tuesday

Woodcarvers 9:00 am

Book Discussion Group

       The Sixth Extinction

Wednesday

Stitchers 9:00 am

Thursday

Twin Lakes Literacy Council Pizza Party (Keller) 10:30 am

         St. Martha’s Guild 1:00 pm

 Announcements

Embracing an Adult Faith: We will continue the video series for small groups titled Embracing an Adult Faith by Marcus Borg on What it Means to be Christian during forum.  Please note that for this series, forum begins at 9:00 am.

Cooking Matters: Cooking Matters will start a new class Tuesday September 1 from 5 pm – 7:30 pm. This will be a 5 week class. If you are interested in participating either as a student or an instructor please see Kathy, Helen, Deanna or Mike Moore.

 Upcoming Events at St. Andrew’s

 Sunday August 16th

Vestry Meeting

Movie with a Message

Tuesday August 18th

Ozark Herbal Friends

Twin Lakes Choral Society

Wednesday August 19th

Pub Theology

Announcements for the week of August 2, 2015

What’s Happening at St. Andrew’s

The Week of August 2, 2015

Tuesday

Woodcarvers 9:00 am

 Citizens for Clean Water  12 noon

          Twin Lakes Choral Society 5:00 pm

Wednesday

Stitchers 9:00 am

 Healing Service 12 noon

  Pub Theology 5:30 pm

Saturday

Men’s Breakfast 7:30 am

2nd Saturday Singles 9:45 am

 Announcements

 Embracing an Adult Faith: This Sunday we begin the video series for small groups titled Embracing an Adult Faith by Marcus Borg on What it Means to be Christian during forum.  Please note that for this series, forum begins at 9:00 am.

Food Ingathering : The food ingathering held on Sunday July 26th was a huge success. We appreciate the congregation coming together to supply our food pantry with the items necessary to support the community and those in need. Thank you to everyone who participated.

St. Andrew’s Book Discussion Group: The upcoming meeting for the St. Andrew’s book discussion group will be Tuesday August 11th, at 12:00 noon, in Keller Hall. Under discussion will be The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert. Attendees are reminded to bring a sack lunch.

Second Saturday Singles: The 2nd Saturday Singles will be going to Buffalo Point Restaurant on August 8th for lunch and fellowship. They will meet in the parking lot at St. Andrew’s at 9:30 am to carpool and at the Flippin Wal-Mart parking lot at 10:15 am. If you plan to attend please sign the signup sheet in the Narthex.

Vestry Meeting Highlights:  At its July meeting, the vestry approved the minutes of its June meeting and the June financials – both are on the bulletin board by Keller.  It was noted that pledge receipts are behind and the treasurer asks that a reminder be put in the bulletin.  There was some discussion concerning General Convention’s actions regarding marriage and the use of alcohol at church functions.  The rector expressed concern for members who disagree with the church’s new policy permitting marriages of same gendered couples.  He proposed offering a forum to discuss the churches understanding of the scriptures and its theology that supports its decision while permitting others to express their views.  The purpose of such a forum would not be to change opinions, but to offer an explanation as to the churches reasoning.

Pledge Update:  In June, pledge payments year -to-date pledge were behind over $4,000.  Our treasurers asks us to remind you that our bills must be paid each month – even in the summer.  If you are behind and can, we would appreciate it if you would get caught-up.  Thanks.

  Upcoming Events at St. Andrew’s

Monday August 10th

Audubon Society

Tuesday August 11th

Book Discussion Group

                 The Sixth Extinction

    Twin Lakes Choral Society

Thursday August 13th

Twin Lakes Literacy Council Pizza Party (Keller)

 St. Martha’s Guild