Pastoral Post 5.6.2016

It’s seems to me that we move rather rapidly from one mountaintop experience to the next here at First Church! Easter was such a grand day, and every Sunday of the Easter season has had special meaning for me—including last Sunday’s presentation by our Music Makers.

 In two services, one in the gym and one in the sanctuary, we were thrilled, moved, and inspired by our children—some 70 of them!—singing their hearts out, ringing bells and chimes, strumming ukuleles. Scott Taylor described for us how Music Makers works and what it’s attempting to mean to the children. The gym and sanctuary were near capacity. The energy, enthusiasm, and excitement were palpable!

 What a wonderful day…..and what a wonderful program. Scott made it very clear that it takes the whole community to make MusicMakers happen—our staff, our teachers, our van drivers, our homework volunteers, etc. Thanks to all who have supported this amazing program that will enrich the lives of these children, I have no doubt, throughout their lives.

 I might add that yesterday was a party day for Music Makers, the last meeting of the school year for them. They ate pizza, donuts, and popcicles, played on the lawn (releasing some of that sugar overload), and then I followed them to the sanctuary for a special program. Tim Wise, one of our members and band director at Tuscola, brought his jazz band over to entertain them. They were fantastic! And the kids sat quietly with great appreciation. Another special moment, when young lives are being impacted, and—who knows?—futures are being shaped!

 This Sunday is the last Sunday of the Great Fifty Days of Easter. Our primary scripture lesson will be from Jesus’ “High Priestly Prayer” in John 17. Read the whole prayer if you get a chance. Our focus will be on verses 20-26. As I’ve pondered these verses this week, I have been convinced that they have a powerful message for us today. Jesus prayed that his followers would be “one,” just as he and God are “one.” What might the message be to us today, if we take seriously the call to be “one?” One with whom? Does this apply to the “holy catholic (universal) church,” to the churches of our community, to our denomination, to us within First Church? Might this have a word for us on Mother’s Day, also referred to as “The Festival of the Christian Home”? We’ll also celebrate the Lord’s Supper, the meal that makes us one.

 For some months, we have had a Master Plan team working with architects on plans for the church’s future ministry and resulting needs, including, but not limited to facilities. On May 18, in the Faith Classroom, following the Wonderful Wednesday meal (about 6:15), members of the Master Plan team will share some of what they have learned and give opportunity to interested persons to share their ideas, dreams, and understanding of God’s will for the future of First Church. All interested persons are welcome.

 Have you ever wanted to visit the Holy Land? Next January, my wife Susan and I are leading a pilgrimage there. People are signing up to go, and I hope, if you are interested, you’ll pick up the two brochures (including the one entitled, ”Will We Be Safe in the Holy Land?”) at one of the Connection Points or in the church office, or call me with any questions you may have. It’s an experience of a lifetime!

 See you Sunday as we celebrate mothers, families, and more!

Sandy

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