O Sun So Longed For…

leaves-in-water

Friday, November 7, 2014

Matthew 25:1-13

In the parable of the ten bridesmaids, five were foolish and five were wise.

The wise ones brought extra oil for their lamps so they would remain ready for the bridegroom’s arrival. The foolish ones likely never gave readiness a second thought and ran out of oil just when they needed more. While the customs in the parable are far removed from our time, we can still relate to the challenge of waiting.

I must admit that I have not always done well with it. I know what it is to be impatient. The wise ones in the story waited actively, with anticipation and preparation. The foolish ones not so much as they lacked alertness fitting to the occasion. My waiting has been far from perfect.

Often we are left with the summons to be watchful, expectant and hope filled. This becomes real when we wait together - patiently present for one another. In this way we are reminded of whom and what we are waiting for.

The lamps of the bridesmaids burning bright in the midst of all the hard waiting bring the needed light and hope to the story. There is more here than just their waiting, more than their wisdom, more than their foolishness.

November brings to my mind this kind of vision – to see beyond the unremarkable and uneventful when it seems nothing much is happening on the landscape. The month of November in the church makes room for an anticipation of something yet far off and ever near:   Our hope and expectation, O Jesus, now appear; arise, O Sun so longed for, o’er this benighted sphere. With hearts and hands uplifted, we plead, O Lord, to see the day of earth’s redemption that sets your people free. (ELW 244)

Pastor Randy

And If There is Anything Worthy of Praise...

Friday, October 10, 2014

pine-trees-and-lake

 

 

Philippians 4:1-9

 

 

In September, I spent a week canoeing in the Canadian wilderness with my friend Tim. Tim loves to paddle and camp but mostly likes to take hundreds of pictures. Here is one of them. Tim is a fine photographer. I am impressed by his vision, his ability to see things that I mostly miss because I'm too focused on what at times can be the arduous efforts of paddling and portaging.

 

Long after our return I find wonder and appreciation in all that we saw and experienced through his ability to capture the moments and scenes of our trip! When we paddled along this shoreline I know I missed the dance of light on the one small maple turned red in the sea of pines. It makes me think about how gratitude flows from our recognition - a willingness to see beyond ourselves and our own efforts.

 

It makes me think of the importance of praise in our worship life.

 

The Lord is near, Paul wrote. Such promise puts anxiety in place and frees us to acknowledge the wideness of God's mercy and our participation in it. Pressed to do more, and more we can lose sight of what God is doing in the very present moment of our lives.

 

Paul further wrote, And if there is anything worthy of praise think about these things. Praise is an action of a community of faith that names the resiliency of God's grace; it is a thanksgiving shared and told; it is the practice of taking notice of God even in the unlikely places. Praise is the action that leads us to surprising generosity and authentic care for all.

 

Give to God immortal praise!

Mercy and truth are all his ways.

Wonders of grace to God belong;

repeat his mercies in your song. ELW 848

Pastor Randy