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"What is important is to realize that we are a family... and that the reason we are at church is not to be entertained but to worship God, increase our relationship with God, increase our recognition of God’s worth in our lives..."

 

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  Pastor Michael's Musings

 

 

For Valentine’s Day and Lent – love the unlovable…

 

The president is one year into his term and is providing the State of the Union address this week.  I know that many people are boycotting the State of the Union, via television and in-person. I won’t lie…I’m one of them. He’s an extremely unconventional and challenging president – that’s putting it mildly – and I can’t watch him without becoming emotionally irritated. I’ll read the address the day after.

 

I don’t agree with him on anything that I can think of…but I try really hard to “love my enemies,” when it comes to 45.  In trying to relate and connect to him in some way, I think one point where I may be able to do it, is scrutiny.  As the POTUS, he is exceedingly scrutinized. Everything he says and does is under a microscope. 

 

Like 45, I’m also one year in to my position. Yes, one year! February 20th is officially one year that I’ve been your lead co-pastor. It’s flown by so quickly and been absolutely amazing. I don’t think 45 can say the same about his first year.  Also like 45, despite how well or “not-so-well” a pastor does their job, scrutiny is a natural part of the job. Even though I feel supported beyond measure, I still remind myself that someone is potentially scrutinizing me at any moment. Presidents and pastors; our positions attract scrutiny.

 

As for me, in light of this inherent scrutiny, I’m inclined to reflect on what I’ve done and said in the last year. I also want to reach out to my constituents (“my congregation”). I want to engage, listen, relate, hear and experience as much as I can in order to make the world better from my position. Unfortunately, I’m not seeing any evidence that 45 is inclined to do the same. But I pray it will get better.

 

I hope that in the next year, he’s able to be as fortunate as I have been in my first year and be touched by the love of beautiful people. For all of the things that seem to distance me from the president, I try to remember that he’s my brother in the eyes of God. I don’t see him as an “enemy” per se, but I think of Luke 6:27-36 which tells us to love our enemies and be merciful, like God. So as we enter this season of Lent, let us remember the sacrifice of our Lord and give up anger and hatred. Let’s love the unlovable – whoever that may be.

 

 

 

 

 

Pastor Greg’s Gandering     

 

 

Cycles and Spirals

 

I remember when I was about 17 going to my Dad’s office at Mountain Bell and seeing the stacks of punch cards that were what served as memory for their massive computer.  It was many years later when Shelly and I got our first computer so that she could use it for her Computer Programming college course. The year was 1983 and it was a Commodore 64, so named for its huge 64 kilobyte memory. Now I carry this computer around in my pocket that can access most of the knowledge in the world, hold libraries of books, what would be rooms of vinyl albums and do thousands of other things.  It can even be used to make a phone call or a video call. It really is miraculously incredible.  I am assuming that our grandson will never learn to drive.  In 15 years or so, I’m thinking that even autonomous off-road vehicles will do a better job of climbing rock fields than a human.  Artificial Intelligence may be humanities’ greatest blessing or its greatest curse. It is likely to be the next evolution of consciousness, perhaps even with a level of consciousness that would make ours seem primitive.  This can be very unsettling.

 

In the midst of unimaginable change religion can bring us some sanity.  Not because it offers us a God who will step into our world and fix everything, but because it offers us a safe home to which we can return.  It offers us a faith in a God that will move the cosmos towards love, but it also offers us a sense of stability in recurring patterns.  In particular, I am thinking of the seasons of the church which come and go with wonderful regularity.  They are cyclical in that they happen over and over; Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Pentecost and that long common time that lasts until the cycle starts over. But, they are more importantly spirals.  They don’t just go in circles, but rather they are an everchanging spiral. Each year they meet us where we are now; giving us new insight into who we are and our relationship with the Holy.   Celebrating Lent this year and then Easter will be quite different than it was last year.  It is one of the values of religion that we are offered this doorway into the investigation of our meaning and our place in the cosmos.   Even if this year Lent seems to be arriving way to fast.

 

May you have and insightful and blessed season.

Pastor Greg

 

 

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