Dear St. Andrew’s Community:
It was wonderful to see so many show up on Zoom for the congregational meeting this past Sunday. During these times of isolation, seeing the faces of people we know is welcome medicine!
Congratulations and thanks to those who were elected to serve as church officers in the coming years. As I said in the meeting, it’s a very positive sign for the future of St. Andrew’s that so many are ready to share in the work of the church as a new pastor comes. The service for ordination and installation of these new officers is set for September 13 at 11.
The St. Andrew’s Preschool has begun its fall term. I spoke with Director Cindy Oliver and they have had 25 families register. I asked one of the teachers how they were handling hand washing, and she said they have two tubs of water, one with suds and one that’s clear, and they just announce, “It’s time for water play!” Maybe we should try that.
The Pastor Nominating Committee gets closer every day to announcing their candidate. Expect something soon.
Also, I’ve come across two online educational opportunities you may be interested in that begin next week. One is a 4-week “Spiritual Writing” workshop beginning next Wednesday at 1 PM; led by the amazing Marilyn McEntyre, formerly English Professor at Westmont and known and loved by many of us. The link is https://holycrossmonastery.com. Secondly, in the sermon last week I noted an ecumenical study group in town, “Word and Life,” that I have participated in for many years. The theme this fall is “Healing the Heart of Democracy.” It meets for ten Thursdays from 10 – 11:30, and the cost is $67. The link is https://wordandlife.us.
Finally, a word about the Beatitudes. I preached on three of them this past Sunday. In the process of working on the message, I did a creative exercise in which I imagined two groups of people. The first would be people for whom the core message of each beatitude would not be reflected in their life; the second would be people who, through life experience, have come to embody each theme. I didn’t share this in the service, but I thought I’d share it in this context. The list is not meant to say, “these are good people, and these are not.” It’s just a way to capture what Jesus was saying without “religious” language and in a contemporary style. Take a look at the lists below…which group do you want to be around?
Group A: The “I don’t need anything beyond myself” group.
1. People who never faced a difficult challenge in life and have never wanted to find any power beyond themselves.
2. People who may have lost someone they loved but never dealt with it.
3. People who feel they have to own something to enjoy it.
4. People who have never felt any interest in helping create a moral and just society.
5. People who believe we shouldn’t give second chances to others.
6. People who don’t ever reflect on their life values or any “higher purpose.”
7. People who aren’t interested in helping others work through disputes.
8. People who don’t want to ever speak out to disturb the status quo.
Group B “The beatitudes reflect where I’ve found meaning in my life” group.
1. People who have learned that faith helps them through hard times.
2. People who have lost loved ones and have grown in wisdom from the experience.
3. People who don’t have to own many things to enjoy being alive.
4. People who want to do what they can to create a better world for everyone.
5. People who are compassionate toward others.
6. People who know their own strengths and shortcomings and feel a reverence for other people and the natural world.
7. People who have learned to be skillful in helping others solve problems.
8. People who speak up for what is right, even if it challenges the powers-that-be.