Good Day to you, Church!
Every spring I try to remind myself that, inevitably, we have one last, late snowfall– just like we did this week. While I can concede to this fact in my mind, my heart and my body still protest every time it happens. Today I’m still feeling a little grumbly that it’s as nippy as it is, but the snow is melting and soon we will be back on track with enjoyable spring weather!
Here’s the news I have to share this week–
This Sunday is normally the week when Rev. Shaun preaches for us in the month, but this time will be different. Following Easter, our Synod (the governing body in our denomination above the presbytery) put together two online services to share with any church that might like to give their ministers a Sunday off. One of the preachers in these services did a bang-up job, and so this week I will be playing his sermon during our worship service. His name is Dr. Claudio Carvalhaes and he serves as a professor at Union Theological Seminary. I hope you’ll join us for Dr. Carvalhaes’ sermon and Keilor’s wonderful music. I’m looking forward to it!
On that note, can I just put in a word of gratitude for Keilor Kastella’s music ministry? I don’t know about you, but I leave our worship services every week feeling uplifted and encouraged by our music. Having a good sermon to chew on is important in worship, but having hopeful music, which you can then carry in your heart throughout the week, is vital to a worship-filled heart. So thank you Keilor!
I also wanted to tell you about a young woman who would like to come and join us for worship when we begin meeting in the sanctuary. Her name is Maddie James and she is a student at SUNY Potsdam. She’s been joining us every week for online worship, and I’ve spoken with her some and learned that she’s studying theater and psychology. (She wants to do work in the world of drama therapy “when she grows up,” using theater as a way to engage people in psychological healing.) This weekend she is involved in SUNY Potsdam’s spring mainstage production– an online production of a play called “The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later.”
The show centers around the death of Matthew Shepard, a young University of Wyoming student who was killed for being gay in Laramie, Wyoming in 1998. The show will run tonight and tomorrow night, Friday and Saturday, 4/23-4/24, at 7:30pm and then on Sunday, 4/25, at 2pm. If you’d like, you can reserve free tickets to watch from home at https://cpspotsdam.org.
For more information about the production, you can visit https://www.potsdam.edu/news/theatreanddancelaramieprojecttenyearslater.
I know that you don’t know Maddie yet, but it’s a wonderful gift to be able to support our local college students, and especially so, if they desire to be part of our church family.
Friends, in one more week we will be coming back together again for worship in the sanctuary and I can’t wait to see your smiling faces! I hope that amidst the joy of seeing old friends, we will also remember to offer a warm welcome to anyone who might be coming to worship with us for the first time. It’s a scary thing to walk into a church you’ve never been to before, but friendly people can make all the difference. Hospitality holds a special place in the kingdom of God, and it’s something I hope we can put into practice in the coming weeks and months.
In an exciting account in the book of Acts, a shipwreck is written about. The apostle Paul was being taken to Rome via a ship, to stand trial there as a prisoner. But a huge storm hit the ship and the centurion in charge of the prisoners told everyone to jump overboard and swim for their lives. Paul and a few others survive the jump and are able to swim to the shore of a nearby island. None of them know where they are, or what will happen to them next, but they encounter the kindly effects of hospitality. Acts 28:2 writes:
“The islanders showed us unusual kindness. They built a fire and welcomed us all because it was raining and cold.”
Whether they are shipwrecked prisoners, college students, or young mothers, may we choose to be the sort of church that welcomes strangers in from the rain and the cold, and offers them “unusual kindness.”
The countdown to May 2 continues!