Showing posts from April, 2009

(Im)perfect Church

It is always the season of Easter when I find myself wandering aimlessly through the book of Acts.While it sounds like a good idea – learning about the early church while participating in the season of new life and resurrection here in the 21st century – it is messier than I remember.
Last week I preached on the lectionary texts that included Acts 4:32-35.This snippet of the early church seems to describe a hippie commune or socialism at its very best(?).Everyone is getting along and living in harmony.They share possessions and property, giving to all who are in need…for four verses.

Many church starts find that they are so busy with the big picture and becoming stable and steady that there isn’t time or energy to argue about the little things.Disagreements and division come later and the good ol’ days never last very long.By chapter five of Acts, drama erupts about land being sold.Peter is shouting about Satan and calling someone a liar before he drops dead and everyone watching silen…

Finally. The Rising.

Easter morning was a fabulous blur. I arrived early and collected my thoughts for worship. Then I flitted around during the pancake breakfast with no real duties, just connecting people and greeting family members in town for the weekend. People poured into the sanctuary, laughing and greeting each other. The pews were packed and I was overjoyed seeing so many people at worship. The banners streaked across the high ceiling, drawing our attention to the front window: a cross and a glorious Jesus promising to be with us always. I believe you.

When I got home, I noticed the tulips planted this fall poking through. It sounds small and cliche - new life, rebirth - but this is the first time I've ever seen something I've planted breaking through death and coming alive with green shoots. Spring is truly here and the signs are all around us. May your Easter season be filled with banners bright and green shoots - signs of hope everlasting!

That's True.

I had to focus on the Words of Institution as I looked out at their eager faces. Six of our young people were about to receive their First Communion. One pressed his palms against the pew ahead and hoisted himself high off the ground to see better. Others looked around for each other with big smiles or made a serious effort to follow along in the bulletin. For a moment, they were all looking at the bread and wine, hungry and thirsty. What a privilege to serve this meal.

During our First Communion class, I pulled out a beautiful quilt made by loving members of my internship church. Each patch tells a different story through soft fabric patterns – the garden, the grains of wheat, Jacob’s ladder, the Star of David – and when it covers me, I am draped in the story that saves.

We talked about how worship is much like my quilt. Everything we do helps to tell the story – our stained glass windows, our hymns, the scripture read, prayers spoken and peace shared. “If there were a center…