A reflection by Rev. Dr. Thom Bower
For November 26 2017, Reign of Christ Sunday
Based on Matthew 25:31-46
This morning’s passage is titled by scholars as “Matthew’s little apocalypse.” In 15 verses Matthew describes the final day of judgment. The Messiah is seated on a throne surrounded by angels, assessing humanity. In describing a far-off future, the writer intended to instruct people about their current responsibilities. Listen for God’s still-speaking voice in these familiar words.
These are two of my grandchildren. Weston is 7, and Kinley is five. This is a picture of Weston from about 4 years ago. As they prepared for baptisms, they went as a family visiting a number of congregations of different sizes, worship styles, and even denominations. At the end of one of these visits, Mom and Dad asked Weston what he thought. “I really liked the music,” he said, “but why do all the words have to be about Jesus?”
Dear Weston, this sermon is going to be my attempt to explain why all the words in the songs are about Jesus. So imagine with me that 7 year-old Weston sitting in this sanctuary. For some reason he did not leave with the other children to go to Sunday School but instead has remained in worship.
We believe that God, the one who has made the entire universe, became human. That human being was Jesus, a man who lived a long, long time ago in place called Nazareth. And that is why the words of our songs are about Jesus. Continue reading
“Pilgrims and Watermelons”
“Thanks, nonconforming separatists!”
A reflection for Thanksgiving 2017
By Rev. Dr. Thom Bower
Based on 2 Corinthians 9:6-15
As my sister and I approached becoming teenagers, my mother sought to inject spirituality into our thanksgiving meal. Gathered at the table with the food ready to eat, she insisted that before eating we each name something for which we were thankful. She asked my father to start, thinking he would set a good example. “I am thankful,” he started “that there is no watermelon being served.”
One of my father’s life-long jokes was that every Lent he gave up watermelon. And just like Lent, my sister tried to remind him “there’s no watermelon this time of year.”
“Well, that gives me two things to be thankful for.”
With that example, my sister and I gave lackluster answers.
The next year my mother tried a different strategy. “Before we eat, I would like each of us to name something that happened in this past year for which you are thankful.” Thinking she had stated the question in a way that my father would comply, she again asked him to start. “I am thankful that in the past year I did not have to eat any watermelon.”
I assume there was some sort of conversation between my parents before the next Thanksgiving meal. Once again the table was set; once again my mother stated we were going to each identify something from the past year for which we were thankful; once he again she turned to my father and told him he would begin. What was new this year was a stern look in my mother’s eye. “I am thankful, oh so thankful,” started my dad, “ that in the past year Thom has grown up so much that now he can be first to name his thanks.”
I don’t recall my mother ever again presenting that particular Thanksgiving exercise. Continue reading
A reflection by Rev. Dr. Thom Bower
For November 19 2017, the 33rd Sunday of Ordinary Time and Thanksgiving Sunday
Based on Matthew 25:14-30 (CEB)
This passage is commonly known as the parable of the talents, an archaic translation naming this Greek coin. According to Wikipedia one talent equals almost 20 years military service. Five talents would then be pay for one hundred years’ service.
I will say this now, and I will say it again: Lyonsville, I am happy for you. Remember what angels say? “Do not be afraid! God is in charge! Things are about to change! This affects you! God is with you.”
Having a pastoral candidate – and hopefully calling a pastor –is why I came to be with you, and I knew when you did those things I would be departing you, because my ministry will have been concluded. I will miss you – but I want to remind you I’m not gone yet: we have 9 more worship services to share! I will miss you – but I rejoice with you that your Pastoral Search Team has identified a candidate whom they feel secure in presenting to you for your consideration to become your next pastor. There’s still a few steps you must complete before that occurs.
I will miss you Lyonsville – and I have to remind myself: I am not gone yet. We yet have journeys to take together, processing through Advent, sharing Christmas and Epiphany and the first weeks after Epiphany. I will need to say farewell to you in stages – because the more healthy our goodbyes then the healthier our new hellos can be.
I am not going to cease being your pastor until my final Sunday in January. I will continue to pray for you, pray with you, for your individual health, for your congregational health, for the transformation of Lyonsville as your heritage is celebrated and new ministries are explored. I will continue to laugh with you, mourn with you, cry with you, rejoice with you. And in truth: having Advent to share with you makes my concluding work so much sweeter. Continue reading
Worship is the heart of the church! Sunday morning worship services are at 10:00 a.m.
Church school for children preschool through grade 8 is offered during the worship time September 8 through May. Children begin in the sanctuary for worship for the first 15-20 minutes, and then are dismissed to their church school classes following the Children’s Time.
The first Sunday of the month is usually a Communion Sunday and Family Sunday, No church school classes are offered on those Sundays. Children are invited to participate in worship with their families. All may participate in Communion, including young children, if their parents believe they have some understanding of the special nature and meaning of Communion.