Author Archives: lyonsvillechurch

July & August Worship Schedule

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.

 

 

June 25 Sermon

 

June 25, 2017

1 Kings 17: 8-24 (C0mmon English Bible)

Through the summer we are cycling through three patterns: a psalm and using the labyrinth; a new testament story about call and discernment; and the stories of the prophet Elijah. This morning is the first of those Elijah stories, so I thought it would be helpful to add some background information as we hear this story.

Elijah lived about a hundred years after King David. By that time, David’s kingdom had split into two nations: Judah in the south and Israel in the North. Elijah lives in the northern kingdom during the time of King Ahab. Ahab was married to Jezebel, who is a Phoenician, not an Israelite. She worships the Phoenician gods. The main god is Baal, a god of thunder and lightning and thus also rain Baal’s followers claim that he and his bride credit make the crops grow. This religion is called Baalism.

Jezebel is using her political power to increase Baalism in the nation of Israel, even suggesting the two religions can be blended together. The prophet Elijah preaches against this blending and calls Baal a false God. But then King Ahab builds a temple to Baal for his wife, and she brings an entourage of Baal’s priests and prophets into the capital city of Israel. King Ahab worships at both the temple to Israel’s God and the temple of Baal.

And so Elijah accuses Ahab of being a sinful king, abandoning the promises of Israel’s God. Elijah was particularly angry that King Ahab would encourage faithlessness against God in order to ensure political success. And Elijah announces that as long as this unfaithfulness continues, there will be no rain or dew in the country. A terrible drought overtakes the land. With the drought comes famine. Here begins our story.

The Lord’s word came to Elijah:

Get up and go to Zarephath near Sidon and stay there.

I have ordered a widow there to take care of you.

10 Elijah left and went to Zarephath.

As he came to the town gate, he saw a widow collecting sticks.

He called out to her, “Please get a little water for me in this cup so I can drink.”

Consider the foolishness of the prophet. During a drought, he asks for water. He asks this from a widow, one of the poorest people in society. He asks this outside a city known for its temple to Baal.

11 She went to get some water. Continue reading

June 18 Sermon

Wandering, Seeking, Distracted Discovery
A reflection by Rev. Dr. Thom Bower
Based on Matthew 9:9-12
For June 18 2017, Father’s Day

When’s the last time you ate with someone sinful? I don’t mean someone who is rude or doesn’t know their manners. I mean someone whose lifestyle you found deplorable, destructive, lacking any sense of holiness or rightness.

I’ll confess, it has been awhile for me. There was a time when I knew people whom our culture has identified as sinful: a number of prostitutes (male and female), drug dealers, gun smugglers. I’ve also known lawyers indicted for unethical – and in my assessment amoral – actions: CEO’s guilty of embezzlement, insider stock trading, and industrial spying. I’ve known a few international spies, and some rather unsavory military officers who did some inhumane acts in name of national security.

I knew these folks well enough to know what diners to meet them at 3:00 in the morning because they needed to talk; I knew what booth they preferred and why, how they would take their coffee and what kind of pie or Danish they would have with the coffee.

“Why me?” I would sometimes ask. Why did they feel it was OK to call me for coffee at 3 AM? Why did they trust me with their sorrows, their worries, their anxieties? The congregations I served thought it commendable that I would be willing to take mid-morning phone calls to go to the hospital for an emergency or from troubled teenagers who were guilt-stricken or consumed by fear – but these others? Drunken, doped up, despicable characters – why was I willing to give my time to them? Continue reading

June 11 Sermon

 

Wandering, Seeking, Distracted Discovery
A reflection by Rev. Dr. Thom Bower
Based on Psalm 119:97-105
For June 11, 2017

Walking the labyrinth is a prayer unto itself. The action needs no words; it is the intentionality of the walker that makes this a prayer. Now, I am going to talk about walking and walkers, but it is really moving through the labyrinth. Just like the psalm speaks of God’s word being a path, walking is intended as a metaphor. Because to walk a labyrinth one does not need to have such an elegantly painted floor: may use paper with a printed labyrinth and move through it with your finger. In fact, I encourage you during this reflection to use the finger labyrinth to trace the path. Or, if you’d like to, you may get up and walk the labyrinth with me.

There’s a Catholic sensibility of the mass being the mass – the act itself is complete. Walking a Labyrinth has three main parts: entering the labyrinth, arriving at the center, and then exiting the labyrinth. These three parts make a complete prayer. You don’t have to say anything, ask anything, or even focus on anything other than walking. The activity of moving through the labyrinth is the prayer.

Now, you can use the labyrinth to focus your prayers. A lot of people use it to become attentive, to be aware of the present moment without distraction. I actually admire those people, because whenever I walk the labyrinth I find my thoughts drifting away on something else. So I usually start with a particular prayer – say for understanding a situation – and ask God to use my meandering through the labyrinth to be a time of insight. I begin by focusing on what I know of that situation, and when I find myself distracted I ask God what insight the distraction brings to the situation at hand. Continue reading