Pondering With the Pastor

September 2020

Pondering With the Pastor

     “Saints Around the Edges.”
     Opening Prayer: “God of generations, always you call women and men, young and old,
to witness to your Son and live out your truth. At all times, help us to choose the love of Christ,
the leading of the Holy Spirit and the wisdom of God. May we find, in the stories of believers
from long ago, insights to guide us as faithful followers of Jesus Christ today.” Amen.
      In reading Matthew Skinner’s “Acts: Catching Up With the Spirit,” we begin a new
session by inviting you to bring a photograph of a person you consider a “saint.”
     • Write a short paragraph of that person’s importance to you—by including:

            1) Who is the person in the picture?
            2) Why is the person important to you and/or your family?
            3) What makes them a “saint” to you?

     • Please encourage children and youth to participate!
     • Choose a Sunday to place the photo and paragraph in the narthex:

             -September 6
             -September 13
             -September 20
             -September 27

     • (With your permission, the “saint and description” will "inhabit" the sermons.)

 

     We will ponder these stories in September to gain a greater understanding of God’s work
by studying:


1) Stephen - who performed “great wonders and signs.” (Acts 6 and 7)
2) Tabitha (Dorcas) - who performed “good works and compassionate acts.” (Acts 9)
3) Barnabas - who “sees the gifts that someone else possesses and makes sure they get used.”
(Acts 4, 9, and 11)
4) Rhoda - who “shows herself more willing to discover the power of prayer than anyone
else.”
(Acts 12)
5) Priscilla and Aquila - who are “a power couple in the early church.” (Acts 18 and 24)

 

     Skinner writes, “The people who operate at the fringes of the plot [of Acts] may not
receive as much attention as Peter and Paul, but they are equally important to our understanding
of what the first generations of believers did to help build the new society that God’s Spirit was
creating among them.”
Plan to take action! (Send a photo and write a short paragraph.) How do we tell our story?
1)      Through data (membership number, names of pastors, stages of developing...real estate)?
2)      Through community engagement (programs offered, consequences of changes in the
          local economy)?
3)      Through agents of identity and mission (certain people and their work that inspired
          resilience or people who helped imagine new ways forward)?
All three have value. The third one is “most revealing” of the Holy Spirit’s work among and
through the church.

     Whom do we point to as the “saints” who have helped discern who God calls us to be?
     Whom do we point to as the “saints” who helped discern what God calls us to do?
Closing Prayer: “For all your saints, Eternal God—those “around the edges,” those “front and
center,” and those everywhere in between—we give you thanks. We praise you for being at work
through so many different people to build up the body of Christ on earth for a common purpose.
We humbly offer ourselves for your work, as well, that with them we may bear witness to your saving power and rejoice in your never-ending love.” Amen.

~Thoughts and quotes from “Acts: Catching Up With The Spirit” by Matthew L Skinner

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