God only knows…

leaderEver lost something you were sure you wouldn’t find again – your keys, wallet, or sanity? In the book of Acts, after our reading for this Sunday from chapter 15, we lose Peter.

Peter’s kind of a big deal. By grace, Jesus and Peter’s bond is unbreakable. Peter becomes THE leader in the early church. He’s “the man” in God’s Jerusalem church plan. Then, in Acts 10, it’s through Peter that the introduction of Gentiles into the people of God is sanctioned by the Holy Spirit. But after Acts 15, he’s gone. In John 21, it is suggested Peter is martyred. But what happened to Peter between Acts 15 and his execution? God only knows. And in the book of Acts, that’s enough.

This is kind of a big deal for us. Although Acts tells us of great leaders in the early church, the point is made abundantly clear: the church IS NOT dependent upon any one person’s charismatic proclamation, administrative skills, or visionary prowess. The ONLY constant in the church is God’s presence in and through the Holy Spirit, in order that Christ’s ministry continues on the earth. That’s good news, indeed!

Sometimes, we feel that if we don’t save the world, no one else will. We assume that it’s only through our exhaustion that the Kingdom of God comes. Without our work on church projects, at the food pantry, and in our neighborhood, we imagine faith will fizzle out. Yet, while my work for God’s Kingdom is important and given to God’s glory, Acts reassures us that God’s kingdom comes because God wills it.

Faithful child of God, do what God has empowered you to do! Love, serve, and explore your relationship with God. Then, let it go. God only knows what’s next, hallelujah!

See you Sunday…

In Christ,
Pr. Rachael

I don’t get it.

Our family loves jokes. No one can survive in our family without a sense of humor! Sometimes, however, the jokes fall flat. Truth be told, they fall flat because I can be slow on the uptake. My exceedingly kind husband never makes me feel bad about missing a punch line. He always says, “It’s not a good joke if you have to explain it.” Yeah, it’s the joke’s fault. What a great guy!

I admit, sometimes I feel the same way when it comes to the Bible. I’ll read a passage and after much thought I’m left with those four awful words, “I don’t get it.” Of course, those words feel awful because I have this completely false notion that I’m supposed to get it all! When the initial sting subsides, the Holy Spirit wakes me up and reminds me: God gave us each other!

At St. Tim’s, we’ve started a six week immersion in Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians. When it comes to Paul, I just don’t get it all. His letters contain run-on sentences galore, assumed information about community events, and he’s forever coming across as having all the answers. So, here’s my question: What do YOU hear God saying through Paul in 2 Corinthians?

It’s an extraordinary gift, isn’t it, exploring God’s Word together? And, perhaps, that’s the biggest takeaway for me from Paul’s work. I’m reminded that admitting, “I don’t get it,” is not a failure of my faith but a triumph of the Holy Spirit at work in me! This beautiful gift of God’s Word is not given to us in a vacuum it’s given to us in COMMUNITY! So, help me out, people of God! What’s God’s word saying to you?

See you Sunday…

God’s Peace,
Pr. Rachael

Breathing Deeply

exhalesI’m not a runner. I accepted long ago that exercise is necessary and running is insanity. If you’re a runner, more power to you. I’ll wave at you from my yoga class.

Part of my problem was that I never learned how to breathe properly. I heard runners talk about keeping their muscles “oxygenated” but I couldn’t figure out how to do that. I’d end up huffing and puffing a couple of miles in. After a few months of that, I decided God was trying to tell me something: stop running!

Living in the Spirit can feel like that.

This Sunday is Pentecost and the Holy Spirit is where it’s at! In Acts 2 we hear the Spirit, experienced as violent wind or rushing breath, is blowing mightily. The disciples are “blown away” by her power. Their breath is taken up by the Spirit to produce a multi-lingual chorus praising God! Can you imagine how breathless they were after that extraordinary Spirit-experience? How many of them wondered if they could handle another Holy Spirit outburst?

Have you ever felt the Holy Spirit called you out and left you breathless? Perhaps you dared to breathe out your testimony at a Bible study, or you were moved to exhale a prayer out loud for a loved one, or your first worship experience after a divorce left you gasping for air. Have you ever wondered if you could endure another Spirit outburst, or thought, maybe God’s telling me this Holy Spirit thing isn’t for me?

Brothers and sisters in Christ, take heart! Pentecost Sunday is the day to remember that the Holy Spirit moves exactly when and where she is needed. She’s the source of your strength, courage and hope! So go ahead, breathe deeply, and let God’s love fly!

See you Sunday…

God’s Peace,
Pr. Rachael