Pastor’s Blog

Hurricane Prayers

Hurricane Irma, following close on Harvey, is making its devastating way across the Caribbean. We are keeping all who are in the path of Irma in our prayers; we continue to pray for those affected by Harvey, and for recovery efforts. Should you wish to help in some way, Lutheran Disaster Response is a good way: Here

Loving God,
in the communion of Christ, we are joined with the trials and sufferings of all. Be with those who endure the wind, rain, and flooding from Hurricane Irma.
Protect those in the path of danger.
Open the pathway of evacuations.
Help loved ones find one another in the chaos.
Provide assistance to those who need help.
Ease the fears of all and make your presence known in the stillness of your peace; Through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.

(Evangelical Lutheran Worship: Occasional Services for the Assembly, page 394)

We pray, too, for those affected by floods and mudslides in South Asia, for the those affected by wildfires in California, and all emergency and relief workers, for all suffering from natural disasters.

Last night, at our Peace Meditation, we prayed for the earth itself, holding the world in our hearts, before our mind’s eye, praying for healing, for recovery, for peace. We’ll continue Peace Prayers and Meditations through September, at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday evenings, should you wish to come and pray. We meet in the sanctuary.

 


 

Summer hours

Service for Sunday September 3 is at 9 am.

10:00 am service time begins September 10 and the last 10 am service is July 1, 2018.

July 8, 2018, 9 am service time begins.

Easter III

Easter arrived April 16th, and as usual, some of us went to Good Harbor Beach for the ecumenical Easter sunrise service. It was a balmy peaceful dawn, and none of us could remember a warmer one. We didn’t even need jackets. The peace of the morning stayed with us for our festive Eucharist at 10:00 a.m. It was a joyful beautiful celebration of our Lord’s resurrection, graced by beautiful music from our choir, organist, and guest musicians Michael Milnarik on tuba, and his wife, composer/pianist Sanae Kanda. The children decorated the altar with flowers, and hunted for eggs in the playground afterwards. For some reason, the lovely peace of Easter has stayed with us, and though so much tumult is around us, we can still breathe in the peace of God. We celebrated the second Sunday of Easter with a baptism, and we’ll celebrate another baptism tomorrow, on the third Sunday. Spring has finally come to Cape Ann with Eastertide; beauty is everywhere, life-giving, soul-refreshing, and spirit-renewing. Last Sunday, we heard about the Easter evening appearance of Jesus to the disciples on the first day of the Resurrection: he breathed peace upon them, and said “receive the Holy Spirit.” And he told the disciples: “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” (John 20:19-23). May the breath of the Holy Spirit renew you and fill you, as a freshening wind from the sea. Happy Easter! For Fifty Days!

Lent V–Questions from Working Preacher

Tomorrow is the Fifth Sunday in Lent. The Sunday scripture readings are powerful affirmations of life in the midst of death: the valley of dry bones in Ezekiel 37:1-14; a heart-searching song in Psalm 130; a consideration of life in the Spirit in Romans 8:6-8, and finally the raising of Lazarus in John 11:1-45. Working Preacher is one of the resources in our church used widely by pastors and congregations in their study of scripture and preparation for worship. It is a wonderful website full of commentaries, reflections, and questions for preaching, and for personal prayer and corporate worship. In our Catechism Study class on Wednesday evenings, we’ve been talking about ways of preparing for worship, for hearing the Word freshly. Working Preacher offers reflection questions for each week of Sunday scripture lessons. Here are the ones for this Sunday. We’ll be using them in worship this week.

Discussion Questions for Lent 5

Whose death have you wept over, grieved deeply? (John 11:1-45)

When was a time you felt God breathing new life into you? (Ezek 37:1-14)

What’s foremost on your mind when you pray these days? (Ps 130)

How do you perceive the presence, work, or impact of the Spirit in any given moment? (Rom 8:6-11)

#WorkingPreacher (http://www.workingpreacher.org/)

This week’s Reflect & Connect questions written by Rod Boriack.

Refugee Sunday Sermon–The Rev. Alice Erickson

On February 19th, 2017–we held a Refugee Sunday at St. Paul Lutheran Church. The Rev. Alice Erickson, a local pastor with long experience in refugee and immigration work preached a marvelous sermon. Here it is! Refugee Sunday Rev Erickson Sermon

During the weeks since, we have sponsored a collection of needed items for NuDay Syria, along with other faith communities on the North Shore. This was successful thanks to the tireless efforts of member Kimberlee Cloutier-Blazzard, and all the members and friends who donated.

For more information, see the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service for ideas about how to take action, and support the lives of refugees.

Epiphany and the Baptism of Our Lord

Sunrise glitters after a snowstorm; every crystal of snow reflects the light. The world shimmers with it. On Epiphany, we celebrate the Light of Christ, that shone for the Magi, that shines in Jesus’ baptism, that shines on us, brighter than a sunrise after a snowstorm. Come and celebrate the great “manifestation” of our Lord in Jesus Christ.

4th Sunday in Advent

We had our Christmas pageant at church this week. I have to say, it was wonderful to celebrate the Nativity, an act of joyful resistance and a declaration of hope into a world in need of goodness. The Nativity: Good news for everyone. A child is born. Hope emerges from a womb of darkness, blood and water, the inland sea of birth into the light; God loves life, so much, that he made a home with us.

Everyday, our hearts are broken open with compassion for the suffering we hear and see, here at home, and in other parts of the world. Yet, the times were fearsome when Jesus was born, too. And still, he came and lived among us. God chose life. We can, too. Remember that angels bring good news: don’t be afraid. The Lord is with you.

the-little-star

Advent Week 1

We were blessed, as we began the First Week of Advent, to receive three new members to St. Paul Lutheran Church. During the sermon, the three of them offered their reasons for wanting to be a part of this community. The homily addresses the theme of “arriving” in Advent. We give thanks for those who have “arrived” among us, through the mysterious workings of the Holy Spirit. You can hear the homily and our new members’ comments below.

Thanksgiving Prayers–Gratitude for Creation

The following Thanksgiving prayer is adapted from an Iona resource called Celtic Prayers from Iona. It seemed particularly beautiful for this year, because of its compassion for creation, and our stewardship of this island earth we call home.

O Sun behind all suns
I give you greeting this new day.
Let all Creation praise you,
Let the daylight
and the shadows praise you
Let the fertile earth
and the swelling sea praise you
Let the winds and the rain,
the lightning and the the thunder
praise you
Let all that breathes,
all beings, praise you
And I shall praise you.
O God of all life
I give you greeting this day.

This Psalm echoes the some of the praise psalms, especially Psalm 148, another wonderful Psalm for Thanksgiving. May both of them be prayers for a blessed Thanksgiving week and our on-going everyday practice of gratitude.

Psalm 148

Hallelujah! Praise the LORD from the heavens;
praise God in the heights.

Praise the LORD, all you angels;
sing praise, all you hosts of heaven.
Praise the LORD, sun and moon;
sing praise, all you shining stars.
Praise the LORD, heaven of heavens,
and you waters above the heavens.

Let them praise the name of the LORD,
who commanded, and they were created,
6who made them stand fast forever and ever,
giving them a law that shall not pass away.

Praise the LORD from the earth,
you sea monsters and all deeps;
fire and hail, snow and fog,
tempestuous wind, doing God’s will;
mountains and all hills,
fruit trees and all cedars;
wild beasts and all cattle,
creeping things and flying birds;

sovereigns of the earth and all peoples,
princes and all rulers of the world;
young men and maidens,
old and young together.
Let them praise the name of the LORD,
whose name only is exalted, whose splendor is over earth and heaven.
The LORD has raised up strength for the people and praise for all faithful servants,
the children of Israel, a people who are near the LORD. Hallelujah!

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