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6.20.20

2020-06-20T08:55:53-05:00

Good Saturday morning. The first day of summer! The longest daylight of the year! One of my most favorite days. In the Northern Hemisphere, the June solstice (aka summer solstice) occurs when the Sun reaches its highest and northernmost points in the sky. This event marks the start of summer in the northern half of the globe. (In the Southern Hemisphere, it’s the opposite: the June solstice marks the start of winter, when the Sun is at its lowest point in the sky.)

Daylight is from 5: 24 am- 9:05 pm today! International Falls, being farther north, gets 28 more minutes of daylight today than we do in St. Francis.

 

“Open wide the windows of our spirits and fill us full of light; open wide the door of our hearts that we may receive and entertain thee with all the powers of our adoration.” Christina Rossetti

 

Here’s a beautiful Psalm for today.

Psalm 65

Thanksgiving for Earth’s Bounty

To the leader. A Psalm of David. A Song.

Praise is due to you,
    O God, in Zion;
and to you shall vows be performed,
    O you who answer prayer!
To you all flesh shall come.
When deeds of iniquity overwhelm us,
    you forgive our transgressions.
Happy are those whom you choose and bring near
    to live in your courts.
We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house,
    your holy temple.

By awesome deeds you answer us with deliverance,
    O God of our salvation;
you are the hope of all the ends of the earth
    and of the farthest seas.
By your strength you established the mountains;
    you are girded with might.
You silence the roaring of the seas,
    the roaring of their waves,
    the tumult of the peoples.
Those who live at earth’s farthest bounds are awed by your signs;
you make the gateways of the morning and the evening shout for joy.

You visit the earth and water it,
    you greatly enrich it;
the river of God is full of water;
    you provide the people with grain,
    for so you have prepared it.
10 You water its furrows abundantly,
    settling its ridges,
softening it with showers,
    and blessing its growth.
11 You crown the year with your bounty;
    your wagon tracks overflow with richness.
12 The pastures of the wilderness overflow,
    the hills gird themselves with joy,
13 the meadows clothe themselves with flocks,
    the valleys deck themselves with grain,
    they shout and sing together for joy.

 

Blessings on your day,

Pastor Sue

6.20.202020-06-20T08:55:53-05:00

6.19.20 Friday

2020-06-19T07:50:26-05:00
Good Friday morning. Thank the Lord for the rain yesterday. We really needed it.

Did you know today is celebrated as Juneteenth?


Juneteenth (a portmanteau of June and nineteenth; also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, and Liberation Day) is an unofficial American holiday and an official Texas state holiday, celebrated annually on the 19th of June in the United States to commemorate Union army general Gordon Granger announcing federal orders in the city of Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865, proclaiming that all slaves in Texas were now free. Although the Emancipation Proclamation had formally freed them almost two and a half years earlier and the American Civil War had largely ended with the defeat of the Confederate States in April, Texas was the most remote of the slave states, with a low presence of Union troops, so enforcement of the proclamation had been slow and inconsistent. A common misconception is that this day marks the end of slavery in the United States.


Maya Angelou – 1928-2014


You may write me down in history

With your bitter, twisted lies,

You may trod me in the very dirt

But still, like dust, I’ll rise.


Does my sassiness upset you?

Why are you beset with gloom?

’Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells

Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,

With the certainty of tides,

Just like hopes springing high,

Still I’ll rise.


Did you want to see me broken?

Bowed head and lowered eyes?

Shoulders falling down like teardrops,

Weakened by my soulful cries?


Does my haughtiness offend you?

Don’t you take it awful hard

’Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines

Diggin’ in my own backyard.


You may shoot me with your words,

You may cut me with your eyes,

You may kill me with your hatefulness,

But still, like air, I’ll rise.


Does my sexiness upset you?

Does it come as a surprise

That I dance like I’ve got diamonds

At the meeting of my thighs?


Out of the huts of history’s shame

I rise

Up from a past that’s rooted in pain

I rise

I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,

Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.


Leaving behind nights of terror and fear

I rise

Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear

I rise

Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,

I am the dream and the hope of the slave.

I rise

I rise

I rise.


Blessings on your day,

Pastor Sue

6.19.20 Friday2020-06-19T07:50:26-05:00

6.18.20 Thursday

2020-06-18T09:16:47-05:00
Good Thursday morning. Are you ready for some rain? Looks like it is headed our way. If you have to stay inside tonight due to the rain, how about building up your spiritual house with a time of reading and prayer? Taste and see that the Lord is good. Your spiritual house has a cornerstone that is our precious Jesus Christ!


1 Peter 2:1-8 (NRSV)


The Living Stone and a Chosen People

2 Rid yourselves, therefore, of all malice, and all guile, insincerity, envy, and all slander. 2 Like newborn infants, long for the pure, spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow into salvation— 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.


4 Come to him, a living stone, though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God’s sight, and 5 like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 For it stands in scripture:


“See, I am laying in Zion a stone,

a cornerstone chosen and precious;

and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”

7 To you then who believe, he is precious; but for those who do not believe,


“The stone that the builders rejected

has become the very head of the corner,”

8 and


“A stone that makes them stumble,

and a rock that makes them fall.”

They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.


Peter isn’t just talking about your own spiritual house here although that is very important. He is talking to us as a church, a community of faith. It is important for us to keep constructing our spiritual house with each of us as a living stone. I love that imagery.


Blessings on your day,

Pastor Sue


6.18.20 Thursday2020-06-18T09:16:47-05:00

6.17.20 Wednesday

2020-06-17T10:06:06-05:00
Good Wednesday morning. I am so happy; I have my granddaughter, Bea with me for a couple of days. She is so sweet and precious; she fills my heart up with gladness. I just read a report in the Washington Post this morning that said Americans are the least happy they have been in 50 years. There are so many difficult issues people are dealing with today and the unknowns are getting to people.


Scripture tells us to trust in God, that God will provide, that God will not let your foot be moved lest you strike it against a stone, that God is with us even to the end of the age. That brings me great comfort in spite of the stuff the world throws at me. I am happy because I put my trust in the Lord, not in the world. The verses from 1 Peter are perfect for today.


1 Peter 1:17-25 (NRSV)


17 If you invoke as Father the one who judges all people impartially according to their deeds, live in reverent fear during the time of your exile. 18 You know that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your ancestors, not with perishable things like silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish. 20 He was destined before the foundation of the world, but was revealed at the end of the ages for your sake. 21 Through him you have come to trust in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are set on God.


22 Now that you have purified your souls by your obedience to the truth so that you have genuine mutual love, love one another deeply from the heart. 23 You have been born anew, not of perishable but of imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God. 24 For


“All flesh is like grass

and all its glory like the flower of grass.

The grass withers,

and the flower falls,

25 but the word of the Lord endures forever.”

That word is the good news that was announced to you.


Two more imperatives: live in reverent fear and love one another deeply. Peter loves to use the word, “precious” as in the “precious” blood of Christ. It is through this “precious” blood of the unblemished lamb that we can obtain our strength and our happiness, not from the blemished world. I pray that you are among the happy Americans!


Blessings on your day,

Pastor Sue

6.17.20 Wednesday2020-06-17T10:06:06-05:00

6.16.20 Tuesday

2020-06-16T08:19:40-05:00
Good Tuesday morning. Are you ready for the heat wave? Bring it on; I blew up my little pool! They are turning off the water on my block this morning, so like a good girl scout, I have filled every receptacle in preparation.


“Prepare your minds for action!” That’s what Peter wrote in 1:13.



1 Peter 1:10-16 (NRSV)


10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that was to be yours made careful search and inquiry, 11 inquiring about the person or time that the Spirit of Christ within them indicated when it testified in advance to the sufferings destined for Christ and the subsequent glory. 12 It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in regard to the things that have now been announced to you through those who brought you good news by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things into which angels long to look!


A Call to Holy Living

13 Therefore prepare your minds for action; discipline yourselves; set all your hope on the grace that Jesus Christ will bring you when he is revealed. 14 Like obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires that you formerly had in ignorance. 15 Instead, as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in all your conduct; 16 for it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”


Remember when I talked about imperative verbs? Peter uses these Greek imperatives as well. Prepare, discipline, set, do not be conformed, be holy. Set your life apart from the world to conform to Christ like behavior, not worldly behavior. Have you ever thought about what it is like to “be holy”? You don’t have to be an ordained minister to be holy.


It means to live your life set apart for service to God in the midst of the world. That is not easy. In this time of pandemic and civil unrest, how could you set your life apart for service to God in the midst of the world? “Prepare your minds for action!”


Blessings on your day,

Pastor Sue

6.16.20 Tuesday2020-06-16T08:19:40-05:00

6.15.20 Monday

2020-06-15T08:24:14-05:00
Good Monday morning. 1/2 of June gone in a flash! I really enjoyed our parking lot worship services once again. The beautiful sun was shining upon us. That darn wind, however, just won’t quit! Next time, I’m going to write the service on rock tablets so they won’t blow away!


The book after James is the 1st Letter of Peter. Let’s dive in. Peter wrote this letter to churches in five provinces of Asia Minor near the end of his life, possibly around 90 CE or AD. He was in Rome at the time accompanied by Silvanus, who is called Silas in Acts and Mark. There are theories that due to the sophisticated language and chronological emphasis on the cosmic Christ may have meant someone else had a hand in writing this. Peter was a Galilean fisherman after all.


First Peter is a letter offering encouragement and instruction to Christians who are attempting to live faithfully in a time of verbal attacks.


1 Peter 1:3-9 (NRSV)


A Living Hope

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who are being protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you rejoice, even if now for a little while you have had to suffer various trials, 7 so that the genuineness of your faith—being more precious than gold that, though perishable, is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Although you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.


This is the customary thanksgiving found in the early letters. It is an expression of praise and presents hope as a strategy to cope with persecution for being identified as a Christ follower. Peter wrote, “salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” We continue to move forward in this life toward our eternal future with the God of salvation.


As you go about your day and your week, give thanks to our God who protects us. Give your faith life a booster shot by spending some time with scripture and with prayer.


Blessings on your day,

Pastor Sue

6.15.20 Monday2020-06-15T08:24:14-05:00

Country Spire – June 2020

2020-06-13T05:58:46-05:00
Country Spire – June 20202020-06-13T05:58:46-05:00

6.12.20

2020-06-12T07:17:04-05:00
Good Friday morning. Friday again already?!! Time is flying. I hope it is a wonderful day for you all. I like the temperature, but it looks like the humidity is creeping up again.


I wanted to share with you that I got to visit Dale Lundeen in person with Karen for their 69th wedding anniversary. The rest of the family stood outside the window and sang songs to him and held up signs of love. We all shared communion in a very holy moment in time. There was a lot of laughter and teasing, but also lots of tears. The book of their life together is coming to a close, but their faith is strong and they believe in the promise of the resurrection. Dale is on Hospice and is ready to “go home.” He still has a twinkle in his eyes and he calls each of his kids, grands, and greats by name. He looked over their wedding album and knew everyone in the pictures. Such a sweet man. When I got out into the parking lot, I thanked God for giving me the privilege of serving Him in the wonderful way. God is good all the time! All the time, God is good. Or as Dale would say, “more gooder!”


Today, I will prepare a funeral service for Krystal Magnuson who died unexpectedly at 37 years old. And, perhaps you saw the news of the young man who died Monday in a crash on the Lowry bridge. His name was David Olson, age 36, who leaves behind two children 10 & 5. His wife is a relative of my nephew. She kissed him goodbye in the morning before he left for work. I share these things to remind you how precious life is; we never know if we will live to see old age or not. So….live your life; enjoy your life; and please, please tell your partner, your kids and your friends how much they mean to you and how much you love them. Do it!


I love you!

Blessings on your day,

Pastor Sue

6.12.202020-06-12T07:17:04-05:00

6.11.20 Thursday

2020-06-11T05:46:35-05:00
Good Thursday morning. I am so happy the wind finally calmed down. We had two hanging planters come down. I love the cool morning air and the sunrise this morning.


As we close out the book of James, let us remember our sending song from Sunday. “Bind us together, Lord.” We are one body in Christ, but we are a family as a church. We can lift each other up and pray for each other.


James 5:13-20 (NRSV)


The Prayer of Faith

13 Are any among you suffering? They should pray. Are any cheerful? They should sing songs of praise. 14 Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 The prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise them up; and anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective. 17 Elijah was a human being like us, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. 18 Then he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain and the earth yielded its harvest.


19 My brothers and sisters, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and is brought back by another, 20 you should know that whoever brings back a sinner from wandering will save the sinner’s soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.


Have you told anyone about your church? Have you invited anyone to watch our services online? Have you written a note of encouragement to someone who might be slipping away from the church?


James wrote, “The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective.” I am praying for our church and for you.


Blessings on your day,

Pastor Sue

6.11.20 Thursday2020-06-11T05:46:35-05:00

6.10.20 Wednesday

2020-06-10T07:44:51-05:00
Good Wednesday morning. I pray that allis well with you and your family. The Gov. is opening up more of the state today. Time will tell of that wisdom! Let’s hope it is the right decision and that we will soon be worshipping together inside our sanctuary.


Tonight’s worship service at 6 is recorded, but I think you will enjoy it. Grab the kids and your flip flops for a story about a coconut named Bob!


James moves from condemning the rich to a section on patience.

James 5:7-12 (NRSV)


7 Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. 8 You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. 9 Beloved, do not grumble against one another, so that you may not be judged. See, the Judge is standing at the doors! 10 As an example of suffering and patience, beloved, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 Indeed we call blessed those who showed endurance. You have heard of the endurance of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.


12 Above all, my beloved, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “Yes” be yes and your “No” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.


James is writing about patience in suffering, but there is a lot to be said about patience in all circumstances. Farmers have to have a lot of patience as they wait for the fruits of their labors. The early disciples were waiting for Jesus to return in their lifetime. We are still waiting 2000 years later. That’s patience!


Verse 12 has a parallel to Matthew 5: 33-37 who wrote about oaths in ancient times (written about in Numbers, Deuteronomy and Leviticus) expressing the importance of speech ethics and moral integrity. Take that where you will, but I wish we had more of that in our world today.


Dear God, let the meditations of my mind and the words from my lips be acceptable to you. Amen.


Blessings on your day,

Pastor Sue

6.10.20 Wednesday2020-06-10T07:44:51-05:00