Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Surveys, Interviews and Service

So apparently I don't know how to do a schedule post on Blogger as I wrote this 2 weeks ago.  Oh well, here it is now. 

A few weeks ago my congregation went out into the community on a Sunday morning to survey neighbors about the community.  You can read a little bit more about that experience here.

Those surveys were not one off experiences.  This past Sunday was the first in a three part series of interviewing some of the people who went into the neighborhood.  Why are we doing interviews?  To share the stories and the excitement.  Everyone who went out to do surveys came back to worship with a sense of excitement and ideas on how we can do ministry in and with the community.  And those stories were shared on that day with the other pairs and our cheerleaders who stayed back at the church building to get out lunch together.

Some stories have been shared in personal conversations but most of the congregation who were not in worship on our Survey Sunday have not heard the stories.  They have not heard the excitement and ideas about ministry.  They have not heard about how God is calling us as a congregation to work more intentionally in the community to make Georgetown and beyond a better place to live.

It is important to share these stories because soon that excitement and some of those ideas are going to be put into action.

On November 10, as part of our anniversary celebration, we will be going out into the community during our worship time and beyond.  The goal is to provide 105 cumulative hours of community service in order to celebrate our 105 anniversary.  We will be collecting food for a food drive, planting spring bulbs at the community center, picking up trash and sprucing up Main Street, cleaning the yard at the community center and making and sending Thanksgiving cards to the town's homebound members.

God is calling this congregation to do ministry in this community.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Becoming Addicted

Friday I ran into one of my neighbors at the post office.  It has been awhile since we have talked but one of the first things she said to me is that she has seen me running lately and that she can tell that I'm "getting addicted."

I think my neighbor is right.

Last week I wasn't able to run outside on Monday or Tuesday and I was really looking forward to running on Wednesday afternoon.  But as they day went on, my afternoon became busy.  At 4:15 as I was talking to Bob on Skype before he went to bed, I realized that I just needed to run and hopefully he would still be awake to talk to in an hour when I returned (it would be after 11 at night for him).   After my run, I felt the stress melt away, I was ready for an evening of meetings.  Really the run is what I needed at the moment.

Then on Saturday I ran my longest run to date, 8.69 miles.  My goal was 8 miles and my GPS had stopped working for a bit so it wasn't giving me an accurate reading.  When I mapped my run afterwards I realized that I should have run longer and gotten 9.

For I have found the mythical runner's high.  The first few miles of that run were rough since I had eaten a lot the day before, but by mile 4, I was going strong.  By the time I finished my run I probably could have run further if I was motivated to reach a certain mileage.

My addiction is currently coming across as two short term goals:

  • Right now I'm very close to 300 miles since I started using MapMyRun in May, so I'm hoping to reach that milestone within the week
  • My long run goal for this week is at least 10 miles. 
I'm also thinking long-term.  Bob just ran his first half marathon this weekend, the Paris 20K (okay a 20K isn't a full 13.1 miles but close enough at 12.4) with a great time of 1:35:55.  I also know a few people who have run full or half marathons over the past few weekend.  If I'm running 10 miles on my own this weekend, well it is not a whole lot more to 13.1. 

But my addiction is not always good.  I'm headed to Philly Tuesday-Wednesday and I'm already thinking about how I can get a run in while there, even though the agenda is packed.  I know I'll get antsy if I go 48 hours without running now.  I might start tweaking out and showing other withdrawal symptoms: moodiness, agitation, insomnia.

This all leads me to ask: Is there a Runner's Anonymous? 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Nobody's Perfect

This was my newsletter article from the October Bethlehem Star, a few days late...oops.

An unintentional theme that came up in my preaching in September was that we are not perfect.  God did not make the world perfect; but the world was and is good, which means God is still in relationship with us.  Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob and Esau were not a perfect family – far from it – and we do not have perfect families, but we are part of God’s family.  Moses was not the perfect choice to go to Pharaoh and free the Israelites from Egypt, but God gave Moses the abilities that he needed to go to Pharaoh.  Likewise, we are not the perfect people to care for the poor, orphaned, widowed, sick, immigrant, refuge, homeless and hungry, but God will give us the abilities that we need in order to do God’s work and ministry in this world.

Often we expect ourselves and others to be perfect.  We get upset when our children do not get an A on a test or report card. We get frustrated when our order is messed up at the restaurant or coffee shop. We become irritated when we have to wait too long for a repair man or in line at a store.  We become annoyed at ourselves when our bodies do not function as well as they used to.

Isn’t it good to actually hear and know that we are not perfect? If we remember that we are not perfect we be gentler on ourselves and others when we fall short of perfection.  For, there are many reasons why we are not perfect. 

And those reasons we will hear about in October.  We will hear that the Israelites grumbled and complained in the wilderness. We too get so caught up in current discomforts that we grumble and complain, unable to see what God has done for us . God calls Samuel even though Samuel does not realize that it is God.  We too fail to hear God calling us.  God anointed David as king even though he was the youngest of Jesse’s sons and deemed so unworthy that he is left out in the field when Samuel was coming to their home.  Many others have deemed us unworthy and we sometimes buy into what others have said about us, thinking that we are not able to do good. Solomon builds a temple for God thinking he can contain God.  And we too think that we will find God only in church and fail to realize that God is everywhere. 

We are not a perfect people.  But we are a people claimed by God.  We have been given grace and forgiveness over and over when we fail to be perfect regardless of the reasons why we fail. Because no one is perfect, but we are children of God.