I was coming home late from work. As I put my stuff down, I heard the voices of my son and husband coming down the hallway, “Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” In unison, they were praying the Lord’s prayer to the God who loves them and loves us all. Having learned each part and what it means when my husband taught it, my son now prayed it boldly; the din of his voice way above his dad’s. This age-old prayer had become my son’s prayer too.
This prayer was given to us by Jesus, (Matthew 6:9-13). It has been prayed for generations, handed down, over and over again. I stood in the hallway and listened to my family pray the familiar prayer. It was the same prayer I had prayed just an hour before with another family who surrounded their loved one while he labored to take his last breaths on earth. As we prayed this familiar prayer over their dying loved one, his spirit calmed. I’ve seen it over and over again. When the familiar words of the prayer they have prayed all their lives fall over them, even if they can no longer speak themselves, they are home. For this is the prayer of their family (by blood or by baptism called “church). This is the prayer of their God. They belong to the faith of this prayer and it to them. When prayed, they are held in the arms of faith in the God who will not let them go. Not in life or in death. Long ago, this became their prayer too… and it stayed.
Once taught as a practice, the Lord’s prayer stays in heart and soul. Like the roots of a tree, the teachings of faith handed down provides an anchor in tough times and provide nourishment to give life. So do other deep practices of our faith, like the practices of communion, the words of the doxology, the practice of tithing and serving. They give our lives gravitas. Through the ongoing practices of faith handed down to us, we belong to the God of the universe, to the great cloud of witnesses that have gone before us and a faith that meets us now, whether at bedtime as a child or in our last breaths.
Two questions: 1) How are you intentionally practicing faith? 2) How are you intentionally passing it on?
We often think faith is for us; something to receive. We come to church or church ministries to get something. Yet, Jesus shows us faith is also something we share with others beyond our own families. There are so many ways to do this through the ministries of the church and in daily life. It is particularly true during VBS and VBS Sunday. Whether we have children involved in VBS or not, these are our children. We come to worship with them. To surround them in community. To pass on the faith. On July 17, we show up in worship to take part in building roots and wings in our children. It’s our God-given mission and calling.
Because the truth is this. We have been given God’s gifts to pass along. We pass along the gifts of scripture and faith practice which lead to the God who has been busy healing lives and communities for thousands of years. We catch a glimpse of this reality in the simplicity of sharing the Lord’s prayer. For this prayer has been guiding countless saints… a great cloud of witnesses… through the ages, on earth as in heaven.
Pastoral Care and More:
As many of you know, Jeremiah and I are going to walk a small portion of the El Camino De Santiago (The Way of St. James of the Bible.) While we are gone, Pastor Bob McMillen will be on call for pastoral needs such as hospitalization and death of a loved one. When he travels in August, pastoral needs will come to Pastor Jen. Teamwork! Administrative staff will be in the office doing their usual excellent ministry.
Community Life: What’s Happening at Old Bethel
Thank you to the many who have supplemented their giving in the Springing Forward campaign in order to help further the work of God through Old Bethel’s ministries. Your faithful act will help reach so many. We are at 78% of our goal, having currently received $21,825.
An SPRC appointed committee interviewed the final four candidates in our search for Director of Family Ministries. They are in prayer and discernment with the SPRC. Join us in prayer!
We continue to trust God as we prepare for the right buyer of the Prospect Campus property. Thanks to the Trustees, Dick Richwine and Don Sloo!
We are in the process of scheduling a Liturgist Celebration for August 6, from 9-11:30am. We will eat, celebrate what God is doing in worship and prepare together for the coming year.
August 9, staff, committee chairs and ushers will be invited to attend a training on emergency procedures. We want to be prepared and safe should an emergency arise.
July 17 is VBS Celebration Sunday! There will be ONE worship service at 10:30am, followed by an all-church lunch. Come join in the celebration and worship of Jesus, the Light of the World.
Interfaith Hospitality Network (IHN) guests will be with us the week of July 31-August 7. This is a vital ministry to families experiencing temporary homelessness. There are many ways to serve - set-up, prepare and/or host a meal, laundry, drive, homework help, engage in conversation. You may indicate your willingness to serve on Sunday’s Connection Card or by contacting Marge Ohl at 317-894-0862 or Ric Gasaway at 317-894-1431.
Summer Fare is August 25, 26 & 27. Volunteer sign-up begins July 10, in the lobby between worship services. There is a wide variety of jobs and positions, different schedules, inside and outside, and a need for willing workers with all types of talents… something for everyone! Get involved! Meet new people!! Have some fun!!! Contact Mike or Janet Tucker at 467-4669 or 894-3672 or email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. (I believe I’m already signed up to husk corn. Lots and lots of corn. Join in!)
Serving Christ Together,