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Wednesday Words, July 17, 2019

Pr. Cathy Daharsh

Mary and Martha. What if they worked as a team? 

Teamwork is in the news this week. The US Women’s Soccer team was amazing at the World Cup. Two years in a row they won the title. Winning two years in a row is not done with only skill, but commitment to every player on the team. Everyone was important. Everyone contributed. Everyone put the good of the team ahead of themselves and their personal glory. 

Sandra Bullock at the 2019 ESPY awards said this about teamwork, "A great team doesn't just unify its players, it unifies its staff, its fans, and all those who appreciate sport at its best. A great team builds culture and connection well beyond its run, and tonight we salute a collection of teams who have done just that." The US Women's Soccer team won the 2019 ESPY best team award . 

What if we looked at Mary and Martha as a team? I believe that Mary and Martha’s skill set and their personality is more than the quick description we hear in the story about them. But, Jesus makes a point about following him and Mary’s attention to hearing his teachings was what was needed in that moment. As with a team, you need all different kinds of players, certain skills and leadership to contribute to the  success of the team. I think that’s true when it comes to carrying for creation. We need a team of people who are ready to roll up their sleeves to get the job done, but we also need people who have patience to sit, listen and learn in order to act and speak on behalf of the earth.

We continue our theme of Communing with Creation and this week I have a little challenge for you.  Below is a list of 52 ways to care for creation from the Creation Justice Ministries blog. After reading the list of  ways to care for creation, I would like to challenge you to try at least one new way to care for creation. God has given us this beautiful earth. Let’s take time to enjoy it, care for it, and maintain it. Amen. 

Creation Justice Ministries (www.creationjustice.org/blog/52-ways-to-care-for-creation)

1. Eat Those Leftovers! 

2. Research How Your Community Regulates Waste 

3: Wash Your Laundry in Cold Water

4. Do Your Dishes Less Often

5. Cut Your Shower Time by Five Minutes

6. Wait Until the Laundry Basket is Full to Wash

7. Air Dry Your Laundry

8. Change Light Bulbs to Eco-Friendly Types

9: Track Your Waste for a Week

10. Commit to Low or No Waste Grocery Shopping

11. Turn Off the Lights When Not in Use

12. Donate to a Faith-Based Organization that Promotes Creation Care

13. Observe World Water Day

14. Observe Earth Hour 

15. Start a Neighborhood Garden

16. Eat a Plant Based Meal or Meals with Ingredients from Local Farms

17. Observe Earth Day 

18. Explore Local Environmental Initiatives You Can Get Involved In

19. Use Green Cleaning Products

20. Buy a Plant for Your House 

21: Unplug Sockets From the Wall or Power Strip

22. Make Sure Electronics and Appliances are Off When They Are Not in Use.

23. Bring a Reusable Container for Leftovers to the Restaurant

24. Watch a Documentary on Creation Care

25. Use the Battery Saver Function on Your Phone and Computer

26. Contact Your Representative

27. Reuse. You Don't Have to Use an Item Just Once Right? 

28. Make Your Next Shopping Trip Green

29. Pick Up the Trash in Your Community

30. Read a Book Concerning Creation Care

31. Use Green Transportation 

32. Calculate Your Water Footprint

33. Use Gray Water

34. Spend Time Outside This Week

35. Check Your Car's Tire Pressure

36. Advocate for Environmental Justice

37. Try Composting at Home

38. Invest in Green Arts and Crafts Supplies

39. Track Your Use of Paper and Disposable Products 

40. Looking for a New Book? Check Out Your Local Library.

41. Calculate Your Carbon Footprint

42. Learn About the Indigenous People Who Used to Live On Your Land 

43. Evaluate Coffee Hour at Your Church or Place of Employment

44. Try Cooking One-Pot Meals 

45. Get Out and Vote

46. Invest in a Reusable Water Bottle

47. Work With Your Local Government to Sponsor a Recycling Event for Electronics 

        or Hazardous Waste

48. #OptOutdoors this Black Friday 

49. Check Cabinets for Expired Medicine and Properly Dispose of Them

50. Opt to Wrap Your Gifts in a Reusable Bag Instead of Wrapping Paper

51. Plan a Green Potluck

52. Make Your New Year Resolutions Green  

Wednesday Words, July 10, 2019

Wednesday Words – Caring for Creation

July 10, 2019

Pastor Paul Cannon

Communion with Creation

On the Fourth of July, I found myself enjoying the spectacle of the fireworks with a small group of people gathered near me. Isaac had abandoned me, because although he was loving the fireworks display, he had found a friend to play with, making me yesterday’s news (does he already know how uncool I am?).

During all this, I turned to my phone, wanting to inform Kirstin (who was at home with Elin) that our four-year-old son is already acting like a teenager, when I realized that I was missing out on the awesome show while gluing myself into the phone. Putting it away in my pocket, I looked up, and realized half the people there were also on their phones, missing out on the dazzling explosions lighting up a perfect night sky.

That’s the life of a busy suburbanite. So distracted that we don’t pause to look.

That’s why starting on Sunday, we’ll be giving you a challenge: stop to watch the show going on all around you. Only this time, it’s not fireworks, it’s God’s creation.

Communion with Creation will be our summer theme as we head into the time of year where many of you will be traveling to various places across the country and the globe, taking in the sights that God has afforded each one of us.

You’ll be busy. We get it! There are places to go and people to see. BUT, we will be asking you to stop and take time to smell the roses (maybe metaphorically … maybe literally!). We want you to notice God’s incredible creation, maybe take a picture of it (according to the Communion with Creation Calendar) and post it to our Facebook page.

Yes, we’re busy, but we are never too busy to notice what God has done for us.

Take the challenge and see the graces that are all around us!

Communion with Creation Calendar

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Click here for the Communion with Creation Calendar
https://unite-production.s3.amazonaws.com/tenants/bethanylutheranchurch/attachments/200770/communion_with_creation_calendar.pdf

Wednesday Words, July 3, 2019

Wednesday Words

July 7, 2019

Pastor Paul Cannon

Star Spangled Cosmic Christmas

The book of Ecclesiastes says, “There is nothing new under the sun” (1:9) but this upcoming Sunday at Bethany Lutheran Church might challenge that idea. We’re calling it the Star Spangled Cosmic Christmas. If that’s not new, I don’t know what is.

What is the Star Spangled Cosmic Christmas exactly? It’s what you get when on one Sunday morning you cross the Fourth of July, with Christmas in July, with Mission to Mars themed Vacation Bible School. It sounds like the start of a ‘dad joke’ (what do you get when you cross …) but it is, in fact, what is going on this Sunday.

We’ll be celebrating Independence Day with a special Fourth of July Hymn-sing before the service. Then you’ll be treated to our Christmas in July Service in worship, to be followed by fellowship in our Luther Hall Space Command Center, set up for Vacation Bible School. I’m exhausted thinking about it.

Good thing Jesus doesn’t shy away from the chaos of our lives.

When the staff saw all these things converging together on our master calendar, we didn’t shy away either. We embraced it. We made a whole new Sunday out of it because, why not? Life is sometimes that way; when it comes at you from a million different angles, you just roll with it and hope for the best.

Looking ahead to Sunday’s Christmas story, I couldn’t help but notice that Jesus’ birth was a bit of a hot mess itself. Picture it from the perspective of Mary and Joseph. To have the birth of your child come when you’re out of town, traveling for a government census, when there was no room for them in the inn, and to finally have the baby in a manger … that’s the convergence of chaos that Jesus was born into.

God’s work often happens that way. If it’s true that we hear God’s voice in sound of sheer silence (1 Kings 19:12), it’s not because God chooses not to speak in midst of chaos – it’s that he’s working too hard to talk! God is working to bring joy, love and new life in the crazy busyness of life.

Something wonderful is about to happen! Come see what it is on this Star Spangled Cosmic Christmas!

Wednesday Words, June 26, 2019

Wednesday Words - Homeless

June 26, 2019

Pastor Paul Cannon

Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests;

but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.

- Luke 9:58

We take a lot of pride in our home. Currently at the Cannon house, we have large hole in our backyard for our soon-to-be paver patio, which in its current condition is acting more as a seven-inch-deep swimming hole (can we get a couple days of sunshine God!?!).

Even when we don’t have a big project, there’s always something to do; a minor repair that needs to be tinkered with or a new piece of furniture that’s going in. We have cozy beds to sleep on, and a dry basement (that’s a whole other story) for the kids to play. There’s even a spacious fenced-in back yard for our dog Pluto to run laps in.

We love our cozy little home, and it would be hard to give it up. It’s part of the reason Jesus’ words are a bit of a gut-punch, “the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” This is the text that reminds us: Jesus was homeless.

Jesus was literally homeless – neither was he born, nor did he live, nor did he die in his own home. The only story we have of him as youth, was one he spent running away from home (or at least failing to return to it!).

It should come as no surprise to anyone that Jesus suggests in this passage that if you want to follow him, you’ll have to give up your home; discipleship comes at a cost.

One would-be follower says he wants to follow Jesus, but that he needs to bury his dad first. Jesus tells him “Let the dead bury their own dead.” Another wants to say farewell to those in his home, and Jesus tells him, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” Harsh!

When you choose to follow Jesus there is no turning back; there are no half-measures. To follow Jesus means that we give up everything!

I wonder what this means for us today. Does it mean I have to give up my paver patio? My fenced-in backyard? My soft cozy bed that I sleep on every night? I think the answer is yes. With prayerful discernment we need to be open to however God calls us to use our resources (time, talents or treasures) and have the faith to not look back.

It’s the least we can do for our homeless king.

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