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Wednesday Words – May 6, 2015

Shout to the Lord, all you lands.  (Psalm 98:4)

May is a month filled with shouts of joy. Joy for Mother’s on Mother’s Day. Many are joyful for their sons and daughters who are graduating. The graduates are joyful for having completed their course of study. Many graduates are joyful as they move on to their chosen field of endeavor and others as they continue their education.

Joy brings smiles, tears and shouts. Joy is demonstrated when we persevere and overcome tough obstacles. Joy is often accompanied with shouts, and songs, music and dancing. We see this most clearly as we celebrate at weddings.

Our Psalm today is a hymn of celebration. It shows the earth celebrating the Lord’s wonderful deeds and God’s great mercy. The Psalmist even points to the earth itself celebrating by rivers clapping their hands, hills ringing out with joy, and the sea roaring.

The joy of all the lands and the people in it is brought about by God’s constant love and faithfulness to us and the whole creation. The springing up of trees, plants and all growing things brings joy to our hearts. It is the very presence of God that brings joy to our lives.

St. Teresa of Avila put it this way, “Joy is not the absence of suffering, but the presence of God.” So, even in the midst of struggle and hardship we have joy (may be not happiness), but joy in God’s ever present love and faithfulness.

Pr. Len

 

Wednesday Words – April 29, 2015

All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the LORD. (Psalm 22:27)

I have been remembering my grandfather lately. It may be because this month would have been his birthday, or it may be because there has been so much in the news lately about the relationship between the police and various communities.

You see, my grandfather was a police officer. After serving in WWI as an MP he joined the St. Louis Police Department and served for 37 years until mandatory retirement at 65. He was a patrolman, a dispatcher, a driver for a sergeant, and ended his career as a detective in the Identification Bureau, the predecessor to CSI.

So, as we investigate Psalm 22 we remember that the last time we heard this Psalm was at the conclusion of the Maundy Thursday liturgy. The words, “My God, my God why have you forsaken me?” are the most memorable parts of the Psalm. Jesus was most likely quoting this Psalm from the cross. `Jesus and the Psalmist have a lot in common and at various times we share that question with them.

When we see conflict nationally and internationally; when we see natural disasters locally and globally leaving communities destroyed and untold numbers dead we may join with the Psalmist and Jesus.

However, when we move to the last part of the Psalm we hear the words of hope. The hope that comes to us as individuals and as communities – “All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the LORD.” What will be remembered? The Psalmist reminds us that “the poor shall eat and be satisfied…the dominion belongs to the LORD who rules over the nations.” 

In short God is in charge. We are so tempted to forget it. I’m sure that as Jesus went through the recitation of this Psalm on the cross he held on to this truth – that God is in charge. Our source of faith is the risen Christ who trusted God’s promises to reign over all the earth – in life and in death; in joy and sorrow; in times of anxiety and certainty – God is in Charge and his intention is what is best for us, because God is love.

Pr. Len

 

Wednesday Words – April 22, 2015

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not be in want. (Psalm 23:1)

The fourth Sunday of Easter is traditionally known as Good Shepherd Sunday. The psalm for this day is one of the most treasured and memorable of all Psalms.

Yet, in our 21st century world I think that we recoil at the idea of being sheep. We think of sheep as being dumb and easily led astray. We view ourselves as the opposite of sheep – smart, independent, self-willed. So, we also recoil at the idea that we need a shepherd.

In displaying those human traits of independence and self-will, my daughter when she was little (around 3) would often say, “I want, what I want, when I want it.” She certainly did not see herself being herded around. She was gong her own way; wanting to do her own thing.

We too do not want to be dependent – like sheep, and yet like sheep we do need a shepherd. This could be why this Psalm brings so much comfort in times of trial. When we walk through the valley of the shadow of death we fear no evil for the shepherd is there walking with us through those times of trouble.

The Lord is our shepherd even though we never get everything we want; we never want for anything needful. We rest in his care and we are refreshed by the waters of our baptism.

We have goodness and mercy for all of our lives and we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. We know the risen Lord’s voice and we trust in his leading. It is good to be a sheep with a shepherd like that to care for us and lead us as individuals and as a community of faith.

Pr. Len

 

 

Wednesday Words – April 15, 2015

The Lord does wonders for the faithful. (Psalm 4:3)

Our daughter has two pugs that spend some time with us. We had a pug a few years ago before he was put to sleep. I love to watch pugs sleep. One of our pugs, the younger one, has lots of energy and loves to jump and run and play. Our older pug is more laid back.

Yet, when they fall asleep they curl up by Cathy and the older pug snuggles in tight and the younger pug just crashes. But the younger pug almost always positions himself in such a way that part of his body must touch the body of the older pug.

Our Psalmist this week tells us that one of the wonders that God accomplishes in our lives is to bring us Shalom. This is not just peace but total contentment, relaxation, and rest in the arms of the Lord.

Jesus greets the disciples in this week’s gospel with the word, “Shalom,” or peace be with you. He in fact is asking them and us to relax, rest in his arms and experience wholeness and contentment.

There are times when all of us have trouble sleeping. We may be anxious or excited. The Psalmist says, “In peace I will lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me rest secure.”

As the people of God we are invited to place ourselves in Christ’s hands and be in close contact with him so that we might rest secure. This is the gift we receive as the Lord does wonders for the faithful.

 

Pr. Len

 

 

Welcome New Members - April 4, 2015

nullMark, Barb & Joseph Anderson 

5714 Wild Ash Lane 
Crystal Lake, IL 60012 

barbie2216@aol.com 
815-459-8669 

Mark and Barb have been Crystal Lake residents for 15 years. Joseph is in the 7th grade at Hannah Beardsley Middle School.

 

nullWayne & Karen Boyles 

410 Crest Drive 
Cary, IL 60013 

khboyles@aol.com 
847-639-1860 

Wayne is originally from Southern Indiana.  Karen was an Army brat whose family settled in the Chicago area when she was 10. They have 1 daughter living in Plainfield, IL. Wayne and Karen have lived in Cary for 14 years. 

 

nullJoshua & Michelle, 
Jonathan, Rylie, Rebeckeh & Jazelle Halpert 

6815 Meadow Drive 
Crystal Lake, IL 60012 

joshhlprt@gmail.com 
630-205-8630 

 

 

Tony Jung 

176 Hilltop Drive null
Lake in the Hills, IL 60156 

jung.tony@chi.sysco.com 
847-207-5478 

Tony loves to run, spend time with his kids and help others. He’s been with his employer (Sysco Foods) for 15 years. Tony loves his work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sarah Reeser null

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paul Vela 

124 N. Walkup 
Crystal Lake, IL 60014 

paulvela31@yahoo.com 
224-209-0355 

 

nullEric & Megan Paul 

533 Eagle Street 
Crystal Lake, IL 60014 

megmsimmmons@gmail.com 
520-235-4120 

Meg and Eric moved to Crystal Lake in October 2013 from the seacoast of New Hampshire. They enjoy outdoor activities such as rock climbing and camping. Eric is Manager at North Wall Rock Climbing Gym and Meg is a Youth and Family

 

nullJerry, Sharon & Braedon Larsen 

70 Esther Street 
Crystal Lake, IL 60014 

jslarsen3@comcast.net 
815-356-9733 

Sharon grew up in Crystal Lake and Jerry moved here in 1994. They married in 2002 and have 1 son, Braedon, who is 9. The Larsens love to camp all summer. They have 3 dogs; 2 cats.

 

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