Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Links, Links Galore!

Thank you for visiting my blog! By coming here, you have already found the first way that Zion is improving our communication over the internet. Please check here every week for one of my sermons, children's messages, or other reflections. 

Here are a few other ways that you can connect with Zion online: 

The current website has a picture of the church and an updated calendar of events. Soon to be updated, it will include more information about the church, including more pictures and descriptions of church life. The website will become a hub for the church, including plenty of links and email addresses.

We will start using Mail Chimp to send out weekly emails that will have all of the important announcements for the week. These emails, from our usual zionchurch email address, will look more like a newsletter. Also look in these emails for descriptions of what to expect on Sunday and the readings for the week. Each email each week will have all of the links included here.

Zion now has a Facebook page! For those of you on Facebook, please “like” our church’s page and invite your friends and family to do the same! This Facebook page will be a place for us to share joys, cares, and announcements. We can stay in conversation throughout the week, enlivening our faithful relationships. If any of you are not on Facebook but would like some help getting starting, please let me know.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

If You Give Three Visitors Some Water

The following is an adaptation of Genesis 18:1-10 for a children's message on July 21, 2013. It follows the pattern of the "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" series and was suggested by Carolyn Brown.

If You Give Three Visitors Some Water
If you give three visitors some water,
They are going to want to sit in the shade.
When you let them sit in the shade,
They will want to wash their feet.
When they are finished, they will ask for some bread.
Then you will go to your wife and ask her to make some cakes.
When she takes some flour and kneads it,
She will make the finest bread for these visitors.
Then you will go to your herd to take a calf.
When you give this calf to your servant, he will prepare it.
The calf will taste very good.
Then you will take curds and milk to your guests,
And they will ask for more.
When you give them the bread and the calf,
They will be full.
When they are full, they will want to talk.
They will ask for your wife, Sarah.
You will point to your tent.
As you point, your wife will be listening.
When your wife hears that she will have a son, she will laugh.
Then your visitors will ask why she laughed.
You will have to explain that she is old and can’t have kids.
Then they will explain that she can.
When they explain this,
They will realize that they are thirsty,
And they are going to ask you for some water.
© Julie Monnard, 2013.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Pastor Julie’s Quick Guide to Praying the Psalms

I wrote the following for one of my Spiritual Practices lessons. I hope that these lists can help you to use the psalms prayerfully and devotionally. 

Choosing a Psalm
-       When you feel the emotion below, try reading:
o   Angry: 37, 80
o   Despair: 13, 31, 38
o   Fear: 9, 27, 46, 91
o   Humble: 131, 149
o   Joy: 33, 126
o   Praise: 8, 48, 65, 66, 67, 84, 92, 95, 96, 100, 113, 145, 146, 148, 150
o   Cancer (underlying chaos of creation): 81, 96

-       When you need God to give you the following, try reading:
o   Charity: 105, 111
o   Comfort: 23, 57
o   Courage: 18, 141
o   Guidance: 25, 51
o   Hope: 34, 42, 71, 85, 102, 128, 130
o   Healing: 6, 30, 41
o   Protection: 5, 32, 61, 121, 124, 138
o   Trust: 16, 27, 63, 103, 115, 125
o   Help: 17, 26, 36, 54, 69, 89, 139, 140, 143
§  Adapted from The Bible Promise Book, Barbour Publishing, 1990 and The Lutheran Study Bible, Augsburg Fortress, 2009, p. 849-50.

-       Types of Psalms and their examples:
o   Communal lament: 44, 60, 74, 79, 80, 83, 85, 137
o   Penitential psalms (confessions of sin): 6, 32, 38, 51, 102, 130, 143
o   Thanksgiving Psalms: 18, 30, 34, 92, 138
o   Psalms of Zion: 46, 48, 76, 84, 87, 122, 132

-       Famous Psalms:
o   22 – My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
o   23 – The Lord is my Shepherd
o   42 – As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God.
o   46 – God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
o   110 – The Lord said to my lord, “Sit at my right hand.”
o   117 – Shortest Psalm
o   119 – the LONG acrostic
o   121 – I lift up my eyes to the hills – from where will my help come?
o   130 – Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord.
o   136 – For God’s steadfast love endures forever.
o   137 – By the rivers of Babylon – there we sat down and there we wept.

-       Other Resources:
o   Daily Psalm Lectionary: http://www.elca.org/Growing-In-Faith/Worship/Daily-Lectionary.aspx (Click on Year C. Then click on Time after Pentecost.)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Gettysburg Remembered

Luke 10:1-11, 16-20; 7th Sunday after Pentecost C; July 7, 2013

            Grace and peace be unto you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen.
            Fourscore and seventy years ago, the Civil War battle at Gettysburg raged on. Tens of thousands of men died, were wounded, and were captured. For three days, the borough of Gettysburg was ravaged. Houses were ransacked, public buildings were transformed into temporary hospitals. All those who lived in Gettysburg either left town or went into hiding in their cellars. That little town would never be the same again.
In the past one hundred fifty years, a lot has changed for Gettysburg. Much of the vineyards and farmland that were used in the battle are now federal parks. The battlefields are littered with monuments both large and small, and millions of people visit that town every year. Every summer, people dress up as Civil War soldiers and civilians and reenact the battle.

In the midst of all of this, Gettysburg Seminary continues to be a place where future pastors study the Bible, form leadership skills, and meet Christ so that we may share the love of God. Since 1826, Gettysburg Seminary has been a place of growth for Lutherans.
This past week, July first through third, my beloved seminary celebrated the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. Schmucker Hall on campus that was used during the war by Confederates as a look out has now been transformed into a world-class museum. Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson was there this week to offer a few words on this special occasion.

Bishop Hanson is bringing the history of the Civil War alive for us. Those battles are not just a mark on the history of this nation. That war reestablished our loyalty to our country, to our soldiers, and to our values. We are called to continue the work of freedom and justice that we have learned about throughout our lives.
In our history classes, we learned about the generals and the soldiers at the battle of Gettysburg. We heard about Little Round Top and Picket’s Charge. We saw maps that showed the strategy that brought the Union and Confederate soldiers together to fight. But in those history classes, we didn’t hear about some others who weren’t fighting in battle. Three of these showed bravery, compassion, and loyalty.

First, Sallie. Like many of the regiments at Gettysburg, the Eleventh Pennsylvania Union regiment had a dog as their mascot. Their dog was named Sallie. On the first day of battle when the regiment had to move back from their place of battle, Sallie stayed behind with the dead. She stayed with her deceased friends and watched over them for four days until the survivors of the regiment could return after the battle to bury the dead. Sallie’s loyalty was such an inspiration to her soldiers that they built a monument, a small bronze dog statue, near where she kept her guard. 

Second, the Humiston family. Another monument marks where Amos Humiston died. By rank alone, this sergeant did not deserve a monument, yet his story continues beyond his death. Humiston, although a father of three, volunteered to go to battle. Excited by the adventure of war, he fought bravely for his country and cause. Yet, his excitement did not save his life. At Gettysburg, he was mortally wounded. Later when the survivors returned to bury him, they found no identification on his body except a photo of three darling young children tightly clutched in his hand. This photo was the last thing he saw before he died.
Not knowing who he was, this photo of his children was passed from newspaper to newspaper in the north. From Philadelphia to New York to his hometown of Portville, this photo was published, asking “Whose father was he?” Through the publication of this photo, his wife Philanda Humiston learned that her husband was dead and that her children no longer had a father.
All of those throughout the North who saw this photo were so moved that they decided to create an orphanage in Gettysburg for Humiston’s wife and children and for all of the widows and orphans created by the war. Although her husband was dead, so many were moved by her story that these strangers reached out to her. This compassion in the face of war was God’s will.

A third story, my favorite. Mary Virginia Wade, known as Jennie, was a civilian living in Gettysburg when the war came to her town. When all of the other civilians either left town or went into hiding, she also went underground. But she couldn’t bear to stay there. Jennie was engaged to a soldier who was serving in Virginia. Despite everyone telling her otherwise, Jennie decided that she had to do something. She wanted to support the Union soldiers who were fighting here, just like her fiancĂ© was down South.
So, Jennie went to her kitchen to bake biscuits that she would then bring to Union soldiers. But, through the door to her kitchen, a Confederate sharpshooter saw her and shot her. Jennie died then, before she could deliver the food that she so desperately wanted to share with others. Little did she know that her fiancé was also killed in battle, hundreds of miles away.[1]

These three stories show us how compassionate people and animals can be, even during the worst of times. These three, Sallie, Amos, and Jennie show us that there is so much more to war than rifles, pillaging, and strategy. Like the seventy that Jesus sent into ministry, these three were sent like lambs into the midst of wolves. Even though they lost their lives in battle, they were brave, caring, and compassionate. They didn’t have much with them. One had a wagging tail, one had a photo, another had biscuits. These three have touched the heart of this nation because of how they faced adversity.
These three are all from the Union side, but I am sure that the Confederates had just as many touching stories. In his You Tube video, Bishop Hanson continues to describe that Schmucker Hall on the Seminary’s campus was used as a hospital for both Union and Confederate soldiers. He shares, “There was a common humanity in their suffering, in their weeping, and their dying. That common humanity called forth acts of compassion and care from nurses and doctors. What would it take for us to be such a people today?”[2]
We are called to continue the work of justice that was reestablished 150 years ago. We may not have much with us, yet Jesus sends us out to share the good news. Whenever we feel that we are like lambs sent into the midst of wolves, we can be comforted by the love of Jesus Christ. Strengthened, prepared, and encouraged by Christ, we can share the love of God through our own moments of loyalty, courage, and compassion. Trusting in Christ is what it would take for us to be such a people today. Amen.

[1] These three stories come from Hallowed Ground by James M. McPherson (2003).
[2] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YyrhgWg27ho&feature=youtu.be