Pastor Henry's Memo

August 2018

Work Beginning on Steeple and Tower

At last, the work is beginning on our lightning damaged steeple and tower.  It's been many weeks from that bleak Friday in July.  At the end of the summer season we begin a project of renewal.  Each step along the way to recovery and celebration will bring with it some inconveniences, but none that will compromise our faith in God.  We're not sure when worship in the sanctuary will begin.  Neither do we know when our sound system will be functioning again.  However, we continue to move forward.  The Calvary trustees are working with our insurance agent and contractors to see the necessary repairs are completed in accordance with industry standards.  As we move through each stage of this project we continue to rely on our congregation to keep those who make decisions in her prayers.  As we continue to go about the business of being a faithful worshiping people of God we do not suspend our ministries nor our mission.  Our church pictorial directory, our Basket Auction, and our stewardship drive for 2019 continue apace.  Other activities that mark us as a United Methodist community of believers are also being accomplished.  Our steeple and tower will once again rise above the Syracuse community as a symbol of our enduring faith and trust in God.

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Graffiti and Good Deeds!

As I was stopped waiting for a train to pass, I noticed the graffiti.  I mean, I really noticed the graffiti, instead of counting the cars as they passed by.  The train was moving slowly enough I could see what an impressive artistic effort much of it was.  Then my social conscious mind kicked on and I wondered if the owners of those rail cars cared if they were painted?  Whether anyone was caught with spray-paint-can in hand?  Does anyone go to jail for defacing someone's private property?  Is graffiti so ubiquitous as to be accepted as no big deal?  Rail cars are one thing.  What about school buildings or churches or shop windows or gravestones?  I suppose the graffiti artists who paint rail cars find some kind of satisfaction knowing their contribution to art travels on railroad tracks to places far beyond their neighborhood.  I'm aware there are some masters of the art who are quite well known; Blansky, Kobra, #4 Blek le Rat, Choe, Basquiat...The list is quite impressive.  I wonder about comparing graffiti to good deeds.  Or smiles.  Or kind words.  I can imagine they too travel far beyond our neighborhoods and they too contribute to life and what's more, I can't imagine anyone objecting to them.  Funny how this memo began because I was stopped by a train and instead of tapping my foot in anxious inconvenience, I noticed art.

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Bread of Life

This past Sunday's Gospel lesson has Jesus saying: "I am the bread of life."  (John 6:35)  He says in verse 51 he is the "living bread."  This made me wonder about bread and when human beings began to eat bread.  After a bit of research, it seems we began eating bread as a kind of gruel over 30,000 years ago.  That was roughly the Upper Palaeolithic Age; also known as the Stone AgeAround 8000 years ago (about a thousand years after the beginning of agriculture) there is evidence of primitive grinding stones. They would be necessary for grinding or milling the grains used for bread.  Even then, whatever bread was made would likely have been flat; like pita bread.  The kind of bread that included yeast, allowing it to rise, was thought to have been first eaten nearly 4000 years ago.  Through the many centuries of its consumption, bread has been a human staple.  It's been called the "staff of life."  So too have potatoes and rice been designated foods necessary for human survival.  The bread aisle of any grocery store would surely make the mouths of our ancestors water with glee.

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Costa Rica Mission

In the not too distant future we will be gathering on a Wednesday evening to learn of the good work done by those who went on a mission trip to Costa Rica.  Adam Collins and his daughter, Katey, will be sharing with us about their time there and the work they saw accomplished by their labor.  I say "accomplished" only in a provisional way, because the mission of the Church is an ever and on-going enterprise.  It will never be fully accomplished until the Kingdom of God itself is made whole and real on earth.  Much was done in Costa Rica and we were a part of that work.  As you know, Tom Stiver was to be our missionary to that work project, but was unable to travel.  Calvary's participation in it was by way of offering our financial assistance.  The funds we raised to send Tom were utilized by others on the trip.  Our hands and hearts were present in a way Christians have been at work in the mission field from the beginning of the Church.  We need only to remember St. Paul solicited funds from the Church to feed the poor in Jerusalem.  What’s more, it is taught his Letter to the Romans was a fund raising appeal for a mission trip he was planning to Spain.  To be in his company, by assisting others to go in our stead, is an honor.  A future Wednesday evening will be selected for Adam and Kacey to bring us news of Costa Rica and the mission work they did there.  I am anxiously awaiting that day. 

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Terrible Twos?

The "Terrible Twos" begin today.  Our granddaughter Audrey Isabelle's birthday is today.  I don't remember our kids being two.  I don't remember my own 2nd birthday or the months following.  I survived.  And so did my parents.  Although, my sister wasn't born for another two years.  Audrey will be learning and growing and exploring and developing her already charming personality.  In my wildest imagination I cannot see her being a "terrible two."  Then again, I don't live with her 24/7.  These early years seem so long ago for our three kids.  And our youngest is now thirty with her own eight month old son.  I wouldn't go back.  I will happily live this life now watching with awe and excitement how Audrey makes the transition from toddler to whatever comes next.  This evening, before dinner, we're all going to Rural King to eat popcorn and have our pictures taken wearing sunglasses. Who knew such simple pleasures could mean so very much?  Smile!

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