(In The Life Of The Church)
The Psalm for this week in the Lectionary is Psalm 111. It reads as following:
1 Praise the Lord.
I will extol the Lord with all my heart
in the council of the upright and in the assembly.
2 Great are the works of the Lord;
they are pondered by all who delight in them.
3 Glorious and majestic are his deeds,
and his righteousness endures forever.
4 He has caused his wonders to be remembered;
the Lord is gracious and compassionate.
5 He provides food for those who fear him;
he remembers his covenant forever.
6 He has shown his people the power of his works,
giving them the lands of other nations.
7 The works of his hands are faithful and just;
all his precepts are trustworthy.
8 They are established for ever and ever,
enacted in faithfulness and uprightness.
9 He provided redemption for his people;
he ordained his covenant forever—
holy and awesome is his name.
10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
all who follow his precepts have good understanding.
To him belongs eternal praise.
I love the Psalms, in part, because their language about God is so comforting. Great are the works of the Lord. Glorious and majestic are God’s deeds. God’s righteousness endures forever. The Lord is gracious and compassionate. The works of God’s hands are faithful and just and God’s precepts are trustworthy. God provides redemption for his people. Holy and awesome is God’s name. To God belongs eternal praise. These are words that give me comfort – they strengthen me on days when I cannot find my own resolve. They remind me that God is bigger and better than I can ever understand.
But I was struck this week by v.5 - particularly the beginning. “He provides food for those who fear Him.” And as I thought about why it stuck out to me I realized because I could think of story after story after story of people who loved God, who had made the fear of the Lord the path of their life – and who still could give voice to the fact that on more than one occasion they had not been provided the food that they needed.
I thought of friends I knew growing up who sometimes didn’t know where their next meal was going to come from. I thought of my fellow seminary students during my time at Truett – and grad students in general – showing up to every situation where free food was offered. I thought about the new friends I’d made in Cuba – some of whom could recall times when food was scarce in the whole country. There just wasn’t enough to go around. And it just seemed to me that sometimes – that’s not true. That there isn’t food – even for those who fear the Lord.
But then I remembered one of my favorite stories from Parker Palmer. About a miracle he experienced once on a plane ride from Saskatoon to Detroit. The story goes like this:
After a speech in Saskatoon, I boarded a 6 a.m. Air Canada flight home to Wisconsin. Our departure was delayed because the truck that brings coffee to the planes had broken down. After a while the pilot said, “We’re going to take off without the coffee. We want to get you to Detroit on time.”I was up front where all the “road warriors” sit — a surly tribe, especially at that early hour. They began griping, loudly and at length, about “incompetence,” “lousy service,” etc.
Once we got into the air, the lead flight attendant came to the center of the aisle with her mike and said, “Good morning! We’re flying to Minneapolis today at an altitude of 30 feet…”That, of course, evoked more scorn from the road warriors.Then she said, “Now that I have your attention… I know you’re upset about the coffee. Well, get over it! Start sharing stuff with your seatmates. That bag of five peanuts you got on your last flight and put in your pocket? Tear it open and pass them around! Got gum or mints? Share them! You can’t read all the sections of your paper at once. Offer them to each other! Show off the pictures of kids and grandkids you have in your wallets!”As she went on in that vein, people began laughing and doing what she had told them to do. A surly scene turned into summer camp!
An hour later, as the attendant passed by my seat, I signaled to her. “What you did was really amazing,” I said. “Where can I send a letter of commendation?”“Thanks,” she said, “I’ll get you a form.” Then she leaned down and whispered, “The loaves and fishes are not dead.”
And so I was reminded by Palmer of the miracle of the Feeding of the Five Thousand. And about how when Jesus said, “Feed these people.” the disciples looked at each other and then they looked at Jesus (and then back at each other – in my imagination at least) and said, “We’ve got nothing.” And Jesus said, “Well let’s give it all we got.”
And I found myself again strangely comforted by the Psalms (and, as always - by the Gospel). By the idea that maybe we are the miracle. That maybe (definitely) the way that God provides food for those who fear him is through us. I found myself encouraged by the disciples (as bumbling as they can be) and their willingness to admit that they did not have enough – their meager offerings would not fix the problem at hand. Because it is precisely in our weakness that we lean on God’s strength. It is only when we come to end of ourselves that we can be sure that we are relying on God.
And so I hope moving forward that my question will no longer be, “God – why do these people not have food?” but rather, “God – how have we failed to provide for these brothers and sisters? Please show me what I can do better.”
If this is something you’re also learning to pray – I’d love to talk to you about it. And as always if you want to talk about any of this, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will be commissioning our kindergartners this Sunday so please be in prayer for them as they enter our liturgy in a meaningful way this weekend.
Next week, 8/26, after church.....we are going to PARTY!!! UBC will be provide the food, drink, and fun! We will be catering mexican food from the best place in town, we will have door prizes, and we will have a few surprises you will want to see to believe! Plan to stay after church next week, lunch is on us.
We will be taking our first trip to Cuba, the week of November 11th. This trip is open to all ages, and we will have a special opportunity for seminary students. There will be an interest meeting after church on the 19th, in the Piano Room. If you have any questions, please email email@example.com
Meet Our Newest UBCer
Name: Theophilus Lee
Birthday: July 12, 2018
Birth Weight: 7lb 6oz
Birth Height: 19 inches
Enneagram Number: 7
For most of this year, we’ve been reckoning with the fact that we’re not great at connecting with one another—that while we might all feel like we belong in this community called ubc, there’s a general sense of disconnection or loneliness among us. Taylor and Jamie have been working with a group of ubcers to talk through some potential remedies for this. While we have been working directly with these 8 conversations partners for the sake of having a small enough group for productive conversation, we are very interested in having as many of your voices in the mix as possible as we move forward. We’ve been using a set of questions in an effort to trace the edges of this problem, and we’ve put them in a survey form that you can fill out. Your feedback, along with the feedback we’ve already received from our conversation partners, will form the foundation of our discussions moving forward, so we’d love if you would take a moment to fill it out. You can find it at ubcwaco.org/care. If you have any follow up questions, feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Mug and Coffee Help
UBC champions. As you know, each week when you come in you are greeted by good looking pastors and should you so choose, a warm cup of joe that is likely poured into a stylish mug. The hard truth is, that coffee doesn't make itself and those mugs don't clean themselves. That my friends, is done by some #champions4thelord. It just so happens that a lot of my mug washers and coffee makers have graduated and gone on to do smaller things. So I'm looking for some replacements. If you would consider serving in this ministry, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Parishioner of the Week
Random Pic To Generate Clickbait Traffic
Work is Worship
Coffee Makers: Nances
Mug Cleaners: Carron
Money Counter: Kuhl
Welcome Station: Carlson
- Sermon Text:
- Sunday School Begins again on September 9th
If you have a concern or an idea for UBC that you’d like to share with someone that is not on staff, feel free to contact one of our leadership team members.
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If you have concerns about staff and would like contact our human resources team, please feel free to email any of the following members.
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