January 26, 2014

Pastoral Letter

The Super Bowl is on the forefront of media attention: telling stories of present players, Super Bowl history and the breakdown of the Seahawks and Broncos strengths and weakness, (Is Payton Manning the best quarterback, ever?) I, however, have turned my attention to the upcoming winter Olympics and the preliminary qualifying competitions. (Can’t get enough of curling or the luge.) From the first time I strapped on a pair of ice skates, or shushed down a hill on a pair of wooden skis or plowed down a snow covered street on a toboggan (bobsled in my imagination), I have enjoyed winter sports.

Combine winter play with the challenge of honing ones skills, training ones body to maximize performance and artistry and you have my attention. I observe in wonder what the human creature can do – on ice and snow. (It is hard enough to dance on non-frozen surfaces, much less on ice.) Mastering physical performance requires passion, dedication and discipline over time. So does the endeavor of following Jesus. Discipleship requires passion, dedication and discipline over time.

Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount” (Matthew 5-7) was a description of the training requirements of disciples. He coaches the community gathered around him in the way of love and provides a new routine of practices. He posts the training regimen of those who would be “Loves Olympians.” As our worship has focused on Christ’s liberating work in the world in January, this February we will explore the vision of the new community that Jesus portrays through the Sermon on the Mount:

     - From the stair-training of the Beatitudes, to the cardio (heart) strengthening exercise of prayer
     - From the cultivating of positive mental attitudes, to nurturing collaborative relationships that foster
        team Spirit.
     - From developing the balance to claim our power without overpowering others, to setting aside time
        to allow for recovery from the stresses and wounds of training.

I look forward to “working out” together in the Spirit of Christ. I invite you to read Jesus’ “guide to disciples” in Matthew 5-7 in preparation for our practice.

Pastor Mark