As a child, I was blessed to spend a week or two each summer with my grandparents, at their home in Madison, on the prairies of western Minnesota. My Grandpa Babe owned a printing business and was the publisher of the town’s weekly newspaper, The Western Guard. While my brother was content to hang around my grandparent’s house with his nose buried in a book, I was more eager to go to “work” with Grandpa. I loved hanging around his print shop. The staff were so generous to keep…
For teenagers, and truly anyone young at heart, no trip to MOA would be deemed a success without first enjoying a few thrill rides. And because I am too proud not be the “fun uncle,” I soon found myself getting strapped into a seat for “Sponge Bob’s Rock Bottom Plunge.” This compact rollercoaster begins by sending riders flat on their backs, crawling steadily up towards the interior heights of the glass-roofed ceiling. Once at the summit, the car you’re riding in shifts 180° and you find yourself momentarily suspended, starring straight back down to the floor, three stories below.
This Sunday will bring our fourth and final installment of “SummerSong.” As we have each previous week, we’ll explore another musical setting to shape our worship and the boundaries of our music will be as broad as the world itself. We offer this because, in addition to the joy that can be experienced with uncommon melodies and rhythms, it’s a claim of solidarity with the global expression of the Body of Christ. To sing songs originating in another culture draws our stories together.
My first piano teacher was Mrs. Oliver. She was a member of the church I grew up at and she started giving me lessons in her home when I was in 2nd or 3rd grade. I can still remember sitting at the piano in her living room for those weekly lessons. During our first session, she taught me where to find “Middle C” and how to hold my hands on the keys. Thanks to Mrs. Oliver, even after 40+ years and though most of my keyboard skills have vanished, I can still find that Middle C.
I walked into my office last Thursday and felt something I hadn’t felt in over three summers. It was pleasantly cool! The replacement air-conditioning unit that services the library and offices of our church building had finally been installed and turned on for the first time. Well before the summer heat arrived in 2019, we had discovered that our under-sized air-handler and condensing unit was just not up to the challenge of cooling our rooms anymore.
I’ve been hearing about a lot of fears lately. I get it, I’m holding onto plenty myself. We look around at so much that has changed, and we wonder, “what happened, where is everyone?” Challenges that we were wrestling with long before Covid hit us, now only feel even more pronounced and heavier than ever. And it’s true, the challenges have only grown. Our children, youth, and family participation in ministry is a shadow of former times. Our facility is showing its age in so many places. We’re struggling to find our focus on what kind of church we’re called to be.