I could probably guess your generation based on when you received first communion; when you were confirmed, some time during confirmation, fifth grade…and now third grade. There are even some churches that give everyone communion. The only real ‘requirement’ is that you are baptized. The reality is, whenever we receive our first communion, it is definitely not the last time we learn new things about communion. We learn new things all the time! At GLC we celebrate First Communion at third grade and above because we have found that this is an age where the students are more engaged and aware of things that are happening in worship, in the world and in themselves. They learn that they will be served this gift to strengthen them for the work God calls them to do…yes, even third graders to do! They practice this work by serving their families using the chalices they painted, serving the congregation with the bread they baked, AND serving Lazarus House by making the meal on the GLC serve date. How does the gift of Holy Communion prepare you to serve? —Pastor Trudy
Jesus gave us instructions on how to pray in Matthew 6. As you read it, you might recognize the words of the Lord’s Prayer! He gives us some other instruction surrounding the Lord’s Prayer that I find helpful too. Jesus tells us to pray in secret, and to pray what we really feel, without adding too much embellishment. The message that I get from chapter 6 is that prayer is meant to be honest and open communication between you and God. So whether you stick to the words of the Lord’s Prayer or use your own, even if you don’t have words, the God who meets with you in secret already knows the desires and worries of your heart. As long as you bring an honest and open heart to God, your prayer is just right.—Vicar Sharai
This question is from a confirmation student.
Where else would we talk about the devil? The word in Greek for devil is ‘diabolo’ and it means one who accuses. Like its companion ‘satana’, it has become personified into a man with red horns and a long tail who tries to make us do bad things. If it were that obvious, we would know how to avoid it. That’s why thinking about the devil as an ‘accuser’ is helpful to me— evil that actually tests me is more subtle. In Matthew 4 the devil tries to get Jesus to do good things (like making bread from nothing) at the wrong time and with the wrong purpose. See how subtle that is!! This helps me to see the accuser (devil) in those times when I want Jesus to do what I want on my timeline or in the doubts that keep me from taking action when I know that is what Jesus would want me to do. That is a much bigger challenge to my faith than a guy with red horns asking me to do something bad! —Pastor Trudy
When we change our eating habits or exercise routine, we might be able to see and feel the difference in our bodies pretty quickly. But we know there are often benefits that we may never fully realize because we made those changes. The same is true with faith resolutions. You may find more focus in your day because you intentionally set aside time to pray or read the Bible. You may look at your budget differently because you give more to organizations that are important to our community. But the real benefits of a deeper faith life don’t show until a time of testing. Our prayer practices can help us to center, the Bible can offer encouragement, and the organizations we supported may end up helping us on many levels. Stay strong! —Pastor Trudy
Start with an assessment of where you are. Are you happy with your prayer life? Bible reading? Worship attendance? Did those questions just make your heart beat faster? Like every resolution we make, the temptation to go all in and see immediate results is what will end it. Start with one thing that is easy for you to keep…a minute of silence, read the Scripture from the last Sunday each day, look at your calendar to see if a Saturday worship may work out sometime. Make it pleasant, not a chore. It is a gift to you to set aside time! Invite your pastor or vicar to coffee and we will ponder with you some places to start or help you navigate questions that have you stuck. Then watch for things that can help you…like adult confirmation or a small group or Vicar’s project (more soon!). I’m praying for all of you! —Pastor Trudy