February 2019

No Matter What Happens in St. Louis Permit me to rework a wise observation from another religion. The great Buddha once observed something like this: “before my great awakening under the Bodhi tree, I awoke from sleep, slurped my coffee, walked the dog, took a shower, got the kids off to school, and headed out for work. But after my great awakening under the Bodhi tree … I awoke from sleep, slurped my coffee, walked the dog, took a shower, got the kids off to school, and headed out for work.” For several months now we have been studying the special session of General Conference to be held in St. Louis on February 23-26. Along with our conversations in Sunday school, church, and meetings we have been blasted with media and social media news and comment. We have talked to friends in the connection. We have stoked one another’s anxiety level as we indulged in worst case scenario thinking. I personally hope the One Church Plan passes. It will allow conferences the choice to ordain clergy who are in committed monogamous homosexual relations or not to ordain them. It will offer local congregations the option of receiving such clergy as their pastor —or not. And it will allow pastors and congregations the choice of hosting the unions of such persons — or not. The One Church Plan offers the possibility of welcoming a constituency that has always been there but kept in the shadows. It also offers those who are adamantly opposed to any positive recognition of homosexuals the possibility of voicing and voting their conscience. But whether One Church or one of the other plans (Traditional Revised, Connectional Conferences, Simple) passes, there will certainly be a period of shake-up following the General Conference in St. Louis. Even if there are no changes to The Book of Discipline the frustration level has reached a critical level. I anticipate expressions of anger and separation from the right and left. I am helped at the connectional level by remembering that the Church is of God and transcends any one historical expression of it. The church goes on; the church of our memory often does not. And I am helped at the local level by the hint from my friend the Buddha. Before General Conference 2019 Calvary Church gathered to worship God, read the Bible together, fed the hungry and clothed the naked at Manna, laughed and cried together in Christ, and kept the saving station red L-E-D ten-foot cross lit high on the Market Street bell tower. But after General Conference 2019 Calvary Church will … gather to worship God, read the Bible together, feed the hungry and cloth the naked at Manna, laugh and cry together in Christ, and keep the saving station red L-E-D ten-foot cross lit high on the Market Street bell tower. With you in the journey, Pastor Lew...

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December 2018

Love Came Down at Christmas – Please! I want to write poetry like Christina Rosetti (1830-1894) when I grow up. I want to stare down the harsh environment of people hurting people, of Machiavellian politics, of cruelty to children, of cold indifference to the earth’s balance, of the addictions that pass from generation to generation. I want to name the bareness of a world without love. In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan, Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone; Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow, In the bleak midwinter, long ago. Because if I were a poet like Christina Rosetti, I also would be capable of lifting my eyes from “bleak midwinter” to the hope that comes from above: God’s sending into the world a man who would personify God’s character as a love that overcomes obstacles. Love came down at Christmas, Love all lovely, Love divine; Love was born at Christmas; Stars and angels gave the sign. I invite you to join us in the worship this advent and Christmas season which begins Sunday, December 2nd. We’ll remember the love that came down at Christmas as named in the prophets and the gospels. We’ll search for Best Practices and Next Steps in the Love Chapter of the Bible, First Corinthians 13. Perhaps you are like me these days. I find it easier to sing “frosty wind made moan” than “Love all lovely”. All the more reason why we should gather, and in the strength of our company, search the Scriptures for words of hope from the Lord for us and for our neighbors. Advent & Christmas Blessings! Pastor Lew...

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