Upcoming events in September and another plea for invitations

Whew! August was a busy, busy month for me! A lot of it had to do with paying catch-up from my time away in Detroit – both on the Youth Gathering trip and on my vacation. It’s the double-edged sword of vacation: You need a break from all the work, so you go away. But when you come back, that work hasn’t disappeared. Instead, it seems to have been fruitful and multiplied. You’re working folks. You know what I mean.

September looks busy, too, but in different ways. We’ve got a couple of neat things on the front-burner for September. It’s “God’s Work, Our Hands” month at First Lutheran, so we’re trying to help folks find a few new ways to serve others outside our walls, which is really why the church exists, anyway. We’re also open to ideas. You know somebody or some organization in need? You think we can help as a congregation? Let us know. You organize, we’ll do.

But in the immediate plan is to set aside September 13 as “God’s Work, Our Hands” day, in communion with (albeit a week after) the Church-wide (ELCA) day designated with that title. We plan to put together some relief packs for our homeless neighbors. They’ll be little hygiene packs in Ziploc baggies that folks can keep in their car or in their bag to hand out to folks in lieu of money. Christina Williams is working on a list of items to go in the baggies.

We’ll be holding our monthly Town Hall meeting on September 20 right after worship. I encourage people to come to this, as we’ll be talking about core values and maybe some other things that should line us up to draft a brand spanking new mission statement for the November Annual Meeting!

[In light of that, here’s something to kick around, if you will. I’ve been listening to some of the musical artists who figured prominently at the Youth Gathering. Some of them were responsible for putting together the theme music for that event. I found out after the fact that they had taken the Mission Statement for the Southeast Michigan Synod (“Building Bridges, Breaking Chains, Bearing Burdens, Bringing Hope”) and setting it to music. Here’s a link to the song. I’m really loving that mission statement, and am not against plagiarizing it. Just throwing that idea out there.]

The following Saturday (September 26), First Lutheran will be hosting Tulsa’s inagural Shape Note singing school and (hopefully) regular sing. (For more info on just what shape note music is, check out http://www.fasola.org. I’d also like to show a documentary for folks who are interested, but am struggling to find a good date for this. Keep your eyes peeled. I want to do this in the next week or two.) As of now, I’ve spoken to people who are coming from Arkansas and Texas, and I understand there will be some Missiourians in our numbers, too. I’m kind of hoping this becomes a Big Deal, but we’ll see what God does with it.

And then on Sunday the 27th, Rene Girard scholar and peace preacher Michael Hardin will be in the pulpit at our 9:30 worship service. He’ll also be offering a free public lecture that evening at 5:30 in the Fellowship Hall. I’ll post more when we have a title for that lecture, but I think you’ll be positively challenged by his presentation. He’s really good.

In between all of these things, we will continue to hold Pub Theology every Thursday night at 8 p.m at the White Lion pub. If this piques your interest, come join us. It’s absolutely not necessary that you imbibe! Several of our regulars drink water or a soft drink. We’re not there for the booze, but for the conversation. Have questions? Call me!

And we will be re-introducing Mid-week Mass on Wednesdays at 12:15. This is a “low Mass,” meaning that we’re not singing gathering or sending songs or the Kyrie or anything like that. All liturgy is spoken. But there is a reading from Scripture and there is Holy Communion offered. We’d love it if you came and brought a friend. Or an enemy. Or just yourself. All are welcome.

The last thing for this post: I regret that there are some of you whom I barely know outside of Sunday worship. It’s been a while since I’ve been on visits to our homebound members. I haven’t seen the insides of most of your homes. Some people are really good at inviting me over for a chat. The thing is, I LOVE that part of this job. Getting to know people is the best part of leading a congregational community. But here’s the thing: I am extremely shy. I mean EXTREMELY shy, especially about inviting myself over to people’s houses. But I want to come. Please invite me. You are welcome to invite my family, too, if you want, but it’s not necessary. And it doesn’t have to be a big to-do. You just want to have coffee? No problem. You just want a little discussion sans beverage? Great. If you WANT to kill the fatted calf, well, that’s fine, too, but there’s really no need. I’m not interested in banquets: I’m interested in YOU! So please. Invite me.

That’s all I have to say about that. For now, anyway.

Here’s to a great September, all! I’m excited about the cooler weather; I’m excited about our many planned activities; I’m REALLY excited about our new Music Director; and I’m excited to get to know all of you better. Let’s build some bridges!

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