I have always loved leftovers. While many rue the seemingly endless servings of turkey and dressing that post-Thanksgiving meals inevitably bring, I actually look forward to them. Maybe it’s just me, but it seems as if the flavors seep into the turkey and dressing even more and their tastiness somehow is intensified.
One of my favorite things about Thanksgiving worship is the opportunity the season affords us to sing songs we don’t sing any other time of the year. Not that we shouldn’t give consideration to saying our thanks through song throughout the year, it’s just that certain hymns seem to sound better when we sing them closer to the Thanksgiving holiday.
If you look on your calendars, you’ll see that Thanksgiving Day doesn’t happen for another couple of weeks. But sandwiched in between the holidays of Halloween and Thanksgiving is another holiday that should elicit our gratitude but too often falls through the cracks because of the busyness of the season. I’m referring, of course, to Veterans Day, which this year falls on Sunday.
For what seems to be the last twelve months we’ve been hearing about the upcoming mid-term elections. In fact, I don’t know when I remember hearing as much talk about an “off year” election cycle as I have heard about this one. In these last weeks both parties have been ramping up their efforts at attracting their bases to the polls. Having previously served in a political community for a long period of time, I understand how much is at stake both for the party in power as well as the party that wants so desperately to be in power.
This past week the ministerial staff and I attended an Enneagram workshop, which addressed the variety of personality types that exist among us humans and how one’s individual type influences every aspect of his or her life. For those of you not familiar with the Enneagram, it is basically a model of how nine personality types (“ennea” is nine in Greek) relate to one another to represent human behavior in its most natural expressions, along with what our behavior looks like when we’re healthy or what it looks like when we’re distressed.
One of the new realities in missions is the need for strong partnerships. This approach to the Great Commission has always been a hallmark of Baptists, but never more so than in recent years. And of course the logic is simple: We can do so much more together than we can do apart. Even for churches that have a strong missional heritage like ours this principle still holds true.
“Loving God and Living with Grace and Generosity” has been a hallmark of MBBC for several years now. I can’t think of a better statement of mission around which our congregation might focus our service. The twofold statement captures perfectly both the internal and external and the vertical and horizontal dimensions of our faith experience.
This week in our pastoral staff meeting we were looking at the upcoming MBBC calendar when someone mentioned that Monday was “Indigenous Peoples’ Day.” Clearly, political correctness has even seeped down now to our Apple calendars so that we can’t even enjoy a good long weekend without being reminded of our inherited guilt as occupiers of a land that our ancestors discovered and then took over.
Technology is something most of us are constantly chasing to stay up with. Whether it be the latest entertainment gadget or some new means of communication, about the time we become proficient with it, a new generation emerges and we have to start all over again. But of course, we do so, regardless of the effort required. Not to give it our best only puts us behind the curve even more.
For the longest time I did not appreciate responsive readings in worship. hey seemed too rote and emotionless, especially when the congregation read them in a boring monotone. But over the years, I’ve come to focus instead on the power of the words regardless of how they are read and how that power is magnified when spoken by a multitude of souls.