Thursday, October 29, 2015

Letters from the Soul: This Month's Newsletter Column + New Sermon Series!

November 2015: "Bite-Sized Pancakes"

Dear Church,

While in seminary, it became a regular ritual for me to throw on a sweatshirt and flip flops before heading over to the seminary dining hall for breakfast, because the chef at the time, Don, would cook pancakes, hash browns, and omelets to order. He had a funny sense of humor and would alter our portion size to good-naturedly goof around, and to that end, whenever I got pancakes from him, they'd come in all shapes and sizes. One day I might get a plate covered in tiny, sand dollar-sized pancakes, and the next week I might get just one pancake, but it'd be as big as my face. And the following week, I'd receive a pancake of every size within that wide spectrum.

All of this was a source of constant amusement for not only myself but the other students who Don would mess with on a regular basis. I rarely eat pancakes anymore, owing to what may be the world's first-ever maple syrup addiction as well as the generally deletrious effect that large amounts of refined carbohydrates tend to have on one's waistline.

But with Thanksgiving upon us this month, I took the time to not only remember the delight the world's tiniest pancakes gave me when I first saw (and subsequently ate) them, but I saw them as something meaningful--something that represented the smaller things that we take for granted but that absolutely stick out in the mind once we think about them.

We absolutely should be grateful for those things, those bite-sized pancakes in our lives, because in the absence of the massive, life-changing world-upside-down-turning events that may not come across our tables every single year--events like births, deaths, weddings, and the like--it is often the accumulation of the little things that takes on the weight of something much bigger and much greater.
Which is why even the bite-sized pancakes gave me the opportunity in seminary to develop my vision to see God in all of my singular, standalone experiences. They helped me to intertwine those experiences into a story, a testimony, of my life and faith in God. They helped me begin to develop a perspective towards those small, seemingly mundane passing moments that sustains my own ministry today. And they tasted pretty darn good to boot.

So if you were to ask me on Thanksgiving what it is that I am thankful for this year, I would tell's the bite sized pancakes. May you too find the time to give thanks for those bite-sized pancakes in your own life, whatever they may be, this month, and in all months...for Thanksgiving is not simply a day, or a month, it is a way of being and a way of life, a way shown to us by the One to whom we give our eternal thanks and gratitude.

Yours in Christ,
Pastor Eric

New Sermon Series: "With Sighs Too Deep For Words: Verse-by-Verse Through Romans 8"

How did we already reach the point in the year where I'm previewing the Advent sermon series here?! I know, I know...Advent, aka "the Christmas season" is almost upon us, which means you'll certainly be hearing it--at least from me, but probably from other folks as well--about where 2015 went. But we're not quite to the Advent season yet, and we will have four additional Sundays immersed in the new sermon series we just began last Sunday that takes us verse-by-verse through the lofty, soaring prose of Paul's eighth chapter of his letter to the Romans. There is some genuinely powerful, profound stuff in Paul's writings about the Holy Spirit, which is what he predominantly devotes this chapter to, and I will continue to delight in unpacking that chapter of Scripture with all of you. 

I'll see you Sunday,
Pastor Eric

"With Sighs too Deep for Words: Verse-by-Verse Through Romans 8" 

October 25: "Ancient Dwellers of Human Hearts," Romans 8:1-11
November 1: “Bendlerblock,” Romans 8:12-17
November 8: “Winton’s Children,” Romans 8:18-27
November 15: “Castellio’s Lament,” Romans 8:28-34
November 22: “The Challenger Deep,” Romans 8:35-39

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