Some of the projects around the church are less glamourous but necessary. This week the facia, also known as roof trim, was being replaced.
The wood around the roof had deteriorated from rot and termite damage. After having the building tented earlier in the year to stop the termite damage it was now time to replace the wood itself.
A team of roofers has been working through the heat to complete the replacement. The job should be finished Friday. When you are on campus this Sunday look up! Take a moment to appreciate that Prince of Peace is working on the things that are less visible, but critical to a functional building.
As we return to in-person worship some things are the same and some things are a little different.
The single worship time is an opportunity to connect with the whole congregation.
Children still gather in the front of the Sanctuary for a Children's lesson, but most are masked.
Worship music was led by the Strom family with support from Tom Pyle and Jessica Taddeo last week. This week the choir will support our worship experience
You can see the Communion set-up in front of the band - individual cups of bread and juice.
Even with these Covid precaution changes, it still feels like a Prince of Peace worship. We are happy to be back together.
We look forward to seeing you in person or online this week!
As I look out my office window this week - just above this monitor and under the Lutheran flag - there is a squad of young children, many from PoP and many visiting friends, running and jumping, singing and dancing, or sitting and praying with a quartet of skilled, faithful young adults. It’s been such a magical week on campus and an honor to be able to hang out here and observe the life and faith and friendships of these campers grow in their own ways; to watch them form memories that will surprise them again and again as they grow.
What are some of the memories you have from camp as a youth? What experiences have you carried with you? And what ones have carried you?
When I think about it, I can certainly remember playing games like “Duck, duck goose” - or “Duck, duck, grey duck” if our counselor was from Minnesota, tag and soccer on the lawns. I kind of remember songs. But mostly, I can remember that sense of feeling special to a grown-up who was not my parents or family. How they knew my name and played with me and we were having fun together. This is the memory that carries me - just as, I imagine, it carries many of us who have had the blessings of a good Christian camp environment.
Parents and young ones, we owe a debt of gratitude to Drew, Pam, Will and Jessica for all they are doing this week to make sure all our kids are engaged and cared for in many and various ways. And a special thank you and honors to our counselors, Yolanda, Kelly, Sophia and Kaden for all the lasting gifts they have given our children.
PS - Check out our Facebook page for videos from this week's adventures https://www.facebook.com/popsaratoga
This weekend’s Gospel feels like anything but. It’s the story from Mark of John the Baptist’s execution; a birthday party for king and company leads to debauchery and a twisted retribution. Indeed, God and Jesus never really show up in the text, except a brief mention at the beginning of our passage.
So why read it for worship? What possible Good News can be gleaned from such a sickly field of weedy growth?
Much, I think. And enough that we can share this little bit as a teaser for Sunday and still keep things from being redundant - the non-Engineering, bad kind of redundant.
How comfortable are we in excusing the actions of the powerful? Oh sure, we can and will spend plenty of time getting frothy mad at Herod, but we must also recognize our place in stories of this type. We might not be kings and queens, but we’ve been to enough parties where they’ve thrown their weight around and we’ve not said a word.
In a somewhat recent NY Times Opinion piece Emi Nietfeld wrote movingly about her experiences at Google New York City and the narrative she’d embraced about what a fantastic company it is and how it’s doing good in the world, which felt wonderful until her manager became her harasser and then “As soon as my complaint with H.R. was filed, Google went from being a great workplace to being any other company: It would protect itself first.”
This isn’t to single out Google, but they are an easy target because of their claims to being a better type of company.
Shockingly, when systems - any systems, even generally good ones - are made up of human beings they will inevitably seek their own preservation, even by lopping off heads to save face, when that is the easier thing to do than actually addressing an uncomfortable or threatening problem.
Stories like these demonstrate part of the reason we practice speaking, out loud, our general Confessions. In being open and honest about our failings we train ourselves to speak openly and honestly about the failings of the systems we work or play in - even when that is difficult. And while that might make our Sunday feel a bit of a downer, it can also mean the folks like Emi up above have people with them after those HR conversations don’t make traction.
On Sunday, we will celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. On that day, a group of politicians and soldiers proclaimed that the colonies were freed from Great Britain’s rule. And to honor this, we are free from labor for the day, free to wave our flags, free to eat red white and blue foods, free to watch fireworks, and free to participate in parades that give thanks for our autonomy as a nation.
I think that the 4th of July is also a wonderful time to ask ourselves as individuals, fellow inhabitants of this country and as people of faith, what are we freed for? Luther wrote in one of his most well-known essays entitled Freedom of a Christian:
“A Christian is an utterly free man, lord of all, subject to none. A Christian is an utterly dutiful man, servant of all, subject to all.”
It’s one of the many paradoxes of faith that Luther was so famous for developing. And this particular idea simultaneously sets us free from and binds us to one another. We are free to love, act and be who we are in all our rainbow/political/human spectrums. But also we are responsible for one another’s well-being. It is a tough path to walk, balancing care for others without being overbearing, balancing freedom to do what we want with the truth that what I do affects others. So this Independence day, I hope you have time to celebrate the wonder that it is to be free…and to celebrate the burden that it is to be free. Might be a lovely conversation starter now that we are again freed to gather in groups and at church again. :)