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Songfest, Supper, Sunday Funday

June 1, 2023

Neon Music Sign

It’s a Songfest Sunday! Many church people can and do say they believe in the God of the Bible. They do not read the Bible though. They sing songs and trust that the lyrics are reliable words from the Bible.

For some of us our faith is significantly shaped by the theology of our favorite music. My 2 favorites: Go Tell It on the Mountain and I Love to Tell the Story. So, you know why I preach, since I struggle to carry a tune!

Sunday, when we honor the doctrine and God who is the Triunity (yes, that’s a word you haven’t used), we will not try to describe this 2000-year-old declaration. We will sing songs that make our hearts open to the mystery of God.

For those in the sanctuary, you will be offered the chance to request a song from the hymnbook. For those online, (or others) worshipping on Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., you are asked to email zack.henderson@standrew-pres.org with your preferred hymns.

If you need a hymnbook for home worship, please call the church office or come by to pick one up.

As we listen to the choices our friends make, we will learn more about how God is part of the lives we share in this church. We will learn more about the mystery of who God is to people at St. Andrew. And we will begin to see the doctrines that shape our faith as a group and connect with each other in new ways.

Please plan to come, even if you don’t like to sing, so that you might hear what the Spirit is saying to the church.
We will also share communion.  IF that doesn’t entice you, come early and hang out after for the picnic.
We kick-off summer with Songfest, Supper, Sunday Funday. See you there!

Rev Bev

Sing to God; sing praises to his name;

lift up a song to him who rides upon the clouds—

his name is the Lord—

be exultant before him. Ps 68: 4


Fresh Wind

May 25, 2023
Today is the anniversary of the murder of George Floyd. Can you breathe any better today than the 3 years and 1 day ago?
Perhaps you are offended by the way people have used the Christian name to pronounce a white nationalist agenda, or any number of dehumanizing paths of bigotry, misogyny, heterosexism, and hatred. Perhaps you can’t find a spiritual space to breathe, to find hope that faith in something greater than ourselves is present and at work to bring peace and abundant life for all. It that is you, you are waiting on the Wind. That is, you are waiting on a life-giving breath of fresh air.
Perhaps you are looking for something other than “traditional” church-life. Check out this innovative pastor (who happens to be a friend of mine), Marthame Sanders. His podcast church is called aijcast: art inspiration justice. In his words, “we explore the connections between the artist and their art, their sources of and hopes for inspiration, and how it all tries to make the world a better place.”
If you need places that touch your spirit through art or music, this might be the place.
His church just might help you breathe and work for a better world.
And join St. Andrew online or in-person on Sundays, 10:00 a.m eastern, as we, too, seek fresh winds of the Holy creating a space where everybody belongs, and can breathe.


Ordinary Time

May 18, 2023

So teach us to count our days that we may gain a wise heart. Ps 90: 12

How much longer?
Are you counting the days? Yes, to your vacation, probably. Or at least until school is out and routines and traffic and crowd patterns change. Churches do, count days that is.

Three Sundays away is Trinity Sunday and then—Ordinary Time begins! 

In other words, we are counting days until the next holy day (holiday). People look forward to soul-refreshing moments. Perhaps we need to pay attention to soul-sucking lifestyles that make us look for something better, and anxious to get away from our ordinary lives. Imagine if everyday was a holiday. Imagine creating a life to which every morning was a breath of fresh air and you couldn’t wait to start the day. Imagine opening your eyes excited about the adventure ahead, the possibility that something wonder-full was about to happen.

I’ve been thinking about two aspects of churchy life. One is the soul-draining busy-ness of church. Planning, meetings, leading, fixing, recruiting, meetings, promoting, administering, did I mention meetings? Business as usual. And that doesn’t take into account the upkeep of property.

Within this administration is ministry. When a person is working within their spiritual gifts, business to one becomes purpose to another. As a pastor I have enjoyed a great sense of purpose. I have also had days when I wondered if what I was doing makes any difference. In my work, I have discovered that everyone I meet has that spiritual quest in common. We all want to know our own lives mattered and made a difference, to someone, to anyone. We want purpose.

Burned out or Breathing?
If you are feeling burned out by yor ordinary life, by your work, or by your church work, ready for a break, hoping no one asks anything else of you—take the gift of Sabbath. During that time, patiently, prayerfully, joyfully, studiously, honestly ask, “what’s the point and where do I fit best?” Allow yourself time in your ordinary day, the counting down time, to think about the coming of the holy moments when you have said, “this was worth it.” 
If you’re looking, feel free to join us at St. Andrew as we, too, learn together about our God-given purpose. 

And whatever you do, breathe. “Breathe in peace. Breathe out love.” (song here)

Breathe in the wonder of new sunlight and summer showers. Breathe in the gifts of summer laughter whenever you can. Breathe in the pace of people being away, or present during summer travels. Let the wonder of Ordinary Time become the way to the holy in every day. You might also note, once you’re on that getaway, there is a moment when you start to think, “how much longer,” until I go back.
Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, so that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. Ps 90: 14
 We count our days. Let’s make each one count.


Changing Earth Changing Ourselves

May 11, 2023

I recently watched the documentary, “The Year the Earth Changed.” Our world came to life when human beings went into hibernation during the 2020 lockdown. People in India saw the Himalayas from their homes hundreds of miles away for the first time. Whales fished in community while their calves were safe in the distance, because “mom” could hear them if needed. The same was true for Cheetahs who could hunt and then call their cubs from hiding more safely. Penguins survived in Cape Town because they could fish and feed more than once a day. Turtles survived in record numbers because beaches were deserted. New ways to manage food harvests were developed in lands where elephants needed management, increasing the human harvest and feeding the animals. This real time event demonstrated the devastating impact human choices have made on our environment.

It also showed us, especially Christians who believe we are meant to care for creation, that whatever we can do to make a positive impact we are called to do for the glory of God.

Maybe you are like me. A lot of good intentions and some labor towards change. Recycling. Trying to eliminate plastic. Reusable shopping bags and, from time to time, I even remember to take my dishes to restaurants for my leftovers to keep from bringing home another Styrofoam box. I have a confession. I’m not very good at earth stewardship.

“You shall not withhold the wages of poor and needy laborers,
whether other Israelites or aliens who reside in your land in one of your towns.” Deut 24: 14
 Fair Trade
Saturday is Fair Trade Day in the PCUSA. Fair Trade certified products have to meet particular labor, material, and growing conditions that are just. There are a number of organizations that support Fair Trade practices. Check out this PCUSA website as one example of the impact of shopping Fair Trade:


SAPC is committed to a number of hunger ministry opportunities. We also contribute to the One Great Hour of Sharing, which supports reducing hunger. Fair Trade is part of the Presbyterian Hunger Program.

Jesus said, “do you love me,” and his disciple replied, ““Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.” John 21: 17
Practicing Peace and Love
I’ve been thinking about the ways I shop. Why don’t I always buy fair trade goods? Sometimes they are not available. However, remember when there were no organic products in the grocery? Now there are whole sections and the prices are drawing closer and closer to equal or better than non-certified organic.

We can have the same impact if we ask our stores about fair trade products.

We can have a positive impact if we served Fair Trade coffee and tea here at church and home.

This week I invite you to learn more about Fair Trade products and let’s strive together to do one thing this month to support Fair Trade. In this way we may,

Practice peace and love through acts of healing and reconciliation.
From the 2023 Ministry Plan, SAPC


Names Matter

May 4, 2023
What’s in a name?

“So she named the Lord who spoke to her, “You are El-roi.” (Gen 16: 13)

Hagar, an enslaved woman, impregnated by her mistress’s husband and then cast out and abandoned, is met in the wilderness by God. She is the first in the Scripture to name God: El-roi—God who sees.

Generations later, another enslaved person, Moses, encounters El-roi in the wilderness, in the apparition of a burning bush. But he does not know this name and says to the enlightened one, “If they ask, ‘what is his name, what shall I say to them?’” The name offered is not fully translatable but is considered to mean, “I am,” or “I will be who I will be.” It is considered so holy that Jews do not speak the name.

God names some of the people in Scripture: Abram becomes Abraham, and Sarai becomes Sarah, and Jacob becomes Israel. John the baptizer, and Jesus both received their names from God.

“You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God,
for the Lord will not acquit anyone who misuses his name.” (Exodus 20: 7)
Naming matters.
It defines relationships, unites families, and often confers power to the one who gives the name for another. It binds a person to their word and their works. The way we use another’s name can hurt or help us connect.

Jesus once asked his disciples, “Who do you say that I am.” He was asking about how his life and ministry was understood by them. He was asking whether the witness he offered to the people was helping them understand the relationship God wanted with them.

Names matter. Have you had your name mispronounced? Or been confused with another? Or been forgotten? Have you had nicknames you loved, given by people you cared about? Or names you wanted to get rid of but couldn’t?

Imagine for a moment spending your entire life being called by the wrong name? Imagine not being able to convince people to use your proper name? Such disrespect is almost inconceivable. Yet, across our county and nation, lawmakers are prohibiting people from naming themselves, and choosing pronouns that match their name. “Who do you say that I am,” our trans neighbors want to know. Their teachers are being forbidden, or freed from being required, to call students by their chosen names.

St. Andrew is a beacon of peace and love where everybody belongs for such a time as this!
Let us, called by the name of Christ Jesus, who believe that human beings bear the image of God, who love God, always love our neighbors as ourselves. When they ask us, “who do you say I am,” use the name by which they introduce themselves, and the pronouns they request, just like you do for every other human being you meet. Just like you want when you introduce yourself.

Really, it is that simple. Even Shakespeare got it, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”


Wake Up

April 27, 2023

Wake up.
SAPC is aiming to be a place “where everybody belongs.”

what are humans that you are mindful of them,
    mortals that you care for them?

Yet you have made them a little lower than God
    and crowned them with glory and honor.
Ps 8: 4-5

“Grooming.” “Woke.” Two words that have become politically divisive language instead of being words which describe the forces that shape our behavior and thinking in particular matters. All of us have been groomed on some level regarding sexuality and other interests. All of us have awakened on some level to disparities between the races, and genders.

Being woke allows me to recognize misogyny and racism (and other sins). Just think of clothing and the way we characterize women’s bodies based on what they wear. No one is banning “Victor, Victoria” with Julie Andrews, or complaining about women wearing business suits with pants to work, only drag shows where men and transwomen wear women’s clothes to their work as entertainers. The anti-drag movement is a statement of grooming about their (de-) valuing of women and the shaming of men and transwomen “acting” like a woman, dressing like a woman.

Being woke is what allowed me to gasp in shock earlier this week when I read that Monday was a state holiday in AL and MS to celebrate Confederate Memorial Day. Yes, they still do that.

Wake up and strengthen what remains and is on the point of death, for I have not found your works perfect in the sight of my God. Remember, then, what you received and heard; obey it and repent. If you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you. Rev 3: 2-3

 Grooming is subtle and pervasive.
Now, I have a great-great-grandpa whose picture hung over the bed I used to sleep in when I visited my grandaunt. He was scary looking to my little self. His hands were crossed in front of him, large and swollen.

I was told he was a war veteran, got shot, hence permanent swelling in his hands, and was a POW. We honored his status as a Confederate soldier. He owned a few slaves, “but he was good and treated them well.” I lived in Stone Mountain, GA, where the granite outcropping became home of the 1915 re-birth of the KKK, and is a state park monument to the confederacy. Though acknowledging our family history, no one in the circles my family were part of ever behaved in overt racist actions, nor spoke ugly of Black people.

(Is there any way to describe racism that is glad it was only this much and not that?)

Nevertheless, from sleeping under a soldier’s watchful gaze to celebrating the completion of the carving on the mountain, I was groomed by my familial and societal experiences to know my place as a white child of the south.

Becoming woke is the arc of the moral universe–it is bending always toward justice!
Today, April 27, 2023, is a day to celebrate. Because Americans continue to become woke, we are slowly erasing the honor we bestow on reprehensible behavior and public action. Today, a US Army post will be renamed, Fort Gregg-Adams. The general whose face remains on Stone Mountain will no longer be the inspiration for our soldiers’ service at this post in Virginia.

Instead, LTG Arthur Gregg and LTC Charity Adams, a Black man who rose from private to 3-star general, and a Black woman who was the first Black officer in the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps and the first to lead a predominately Black unit in overseas service, will be the face of history for our current servicemembers.

Following Christ, who lived and died and rose again that the whole world might be saved, surely we are called to be woke from the sorry history (old and currently being made) that grooms us to believe powerful, white men are the one and only supreme definition of full humanity. We strive to be like Christ, who creates a new humanity, in which all people bear God’s image, and together, equally, reflect the glory of God.

As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek; there is no longer slave or free; there is no longer male and female, for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. Gal 3: 27-28

Will you join St. Andrew PC as we strive to be a beacon of peace and love where everybody belongs?


2022 Blog Posts are archived HERE.