The Extravaganza!

Today’s post is written by Travis Baker, our Youth Minister.

Each year, over the last weekend of January, Youth Ministers and volunteers across the ELCA come together in one place to think, discuss and reflect on our various congregational contexts and what it looks like to work with children, youth and families. This year, over 1000 people gathered in Detroit to take part in worship, mass gatherings, workshops, and roundtable discussions, all centered on the theme of Story. The idea of Story has become sort of a buzzword in youth ministry the past few couple of years. Many of us, as we’ve gathered and talked and dreamed about the direction youth ministry seems to be taking, have been caught up in the idea of story. What stories are our congregations telling? What stories are our youth telling? Is there a disconnect between those two or are they on the same page? And, perhaps most importantly, what is the story we are being called to in the days and months ahead?

As I spend my time reflecting on the ideas presented and the conversations engaged in over the weekend in Detroit, I can’t help but continue to reflect on the work of our youth ministry in the language of story. We all share our stories with others. Our worship on Sunday morning is a great gathering in the midst of an incredible and long-told story that has us as players on a grand stage. When we gather over meals or water coolers or wander through the hallways of our schools, we are constantly speaking in terms of story. This is a major facet in how our community is forged.

Yet we often continue to march on without a second thought as to what story we are actually telling. Each step we take, each person we come into contact with, each prayer we offer up, becomes a part of the story that we tell with our life. And that story is intricately linked with the stories that others tell around us, to the point where we often find that our story shares many similarities with others. And as I reflect on this, I think of our Confirmation class, which has been telling and retelling the stories of our faith all year long, through many different mediums. Week after week they are challenged to share of their own stories and the intersection their story has with the grand story God is telling alongside of us. Then they relate these stories through puppet shows, through art they create, through skits and songs and poems that they then present to the rest of their fellow Confirmands. And as we work through the year, we as adults working and learning beside our youth find that the stories of our faith have so much more depth to them than previous thought, all because we have found where our stories exist inside the stories of God’s people as related in the scriptures.

So as we journey through our days, let us keep our eyes open to the stories that are being told around us. Let us look at others and catch a glimpse of their stories so we can see the world through their eyes. Let us find new ways to share of our own stories and, above all, let us remember that we are part of a story that is bigger than any of us but is not possible to be told without us.

Day by Day

Here’s the prayer of the day for Sunday.  See if you recognize any of the words…

“Thanks be to you, Lord Jesus Christ, most merciful redeemer,
for the countless blessings and benefits you give.
May we know you more clearly, love you more dearly,
and follow you more nearly, day by day praising you,
with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever. Amen”

Perhaps you thought of our fall theatre production, Godspell, which had this song in it.  It’s at this point that you might wonder if the worship planners have fallen off the deep end?

While the prayer is a song from the famous drama Godspell, the original source of the song comes from the medieval church.  Richard of Chichester, a thirteenth-century bishop of Chichester, England, and a reformer of the church wrote this famous prayer.  This Sunday’s Bible readings focus on our answer to God’s call.  We hear about that with the story of Samuel and Eli, as St. Paul talks about glorifying God with our bodies, and finally as the disciples hear an invitation to “come and see.”  So as we gather this weekend to hear God’s Word and share in the Lord’s Supper, think about the ways in which you can know, love, and follow God.

Thanks!

First of all, welcome to our blog!  We plan on updating you on things that are going on at Zion by using this blog on an occasional basis.

Now onto the main reason for writing this blog – Thanks!

The Advent and Christmas seasons are two of the busiest seasons of the church year. While many people talk about how busy pastors and church staff are during this time of the year, we know that we couldn’t do what we do without you. We give God thanks for the many ways you gave of your time and energy to make Advent and Christmas at Zion so meaningful. Specifically, we want to lift up:

-The altar guild. They are unsung heroes that work diligently on a weekly basis to help set the Lord’s Table.
-Our ushers, who stood at the ready to welcome friend and stranger through the church’s doors.
-Communion assistants, acolytes, torch bearers, book bearers, and other worship assistants that provided leadership in worship.
-Those who helped to decorate our sanctuary for Advent and Christmas.
-The many musical ensembles of Zion helped us see God’s glory through the gift of music.
-The people that came out the Saturday after Christmas Day to cook and serve the homeless in our community with Taking it to the Streets were a sign of God’s love to the least of God’s family.
-The people who provided gifts for children at our partner congregation in El Cenizo, TX and St. P-J’s home here in San Antonio provided Christmas cheer.
-Our Stephen Ministers who were present for the Hope and Healing Service offered a tangible sign of God’s promise.
-The many ways you showed God’s love to us through your presence.
-Your generous gifts to the pastors and staff at Christmas.

We are a blessed Church and give God thanks for what is to come in 2015!

Yours in Christ,

Pastors Schulte and Peek

Welcome to Zion Lutheran Church’s Blog Site

Here you will find ongoing discussions and sharing of information. We welcome your comments and ideas. Think of this as two-way communication between ourselves and you. Thank you for sharing,

Pastor Dave Schulte and Pastor Russell Peek