A couple years ago we went cobia fishing. The cobia never showed up, but some sharks did. It was fun.
This year we went cobia fishing again. And once again, cobia proved elusive. But we did see some turtles. This one was particularly interesting. We thought it was eating a jellyfish, but in looking at the picture now it's clear that its actual meal is horseshoe crab.
I had a dream last night. In it, I was called to another church. It was a big church. It had a large staff. It had expansive and beautiful buildings. It wasn’t exactly clear how I got there. In the dream, I wasn’t looking for a new church. It was just one of those situations where one thing lead to another, and all of a sudden, there I was.
And the truth is, it wasn’t a dream. It was a nightmare. Because the most vivid thing about the dream is the feeling that where I really wanted to be was back at St. Matthew’s. I was never so relieved as when I woke up and realized that I still get to be is with you, the people I have worked so hard with and with whom I have fallen so deeply in love.
Because in the end, that’s what a church really is. It’s a group of people. And there is no group of people I’d rather be with than you.
During the summer, it’s easy to let church slip to the back burner. Part of what makes summer summer is that we let our normal routines go in order to take vacations or to go places or do activities we can’t do during the heavily scheduled school or work year. I get that.
And even in life in general, it’s easy for one thing to lead to another and for church to drop out of the picture. Life happens, as they say. I get that too.
Maybe God gave me that dream not just to remind me of what is so good about St. Matthew’s, but also to remind you as well. And so as summer draws to a close, I hope we will all make a point of coming together once again to do the work that God has given us to do: the work of knowing and sharing God’s love. Perhaps Back To Church Sunday on August 30 is the perfect time for all of us to do just that.
Because the thing is, what makes St. Matt’s St. Matt’s is… well, it’s you. I so look forward to seeing you there! With much love and affection, Rob+
One of the things I’ve learned in talking to people over the years is that a great many of us feel a certain wistfulness as summer draws to a close. Maybe it’s the kids going back to school or heading off to college. Maybe it’s the end of summer vacations, of relaxed days coming home a bit early to spend some extra time outside, maybe firing up the grill with some friends. Maybe it’s the cool air sneaking in during the night, or the garden beginning to go by. Whatever it is, there is a sense of melancholy hiding off in the shadows, a sense of nostalgia that wishes the halcyon day of summer would never end.
But they do end. Summer gives way to fall. Youth fades. Children grow up.
If one is even the least bit mindful, a sense of loss is inescapable. What are we to do with all this?
For some time now, this is one of those questions that I’ve been turning over not only in my mind, but also in my heart and soul. And I think I’m finally at a place where I can pull those thoughts together, along with insights I’ve picked up from a number of different sources, and formulate something of an answer.
If you’re interested, that’ll be the topic of this weekend’s sermon at St. Matt’s. As always, we’d love to have you join us.
Actually, I don't really believe that. I'm in the camp that tends to think that men can be as different from other men, and women from other women, as they can be from each other. Still, it does seem to me that men and women often do have very different ideas of what makes for a great vacation...
While unpacking in a new city, I’ve been flooded with memories as I open boxes filled with t-shirts of every color from years of VBS.
What does VBS mean to me? It means special moments when the band rocks the church, the kitchen crew scurries to feed the masses, the games, crafts, and drama bring awe and smiles to kids of all ages. VBS is a chance for kids, teens, and adults to travel together as a crew building friendships. Bible verses and stories reaffirm the faith of some and introduce our faith to others. Teen nights after VBS are magical! Bonding over bowling, ice cream, or an outdoor movie are all special times at church. What is better than teens who want to spend time at church?
Over the years, VBS has been a way that our family grew in faith. Whether practicing hand motions to songs, making sample crafts for demo, trying out a game, or decorating the church, my three kids (who are now all young adults) all have such special memories growing up at Saint Matthew’s. VBS helped them to remember Bible verses, to share love and kindness with newcomers, and to keep their faith through rough times and life transitions. For me, it was always the best week of my summer!
Many folks ask which year was my favorite. I can’t answer because each year holds so many very special moments. Volcanoes, ranch hands, crocodiles, an airplane in the parish hall, a Biblical periodic table, and the backdrop of the African plain-they were all crazy ideas that allowed kids to discover God in a creative way. It wasn’t really about the theme, it was about the people.
VBS is a time when everyone does church together! A community of folks all moving in the same direction, to know and share God’s love. It takes a village for it all to happen, and it’s so much fun to be a part of. Spending time together whether you are that six year old in the pew and meeting your crew on the first night, or as a sixty year old volunteering as the photographer, the magic happens and you will feel God’s love. I will be praying that you all have a wonderful VBS and I hope that you are able to take time to be present with each other.
What an awesome way to spend time this summer! Peace, Jodie Leach
"Would you like me to take your picture?" I asked the young woman. She was taking a picture of her friend, and I thought maybe she'd like a picture of the two of them together. "No," she replied, "We just wanted a picture of the donuts. We waited an hour for them!"
They had arrived at the donut store--Duck Donuts, as I trust you have gathered--at 6AM...
She went on. "Some guy ordered 16 dozen."
"Uh, that would be me..." I admitted sheepishly. And then quickly added, "But I did order them a week ago."
"Oh," she said. "So you waited a week for them? I guess an hour wasn't so bad!" We laughed.
And the donuts? Holy cow--they were every bit as good as everyone says. Maybe better even. Especially the ones with maple icing and bacon.
But you know what was even better? Being able to do something nice for the folks at St. Matt's who do so much for others. For each and every one of the folks I am privileged to serve, I will be eternally grateful.
"Blue lining" is a term fishermen use for finding unnamed, unexplored steams that are basically just a blue line on a topographic map. It takes a lot of research, but the rewards are worth it. They just don't always include finding fish.
I recently hiked about three miles pretty much straight down a mountain only to find a shallow stream that quickly went underground. Dang--not what I was looking for. All that was left to do now was the brutal three mile hike that was pretty much straight back up the mountain. Turned out, though, that it was worth it. I saw a scarlet tanager just as I reached the top.
There were also lots of interesting--and beautiful--wild flowers. And lots of solitude, always a plus in my book.
After climbing back out, there was still time to hit another stream close by. It had a few fish.