Tuesday, April 19, 2011


An Inkling
It doesn’t get any better for the Elders of our church than this:  we were gathered to hear Rachel, Geoffrey, and Matt tell about their faith in Jesus.  Dwight Hedges, our Director of Student Ministries, had been meeting with them for ten weeks, and they were more than ready – even if a bit nervous.
Here are some of the questions they answered:
§       If Jesus Christ has shown us what God is like, then what do you know about God from having observed Jesus? 
§       Can you affirm that you are ready to follow Jesus, and that you consider him as your Savior and Lord? 
§       What people or events have led you to trust Jesus? 
§       What does the word “Trinity” mean? 
§       What are some meanings of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper? 
§       What are the missions of the church?  What part of the mission appeals to you?
The zeal and understanding with which they answered truly blessed the Elders.  Now they’ll complete their profession of faith during worship this Sunday.
What qualifies them to do so?  The right answers to the questions?  No.  They are no more qualified to be a follower of Jesus now than they were five years ago, when defining the Trinity would have been a stretch.  They’ve not been qualified; they’ve been confirmed.  Thus our term for this process:  confirmation.
They have a role in this.  They have studied so that they can profess their faith with understanding.  So they are confirming their faith. 
But more importantly, they are being confirmed by the One who has used all manner of things to form them in Christ:  from the vows their parents spoke at their baptisms, to a thousand family prayers, to scores of Sunday School classes and student ministry outings.  Having been confirmed, they are now ready to stand in worship this Sunday and confirm what they believe.
Then, with the rest of us, they’ll get to confirm that belief by the ways they live.  And it only adds to the joy that we get to do so together.  God’s goodness has been yet again…

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Week that Rubs Off on Us

An Inkling
We call it “Holy Week.”  But that doesn’t mean that it’s made of silver or gives off mysterious smoke.  In the scripture the word “holy” first describes God, and the quality of his being that sets him apart from the ordinary.  God is holy, and through Jesus we are welcomed into his holy pres­ence, and are even made holy ourselves.
What is Holy Week?  Its celebration goes back at least to fourth century Jerusalem.  It’s no surprise that the saints there, with the places of the passion all around, would come to celebrate the events leading to Jesus’ resurrection.  The custom soon spread, and so Holy Week has been celebrat­ed ever since.
So how is a week holy?  The simple answer is that it is not.  It’s no different than any other week, in that we celebrate Jesus’ death and resurrection every week.  Yet the church discov­ered that our every week celebration is enhanced by a special week with a singular focus on the last week of Jesus’ earthly life.  For in that week the holiness of God was most clearly revealed.  Thus its celebration is called “Holy Week.”
Holy Week begins this Sunday with Palm Sunday.  We’ll celebrate the Lord’s glorious entry into Jerusalem and his reign in our lives.  Then comes Maundy Thursday.  “Maun­dy” is from the Latin word mandatum (mandate), recalling that Jesus mandated his remembrance in bread and cup.  Our service is at 7:00 p.m.  On Good Friday we will gather at noon for a service that focuses upon the cross.  Then on Easter, we’ll have a grand resurrection celebration at each of our worship services.
What are you doing for Holy Week?  How about following a centuries old tradition by gathering with other Christians to worship the One who is wholly holy.  Part of the good news is that it (God’s holiness) does rub off, making for…
Holy Presbyterians!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


An Inkling
How do we describe ourselves?  At St. Giles we describe ourselves via website, mission statement, E-News, and signs.  Each has its purpose. 
Now we also have a slogan.  A slogan has to be short and catchy – short enough to fit on a sign or a website banner, and hopefully catchy enough to be memorable without being trivial.  We wanted something that captured our essence as a church.
The Session has been seeking a slogan for months, and now we believe we have it:  Christ for All – All for Christ.  That’s not a play on the Three Musketeers’ slogan.  It’s who we are in brief.  Here’s what we mean:
·      The One God sent for the salvation of the world is Jesus Christ.  He is the beginning and end of what God is doing in the world, and in our lives.
·      Not Christ reduced to convenient size, but Christ in all his fullness and scandal, Christ in his radical claim to be God’s unique provision for salvation, and in his equally radical outreach to all, Christ the Lord of each life and all creation.
… for All…
·      We respect all people and religions, but we humbly take up Christ’s own radical claim to be uniquely the Savior and Lord of the world.
·      We seek to love as Christ loved, reaching across all divides, be they personal, global, or something in between.
… All…
·      Through his love Jesus Christ has captured us: heart, soul, mind, and strength!
·      We intend to live under his lordship, and to practice the spiritual disciplines that foster this intention.
·      Those disciplines include worship, study, prayer, solitude, silence, service, fasting, simplicity, and fellowship.  Through such disciplines God advances his reign in our lives.
… for Christ.
·      Finally a purpose big enough to live for!   All we have, are, and do is for Jesus Christ – not Christ as we imagine him, but as he is portrayed in the scripture, and described in our creeds.
·      Thus we decide how to use our time, energy, and money by no lesser standard than this:  is it ultimately for Christ and his Kingdom?
How’s that for bold?  We’re not there yet, but we’re on our way – with Jesus!  What a privilege!