My father, Bob Collins, died yesterday afternoon. Funeral arrangements are pending. I appreciate all the prayers you have prayed and the space you have given me.
As far as my work as your pastor it may be somewhat hard to catch me for a bit. Please know that I won’t purposely ignore your phone calls (unless you’re selling church supplies or extended car warranties). If you can’t reach me on my cell phone and or if I don’t return your voicemail, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Pam Simpson in the church office at 785-263-2623 and leave a message with her.
In the church’s east parking lot, close to the office entrance, there is a small island that contains two, rather large, trees. For years there was no grass, not even weeds, around those trees, just dirt, and it seemed as if nothing would ever grow there. Then, over time, Diedre Dunham brought in a couple of different kinds of groundcover clippings from home and filled in all the bare spots. I just walked in this morning and noticed how beautiful, how Edenesque, that little bit of ground was. Keep your eyes open. The beauty of God’s good creation is everywhere.
All of the Easter Lilies from Sunday have now been delivered to shut-ins. The lilies were all very well received and it was a wonderful way to extend our Easter worship service outside the walls of the building.
Over at slate.com Forrest Wickman cites three explanations for why we refer to Good Friday as “Good.” Here’s his conclusion:
The third and final theory, the one supported by both the Oxford English Dictionary [OED] and every language expert I contacted, is that the name comes from an antiquated meaning of good. “The answer seems pretty clearly to be that it’s from good ‘holy,’ ” responded Jesse Sheidlower, the president of the American Dialect Society, when I put this question to him. Liberman agreed, noting that if you consider the other names for Good Friday—“Sacred Friday” in the Romance languages (Viernes Santo, e.g.), “Passion Friday” in Russian—“the OED’s explanation makes excellent sense.” The OED also notes that there was once Good Wednesday, the Wednesday before Easter, which these days is more commonly known as Holy Wednesday.
That explanation also encourages me in my use of “Holy Thursday” instead of “Maundy Thursday.”
I received the proofs for our two new banner designs today. I thought I would crowdsource the proofreading by posting them here. If you see anything that needs to be changed, please let me know at email@example.com.
Like most of Abilene, I grieved when the Great Plains Theatre building burned to the ground last year, but I have to say hosting their summer camps has been a pleasure. It’s been wonderful to have a basement filled with (mostly) happy children and youth.
It’s December 29 and most of the secular and commercial signs of Christmas are long gone, but for those of us who are Christian it is only the fifth day of Christmas, we have seven more to go. The day after that, (January 6) is Epiphany when we celebrate the fact that Jesus, a Jewish Messiah, came for Gentiles as well as Jews (epitomized by the visit of the Gentile magi). There is a great deal of celebrating left to do and the culture at large is leaving us alone to do it—for which I’m thankful, it gives us the opportunity to focus on what really matters. I encourage you to join me in using the remaining holidays (literally, the holy days of Christmas and Epiphany) to celebrate and rejoice in God’s great gift of the Word made flesh.
Jenny has pointed out to me that I began officially serving as a pastor at the Piedmont and Climax United Methodist Churches on July 1, 1994. This means that I’ve completed 20 years of pastoral service in the United Methodist Church. It is a wonderful thing to be at Abilene First and I’m looking forward to spending year 21 with all of you.
I want to take a moment and thank all the people who responded to my previous post, “I Need An Attitude Adjustment.” Your commiseration, support, and suggestions helped me get back to a place where I can again demonstrate the love and hospitality of Jesus. Thank you.