Pastor’s Piece: Beginning on the same page
In years past, “weekly text study” was most often the domain of preachers. Neighboring, collegial preachers committed themselves to meet with peers weekly to prepare for next week’s sermon. Pastor Alison George and I commit to this good work on late Tuesday mornings at St. Paul’s church office. Not to be confused with texting and phone time, I choose to call this Scriptural text study time Our Weekly Reader, with a nod to the beloved educational children’s magazine. Together we read the assigned Scripture readings from the Revised Common Lectionary and begin to ponder preaching themes. We begin on the same page.
Now I invite you to begin on the same page with me in daily devotion. I’ll call this “Our Daily Reader.” Perhaps you will choose the same book as I, or perhaps you will choose another devotional. The spiritual teacher I have chosen is Ignatius of Loyola, who was a contemporary of Martin Luther; they lived five centuries ago. In “An Ignatian Book of Days,” author and editor Jim Manney writes that the Ignatian lens of spirituality is the conviction that “we can find God in all things, that our personal experience can provide authentic knowledge of God, that Christ beckons us to join him in his work of saving and healing the world, that God is the endless giver of gifts, that the inner life of the heart and our feelings reveal the leadings of God.” (Page vi of Jim Manney’s “An Ignatian Book of Days”).
In study, learning and reflection, we have many teachers. A Jesuit priest named Ignatius who lived in the 16th century is not my usual teacher. He was a Counter-Reformation priest! Yet I anticipate I will be changed through his way of inviting me to live a deeper spiritual life.
As the school and fall schedules begin, let’s open ourselves to the teachings of those outside our usual experience. You’ll notice the title “Movable Teach” in this issue. In some adult forums and children’s sermons and presentations, “The Teach” will be your pastor. But many more times, we trust, “The Teach” will be faithful lay leaders who prepare and offer so that all of us may learn and grow in our faith. The stirring of the Holy Spirit may surprise.
Isaiah 11:6 tells us that “…and a little child shall lead them.” Perhaps the confirmation adult mentors will discover themselves learning from the middle-school confirmand; perhaps the Sunday morning forum leaders will receive insights from someone they don’t expect; perhaps the Sunday school teachers and staff will discover that the children teach them; and, undoubtedly, this pastor will learn volumes as we share in our life together. We receive from the Great Teacher, and we are called to live faithfully.
May we check our sources. The page where we begin is important. May the information that we feed ourselves in media and language reflect the one who is our Source and Life as proclaimed in the first verses of the Gospel of John:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.
In Christ, may we begin and end our days!
Pastor Rebecca Aardahl
Movable Teach: Sundays, September 22 & 29
The Sunday sessions of “The Movable Teach” (adult learning classes) will begin Sunday, September 22, in the sanctuary after worship. That day and continuing on September 29, we will cover and discuss actions taken at the 2019 ELCA Churchwide Assembly last month in Milwaukee. We plan to cover the actions taken, history of the processes leading to those actions, and what those actions might mean for Ascension as well as the entire ELCA. To read a news release on the assembly’s actions, go to elca.org/News-and-Events/8003. If you have ideas for topics or questions, contact Rick Moler at 307- 630-1861.
Movable Teach: Wednesdays during September
At 11 a.m. on Wednesdays in September adults are invited by pastor to come when you can to an hour study in the upper fellowship fall. Bring your Bible. Let pastor know if you have a copy of “By Heart: Conversations with Luther’s Small Catechism.” She will take book orders when she knows the participants and book availability.
Art gallery needs last floral blast
As our gardens sport their last fall blooms, share some for our art gallery displays. Vases are available at the church to use or bring your own. In addition, look at the world map being used to highlight places you would like to visit. Contact Sid Strand at 307-231-9694.
Choir rehearses Wednesdays
Ascension’s choir is looking for new members. Rehearsals will be at 6 p.m. on Wednesdays, September 11, 18 and 25 for singing at worship services on Sundays, September 15, 22 and 29. Contact choir director Jane Iverson or simply come to rehearsal.
How to reach Pastor Rebecca
Pastor Rebecca anticipates taking Monday as a “day off” and using Friday as a “sermon-writing day at home” although she will be available on Friday to handle congregant needs as they arise. She plans to be in the office on Saturday from noon through the worship time and meal. Her email is [email protected] To call or text her: 701-527-4342. For those who prefer to use a 307 area code number, leave a voicemail message at the church office at 634-6575. If you call during regular church office hours from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday–Friday, Mandy Roth, church secretary, will help you connect with her.
COMEA volunteers needed September 22
Volunteers from the congregation are needed for the COMEA meal preparation on Sunday, September 22. Six to eight cooks/servers are needed to prepare and serve the dinner. Food preparation starts at 2 p.m. and continues until 5:20 when the dinner is placed in vehicles for transport to COMEA. Serving takes place from 6–7 p.m., then back to the church to finish cleanup and unload utensils. A sign-up sheet is available in the narthex. For planning purposes, Ascension’s rotation the next month will be October 27. For information, contact RC Reiman.