Each week, our pastor, Rev. Dr. Tom MacMillan publishes a special Monday Message to the members of our community. These messages are thoughtful pieces meant to help us all reflect on our faith throughout the week. Rev. MacMillan encourages our community to live a life of faith every day. Monday Messages provide thoughts, reflections, and insights into becoming faithful Christians.
We email out the Monday Message weekly to those who have opted in to receive our updates. If you would like to be included on this list, please email us or call the Church Office at 440-777-3744. Our archives of the weekly Monday Messages are posted below in chronological order.
Monday Message 02-27-17
We're about to step into the season of Lent and some are apprehensive.It is a holy season that wakes us up to our real life; the life we long to live.But we may not be real fired up about looking at the ways we avoid each other, bypass truth, and go numb far too quickly.
We may be apprehensive while engaging silence, caring for the needy, welcoming the stranger, or following Jesus. But when we are brave and humble, we grow. We create space for deeper desires, more noble thoughts, and honest engagement with our loving God and our fellow travelers. But be aware
(David Foster Wallace)
But let go we will, of all that hurts and divides us, of all that belittles and diminishes another, of all that blocks the love of God from being seen and known by everyone of us. Together, let's keep a holy Lent and be free.
Monday Message 02-13-17
A friend of mine gave me a helpful way of understanding anxiety. He said it's ok to let anxiety get on the bus with you. Just don't let it drive.
Somehow we can acknowledge that anxiety or loneliness or anger are present, they just got on the bus. But we can operate with freedom and balance knowing that they will soon get off. For that time they are on, sit with them. Say hi. You don't really need to change behavior or steer a different course. You want to be free for a greater good. Anxiety may be alerting us to our need for guidance and care. Loneliness may be reminding us that we are wired for relationship and have need of God and one another. We do well to acknowledge that they are there and then say goodbye as they make their way off the bus.
If we are seeking the Kingdom of God first (Matthew 6:33), if God is sovereign and worthy of our trust (Proverbs 4:5-6), if the Lord is our Shepherd (Psalm 23), then we don't need another driver and we're free to sit with the various guest that join us on the journey of life entrusting them and all of life into God's loving care and amazing grace.
Monday Message 02-06-17
I appreciate how Rev. Dr. Al Hart, after 59 years of ordained ministry, handles change as a Parish Associate here at John Knox. If he is preaching and has chosen a new or unfamiliar hymn to accompany his sermon, he offers the following assurance:
"I need to tell you that this is a new hymn. For some, this will be your first time singing it. Others might be somewhat familiar with it. I want you to know that we're going to be OK. I even think you might come to appreciate this new hymn."
So let me tell you, members and friends of John Knox Presbyterian, we are at a new and important time in the life of our congregation. We are living within our means and are probably feeling the crunch a little bit. We are looking at budgets that have been trimmed down, salaries that have been reduced, and support for missions cut in half. This can naturally create some anxiety and uncertainty.
For some, this is the first time hearing of the church needing to make cuts and minimize reliance on endowments. For others, you've been aware of this need and are grateful that tough decisions have been made. I want you to know that we're going to be OK.
I am listening to people talk about creating greater participation in worship, offering parenting classes, hosting a healing service, writing for the Lenten Guide, leading a seminar on Planned Giving, putting together welcome packets for visitors, hosting a fish fry, getting trained to better help the needy, increasing their pledge to the unified budget, taking responsibility for the food pantry. Friends, that's just this week.
Imagine if this momentum keeps building?
But first, we need to name the fact that we're going to experience the jitters and feel a bit unsteady. That's OK. That's when we grow and come to rely more heavily upon the dynamic work of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In the full assurance of God's love in Christ, we plow our row and move with joy into the world (see the podcast of Jessie's sermon from Sunday beginning at minute 32.)
My hunch is we might just come to appreciate what God can do with a few jitters.
Monday Message 01-23-17
Funny what happens to your pulse when you're called on. The heart starts racing and the mind lights up.
Blind Bartimaeus was sitting by the side of the road when he heard that Jesus was passing by (Mark 10:46-52). He cried out for mercy, was scolded for being too loud but continued to cry out. He knew he wanted mercy and he knew he needed Jesus.
Jesus heard the cry and hears all cries; shouted, whispered, or silent. Jesus heard, stood still, and then called for Bartimaeus.
At that point, those who scolded the blind man were told to bring him to Jesus.
When they make this known to Bartimaeus, he throws off his cloak, springs to his feet and heads to Jesus. The heart starts racing and the mind lights up. There is no more hiding, there also is no returning. A cloak thrown off is most likely a cloak no longer needed. I wonder if we've got that same kind of courage to release all the cloaks that keep us hidden so we are free for what Jesus offers?
Then the question comes from Jesus, "What do you want me to do for you?" What would you say? Bartimaeus wanted to see again. What is your deepest desire? What quest are you on? What longing compels you to throw off every encumbrance, every sin, every defense mechanism, so that you're fully present to Jesus – who wants to hear your deepest desire?
Bartimaeus names it, experiences the healing power of God, and follows Jesus on the way. Let's do the same.