Accent on Worship
The Witness of Paul
In the first reading for this Sunday, Paul speaks to a crowd in Athens who has never heard of the God of Israel or what this God of all creation has done for them through Jesus Christ.
We need not travel to the other side of the world in order to encounter others who have not heard the good news. None of us would be hard-pressed to think of someone in our own lives who struggles to or has no desire to believe: a friend, a neighbor, a co-worker, a family member.
We, like Paul, may find ourselves distressed that they do not share the same joy of knowing the love, forgiveness, and hope in the promises of the Triune God. We may also find ourselves, however, caught between the command that our Lord gives us to witness, and the fear of alienating others as we ourselves have witnessed happen time and time again in the name of Christ. We may also hesitate since we are keenly aware that we carry with us all of the positive and negative experiences that that person has ever had with another Christian. How then, and when, are we to share our faith? How are we to care for those in our lives who do not believe?
The Apostle Paul gives us a very helpful model. He takes the time to observe and listen to the Athenians in order to understand their perspectives. Paul could not have referenced the altar with the inscription, “To an Unknown God” had he not taken the time to know his neighbors. He then starts his witness on the basis of common ground: how they understand the sacred. Although he speaks the truth about Jesus Christ, he does so by placing Christ in the Athenians’ own frame of reference.
Similarly, we are encouraged by Peter in this Sunday’s epistle: “Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and reverence” (1Pet. 3:15-16). The witness of Paul and Peter both is that we are to share the good news of Christ when it is requested of us and we are to do it with gentleness and respect for our neighbor’s own experiences and perspectives. Debate does not win hearts, only the truth spoken in love. All that we can do is share how God’s love has reached our own hearts, and then listen with our families, friends, and neighbors for how God has encountered them.
What we do not get to hear from the lectionary’s reading of Acts is how the Athenians respond to Paul’s witness: some scoffed, others said, “We will hear you again about this,” but some of them joined him and became believers. The same will be true of our own witness, but the promise of this passage is that God is not far from each one of us. The Triune God was with the Athenians before Paul arrived and after he left. Whether or not they experience the joy of knowing it, those in our families, in our offices, and in our neighborhoods who do not yet believe are held—now and forever—by the One in whom we all live, and move, and have our being.
– Vicar Emily Beckering
May 25, 2014: Sixth Sunday of Easter
I Peter 3:13-22
June 1, 2014: Seventh Sunday of Easter
Psalm 68:1-10, 32-35
I Peter 4:12-14; 5:6-11
Summer worship Schedule begins this Sunday, May 25.
One Eucharist, at 9:30 a.m., followed by coffee and fellowship
This Week’s Adult Forum
May 25: Bread for the World Offering of Letters
The Ascension of Our Lord
Thursday, May 29, 2014
Holy Eucharist at 7:00 p.m.
A light reception will follow
1 Thessalonians Bible Study
The final Thursday Bible study series before summer began on Thursday, May 8, and runs for six Thursdays through June 12.
Meeting in the Chapel Lounge from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Vicar Emily Beckering will lead a study of Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians.
There will be a light supper when we begin. If you are interested in providing the supper for our first study, please notify Vicar Beckering. All are welcome!
Mount Olive Church Picnic June 22
Mount Olive will have a Church Picnic this year on Sunday, June 22, from 3:00-7:00 p.m. John and Patsy Holtmeier welcome all to their (spacious!) backyard at 601 Drillane Road in Hopkins.
Games and hilarity for kids and adults will be held from 3:00-5:00 p.m., including a Bean Bag Tournament, Zip Line Run, lawn games, and more. A potluck picnic will begin around 5:00 p.m., and the day will close with a hymn sing on the lawn. All are invited! Sign-up sheets for attendance, food preparation, set up, etc. will be held at church before and after the liturgy on June 1, 8, and 15.
In the event of rain on the 22nd, a modified picnic will be held that day in the Undercroft from 5:00-7:00 p.m.
Book Discussion Group News
For the June 14 meeting, the book discussion group will read, The Orphan Master’s Son, by Adam Johnson; and for the meeting on July 12, they will read, All Over but the Shoutin’, by Rick Bragg.
Register Now for Bach Tage!
May 31-June 1, 2014
It’s not too late to register for the 8th annual Bach Tage!
Visit Mount Olive’s homepage and click on the brochure download, or pick up a brochure at church and register soon!
A Note of Thanks
Marilyn & Victor Gebauer would like to share this note of thanks, which they recently received regarding their friend, Larry Foster. Larry was recently on our prayer list and is now removed from that list:
“We are very appreciative of all the prayers that have been offered for Larry. Since he has stabilized in the last little time and appears to be holding his own, perhaps you could extend our thanks to those who prayed for him. Our heartfelt thanks to all who have had him in their prayers. It has meant a great deal to both of us to think that people across the country who do not even know him would be willing to talk to God about his situation and pray for mercy and healing. What a blessing this has been.”
Life Transitions Support Group
Caregiver? Chronic Illness? Loss of home? Loss of loved one?
We each encounter a variety of losses throughout our lives. Have you wished for a familiar place where you could find some reassurance, share your story, discover a simple skill or two that could help in those moments when you feel overwhelmed?
Cathy Bosworth and Amy Cotter will serve as facilitators for a 4-week structured support group on Wednesday evenings at 6:30 pm, in the Youth Room. Each week a brief educational component will be offered with time for you to share personally in a confidential, supportive setting. Vicar Emily Beckering will offer guidance on the Lament Psalms, which we will use as a vehicle for prayer and healing.
Coming Soon! Summer A.C.T.S. (Adults, Children Teaming to Serve) June 16 – July 17
Mount Olive Neighborhood Ministries Summer Program this year will be an opportunity for adults and youth from the congregation and community to work together on service projects in and for the community while building relationships, understanding critical social issues and learning from each other.
There will be 2 Teams of adults and youth. Team 1 will work Mondays and Wednesdays; Team 2 will work Tuesdays and Thursdays. Sessions will normally run from 10AM to 1:30 PM and include a light lunch. Adults can volunteer to work on a team with youth for any length of time – whatever fits into your schedule and most peaks your interest. Here is a summary of each week’s activities:
June 16 and 18 or June 17 and 19: Help the Hungry – Globally and Locally
Adults and youth will work together one day at Feed My Starving Children in Coon Rapids and one day at CES – Community Emergency Services at 19th and Franklin. At Feed My Starving Children, the team will hand pack meals specifically formulated for malnourished children around the world while learning about worldwide hunger. At CES, teams assist in meeting needs in this community.
June 23 and 24 or June 25 and 26: Help a Neighborhood Build Pride in Community/Learn Neighborhood Activism Skills
Adults and youth will divide into small teams to walk an assigned area of Ventura Village, identifying and documenting graffiti then completing the process preparing mailings to private owners and reporting graffiti found on public property to the County’s Sentencing to Serve program. Each team will also walk part of Franklin Avenue, picking up trash and recycling.
June 30 and July 2 or July 1 and 3: Help and Learn from Senior Citizens in the Community, Learn about Services to Seniors (Two options this week )
Option One – Adults and youth will work on arts and crafts projects together with senior citizens at the Sabathani Senior Center at 310 East 38th Street.
Option Two –Adults and youth will work as volunteers with NIP (Neighborhood Improvement Program) Seniors Program and will be assigned to help a senior citizen in the community with yard upkeep. This might include weeding, mowing, raking, watering or other outside projects.
July 7 and 9 or July 8 and 10: Learn and Practice Skills to Respond to Medical Emergencies at Home and in the Community
Adults and youth will learn and practice skills in responding to medical emergencies that may require CPR, infant CPR or the use of an AED. A Certified instructor will teach the American Red Cross Friends and Family Course. Minneapolis Fire Department Risk Prevention team will address fire risks, fire prevention and provide other fire-related information.
July 14 and 16 or July 15 and 17: Experience Turning Scrap into Creative Expression, Landfill into Learning, Waste in Art
Adults and youth will work together here at the church with an artist from Art Start, Inc. to create art and useful items for our undercroft, particularly for use during the community meals. This will be a unique opportunity to work with an art professional.
Friday, July 18th – The Grand Finale!
All participants are invited to join in a celebration of the summer’s activities, share a noon meal and be present for the unveiling of the art work completed by the teams and the artist.
Adult volunteers can sign up on poster boards available beginning this Sunday or by calling Connie Toavs, Interim Coordinator of Neighborhood Ministries. There is space for at least 4 adults each day. We need a daily “kitchen manager” to assist youth workers in serving a cold lunch. Some drivers will be needed to pick up youth in South Mpls. who have no transportation to the church or to drive to work sites. Children, grandchildren or friends of the congregation, ages 10-14, are also welcome to join the youth workers and earn a small weekly stipend.
Questions? Call Connie Toavs at church, 612-827-5919.