Lee Harder from St. Paul Lutheran Church of Bulverde, Texas visiting with you again this week. I hope all is well with you.
This past week I had a learning curve experience. Have you ever heard the expression, “The best laid plans of mice and men. . .”? It’s a re-write of a quote by Robert Burns that originally used the word “schemes” for which we have substituted, “plans.” It’s a Scottish thing. Well, last Sunday, Rally Sunday, the Sunday where flash flood warnings were out for our part of Texas, made that quote a reality.
We had plans, I had plans — big single worship celebration at a ranch, lots of music, installing education people for Sunday school and confirmation, receiving new disciples, fun and games for the whole family and a congregational picnic/potluck with all the Texas trimmings (brisket being the star of the feast). And if I do say so myself, a dynamite sermon perfect for the day based on James’ message on faith and action. None of that happened. We were called on account of rain.
Yes, we did have worship, but here in the sanctuary. Needless to say, all the stuff we had planned wasn’t going to happen. We weren’t even sure anybody would show up at church since the phone tree (automatic calling) to all the congregation wasn’t working. The best we could do was an email blast which is nowhere near all the folks. (I sure do LOVE sarcasm Windows 10. Anything else I might say on that subject would be unprintable.)
Now, I can wing it without a liturgy and, fortunately, our organist was not water bound; but, the sermon wasn’t going to work. It was totally geared for Rally Sunday and the events connected to it. No Rally Sunday, no sermon, at least not that sermon. That meant in the span of a little over an hour, I had to have a sermon. Nor was the time I had uninterrupted as people asked about Karen and how she was doing after surgery.
Well, the service went off without a hitch. We had about 75 people show up. We celebrated communion, thanks to a volunteer getting things ready. As to the sermon, someone actually said how good it was — one of my best. Let me be clear — it wasn’t my sermon. It was God’s. We preached on Isaiah, how we need not fear or doubt or worry, but be strong in the Lord and trust in Him.
We can have and make all the plans we want to, but God has His plans which will always trump ours. That’s what happened last Sunday. I don’t know why it happened, it just did.
We human beings constantly think we’re in charge and that our planning is all that matters. My response to that is simple — WRONG! Sure, we need to make plans, short-term and long range, consider all the options available, even consult people in the know, but that isn’t where we need to start. We start by asking God what His plans are for us.
This is especially important for us as the church. The church is in the business of sharing and proclaiming our faith in Jesus Christ. It’s that great commission thing again. Our plans must always be formulated under that truth. If we stop functioning as a church in God’s service, living out His purpose and plan for our lives and just do business, we’re no longer the church. We’re about faith and living that message in all we do. We must always be consulting Him in prayer and the goals we strive to reach.
I got another lesson in whose plan is to be followed last weekend. My plans need to be plugged into God’s plans. Maybe one day I’ll learn that lesson. Then again, probably not — I can be stubborn, as Karen says. Don’t you be.
And those are my thoughts. God bless.
Pastor Lee R. Harder