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A note from Pastor Unke

Time for a great summer GETAWAY!


It’s a sunny Sunday morning.  A single stream of sunlight sneaks past the window shade and paints a stripe of light on the wall of your bedroom.  The sleepy silence is broken at the stroke of 8 am by the sound of bells ringing at the church two blocks away.  You pull the pillow over your head and whisper, “Not today…it’s too early.  It’s too nice out.  It’s summer.”
It’s a sunny Sunday morning.  The kids are sleeping in—a rare thing.  You’re enjoying a cup of coffee in a lawn chair as the sun begins to warm the patio.  The peaceful chirping of birds around you is suddenly outdone at the stroke of 8 am by the sound of bells ringing at the church two blocks away.  You turn the newspaper page and whisper, “Not today…it’s too peaceful.  I’ll let the kids sleep.  We’ll enjoy a nice family breakfast.  It’s summer.”
It’s a sunny Sunday morning.  The crew is up and raring to go.  You have a big day planned.  The bikes are strapped onto the van and the cooler is packed.  The chatter around the breakfast table is all about the exciting things that you talked about last night as you decided to spend the day at the state park.  As the garage door opens at the stroke of 8 am, you hear the sound of bells ringing at the church two blocks away.  The kids look to you as they hear it too.  “Not today, kids.  We have big plans.  It’s summer.  Eat your breakfast. Let’s go!”
What are those church bells saying to you?   
   Some might suggest that the call to worship is intended to launch a guilt trip for church skippers.
   Some might suggest that the call to worship is for those who have nothing better to do that sunny Sunday.
   Some might suggest that the call to worship is a call to do what good people are supposed to do.
   Some might suggest that the call to worship is an intrusion on fun, family time at home or on the road.
   Some might suggest that the call to worship is not as necessary in the free days of summer.
But here is what those bells really mean…  Those bells ring out an invitation to God’s people.  It’s a call to escape from the dark world and its hopelessness.  It’s a personal invitation from your heavenly Father to come to the feast he has prepared; to taste and see that the LORD alone is good.  It’s a call to gather with like-minded Christians around Christ Jesus, who will certainly be there whenever two or three or more of his people are gathered around his Word.  As the storms of our life rage on and the daily grind wears us down, God’s call to worship is our weekly invitation to take refuge in the loving care of our Good Shepherd and be refreshed by his empowering Word.  This is not obligation!  Each new day presents trials and worries that we don’t see coming—the call to worship invites us to be strengthened by God’s power to prepare for anything that comes.  It’s an invitation to enjoy true rest from the burden that makes us so weary.  A call to be in the house of God is a call from him to come and celebrate his love, along with his people and the angels of heaven.  It is a call to join your Creator and Savior in the supreme “getaway”—a foretaste of the thrill of being around the throne of God in glory!  It is the ultimate in “family time” with our heavenly Father.
In contrast to the cacophony of the world’s busyness and self-focused overindulgence, the church bell melodiously beckons God’s people to join in the song of salvation once again.
I realize that St. Paul’s doesn’t have a church bell ringing out into the community.  But by God’s Grace, the invitation to gather for worship is extended to all of our members each and every week—along with anyone who would come with them.  In the summer we even include a Thursday evening service (7:00 pm) for anyone who might be heading out of town for a weekend getaway (you can do both!)
On those sunny Sundays of summer, please remember the invitation of Jesus to come to his house.  You cannot do more for your family than to lead them to the house of God.  He has powerful treasures to share—forgiveness, peace, and life!  Summer is no time to let our spiritual life slide nor to relax our watchfulness for Satan’s attacks. Christ calls us to remain vigilant and to give ourselves fully to the work of the Lord.  If we’re going to do that, we need to be refreshed by Word and Sacrament.  We need to get away from it all as we rush to the house of our loving Father.
Summer is upon us.  God’s invitation goes out.  I pray that I see you and your family in His House this summer. Oh, and you may want to use an alarm clock or reminder app.  We don’t have church bells!    
“I was glad when they said unto me, ‘Let us go to the house of the LORD.’”   -Pastor Unke

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