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Pastor Matt’s Musing: January 15th

January 15, 2021

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Dear St. Paul’s Friends & Family,

“As Samuel grew up, the LORD was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground” (1 Samuel 3:19)

What does a leader look like?  What do you expect from a leader?  I doubt most of us would look toward a child for leadership, but that’s exactly what happens in today’s text from 1 Samuel.  The Prophet Samuel’s call story begins before his birth.  His mother Hannah had been unable to have any children and was considered barren.  In the ancient world she was considered to be to be cursed, and out of her pain spent years praying for God to bless her with a child, which is exactly what God did.  Hannah’s response to this gift was to give her first born son back to God.  She presented him to the high priest Eli at the holy site at Shiloh.

Samuel’s story gets more intriguing in that God spoke to him while he was still a young boy.  The message that God wanted him to tell was not the type of work that most of us would entrust to a child, but God saw fit to give him an important message to deliver to his mentor, Eli.  The message that Samuel was called to proclaim was one of judgement upon Eli, his sons, and all of the generations that would come after him.  Eli’s sons had misused their positions of authority as priests to get rich and exploit those who relied on them to do God’s work.  Eli, for his part, failed to discipline them, so God decided to revoke the divine mandate that made Eli and his offspring priests of Israel.

There are a lot of things we can learn from this ancient story.  Two important takeaways are that God does care about those who are called to lead his people, and that any of us may be called on by God to lead.  Samuel’s young age did not disqualify him from holy work.  The arrival of Jesus further distributes the divine work that will need to be done in the world.  Disciples from all ages and walks of life will answer Jesus’ call to “Come and follow me.”  They will be entrusted to the important leadership work of building God’s peaceable kingdom here on earth as it is in heaven.  This work continues to this day.  Each of us are called to lead in our own way.  May we follow the examples of Samuel and the first disciples as we commit ourselves to words and actions that show others God’s love and peace.   

May God bless us on this journey of discovery and faith!  Please don’t hesitate to call me if you are in need of pastoral care.  My number is: 814-279-5504.

Blessings,

Pastor Matt

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A New Year’s Greeting from Pastor Matt

January 1, 2021

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Dear St. Paul’s Family,

The tree may be down and the decorations put away, but the effects of Christmas are still with us.  Unlike 21st century hospitals, where mother and child have a short stay, Jesus and his family spent months, if not years in Bethlehem.  The story goes that it took the three kings a couple of years to reach the Christ-child.  Yet, despite their late arrival, they still felt the call to come and worship the Lord.

Such is our calling.  Our calling is to come and learn about the God who is now living in our midst.  Like the magi of old, we are journeying on the road of life.  There’s no way to anticipate what or who we will meet along the way, but one thing is certain, Jesus meets us again and again on the road.  

We are sojourners and like the magi, God calls us to encounter Jesus.  What might Jesus tell us when we meet him?  What might he have us do?  How might we respond?  The miracle of Christmas is that God is one of us.  The miracle of our lives is that God invites us to be part of Christ’s body, Christ’s work.

I pray that each of us may live more fully into the journey that God has called us, and may the Holy Spirit be with us as we are at work in God’s kingdom in 2021.

Blessings,

Pastor Matt

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Sermons from St. Paul’s

February 21, 2020

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“An Ethic of Love”
February 16, 2020
Rev. J. Matthew Deal
“The Third Way”
February 9, 2020
Rev. J. Matthew Deal
“When Things Break Down”
February 2, 2020
Rev. J. Matthew Deal
“Following Jesus”
January 19, 2020
Rev. J. Matthew Deal
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