Gathered 'Round the Table
Pastor's monthly newsletter article for June, 2014
Summer Worship at Saint Peter
“The family that prays together stays together.” This was a mantra often heard when I was growing up. And I suspect there was (and is) some truth to it. This is one of the reasons the first of our discipleship habits is daily prayer, and the fifth habit is gathering together regularly with a small group. (After all: what is a family, if not a small group?)
I suppose you could also say that “the family that dines together shines together.” Research shows that when families make the commitment to eat together on a daily basis, it goes a long way towards passing on family faith and values. For centuries, the daily meal has been a gathering place for households: a time to review the day, to make plans for tomorrow, to talk about faith and values and commitments, and most of all: to renew relationships of love, support and encouragement. If you haven’t yet done so, we encourage you to make eating together as a family a priority in your lives. In a time when many are accustomed to eating dinner on the run, this isn’t always an easy commitment to make – especially when young people are managing schedules that would have been unheard of when we were young. But it is a worthwhile effort, and will pay off many times over in years to come.
If evening dinner is key to a strong family, then the weekly meal is key to a strong faith community. As Lutherans, we think of our churches as ministries of Word and Sacrament. Central to our life together is the Word of God which reveals Christ to us, and the Eucharistic meal which presents Christ to us. In the bread and wine, we receive the real presence of Christ, and the gifts of forgiveness, renewal and strength for the new day.
This summer, we invite you to join us on the labyrinth each Sunday morning at 8:00 a.m. where we will be “Gathered ‘Round the Table.” We’ll circle our chairs around the altar, break open the word of God to set the scene, bring forward bread and wine to set the table, and gather with our Lord where he promises to meet us. We hope you will find this less-formal gathering for Eucharist, surrounded by the wonder of God’s creation, to be an inspiring way to begin each week this summer. When you are in town, please plan to join us. (And if 8:00 a.m. isn’t your cup of tea, our second service will begin, indoors, at 10:00 a.m.)
When you are on the road, we encourage you to make worship a regular component of your time away as well. Lutheran churches through the country are waiting to welcome you. To find one near where you are, visit www.elca.org/tools/FindACongregation. If you are visiting a national park, try www.acmnp.com to find a service.
God calls us all to gather ‘round the table. As you gather this summer, may you be refreshed and renewed.
God’s peace to you all,