Tag Archives: Good Shepherd-Faith Presbyterian Church

The Until We Meet Again Tour – 14 August 2016

The Until We Meet Again Tour hopped a 1 Train, which some riders claim are hotter than the infernal regions although I have no frame of reference to judge that, and went to Good Shepherd-Faith Presbyterian Church to preach.

As with all the congregations visited on the tour, Good Shepherd-Faith holds a special place in my heart. Good Shepherd-Faith was one of the first congregations to invite me to preach in New York. It may have been the first. It definitely was the first congregation where I preached on Easter Sunday.

On this day that came a day after the killings of Imam Maulama Akonjee and Thara Uddin near the Al-Furqan Jame Masjid mosque in the Ozone Park neighborhood in Queens; and day after the killing of Sylville K. Smith by a police officer in Milwaukee and the protests that followed, it was a challenge and an honor to preach and search for words of hope in a time of profound grief.

This was the last Sunday I will preach in New York – until we meet again.

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Thanks to Elder Michael Nelson for taking the photo that includes me.

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Purple flowers, Good Shepherd-Faith Presbyterian Church 1

photo (43)

 

In varied hues,
purple flowers greeted worshipers to
Good Shepherd-Faith Presbyterian Church
this morning.

Manhattan, New York
30 June 2013

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Why I like New York 10 – kimchi after worship

Many of the churches where I preach do not have a coffee hour after the service. They have a meal. A really good meal.

For example, on Sunday 19 August, after the service ended, the saints of Good-Shepherd-Faith Presbyterian Church retired from the chapel where we worshiped to gather again in the Fellowship Hall.

There, after saying grace, we dined on:

Korean barbecue

Tofu (yes I did – and I liked it!)

and

Kimchi.

And it was good. Very, very good.

See you along the Trail.

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Listening and singing

I like to sing. I do not necessarily sing well. But I do like to sing.

On 19 August, as the congregation of Good Shepherd-Faith Presbyterian Church in New York City stood to sing hymns, I lowered my voice so that I could listen. Sometimes when I visit a congregation that happens because I do not know the song. But not on that morning.

Good Shepherd-Faith Presbyterian Church is a unique congregation. Of course, all congregations are unique. Each congregation has its gifts and strengths, gifts and strengths that combine to give the community its personality. There are similarities within denominations and across denominational lines. But no two congregations are identical.

On some Sundays, two worship services take place at Good Shepherd-Faith: one in Korean, one in English. It is possible, maybe even probable, that at least some individuals attend both services. They are held at different times and the community members know each other well. But some Sundays, two services occur.

Twice a month that changes. The community worships together. One service. Two languages. The bulletin contains the words of the service printed in Korean and printed in English. Some of those in attendance can understand, speak, and read both languages. But I cannot.

In some parts of the service, only one language is used aloud. One scripture lesson is read in Korean, one in English. A pastoral prayer is led in English, a second pastoral prayer is prayed in Korean. The sermon is preached in English. A Korean translation follows. That proves a bit of a challenge for the person who is translating when the preacher, no names please, tends to view a manuscript as something of a guide than a word-for-word record of what to say. The announcements follow this pattern. Made in English, they are then translated into Korean. In some parts of the service, one language is used at a time. But in other parts, particularly the hymns, both languages are used at the same time.

The lay leader announces the hymn. The community turns to the page in the Korean-English hymnal. The pianist begins and when the introduction ends, the singing begins. Some sing in English. Some in Korean. Some switch flawlessly between the two languages. Each person singing in the language she or he prefers. Hears may say this results in a chaotic cacophony. But for me, each song marks a Pentecost moment – a foretaste of when all peoples gather in that great choir and every tongue sings in every tongue.

And I lower my voice so that I can sing, listen, and smile all at the same time.

See you along the Trail.

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Keys

On my way back from preaching at White Plains Presbyterian Church today, I met Andrew Stehlik, pastor of Rutgers Presbyterian Church on the Uptown Number 2 subway. We exchanged greetings and then began to talk shop.

As he described his sermon, Andrew reminded me that on the night of August 20-21, 1968, Warsaw Pact troops invaded Czechoslovakia shattering the hopes of the Prague Spring.

He also reminded me of the use of keys during the nonviolent Velvet Revolution (Gentle Revolution in Slovakia) that overthrew the communist government of Czechoslovakia. The people jingled keys – ordinary keys – as they gathered to demonstrate nonviolently for change. This simple, yet profound, public act carried two meanings. It proclaimed the unlocking of doors – opening doors long locked by totalitarianism. The act of jingling one’s keys also served to tell the communists that it was time for them to go home.

On a day when I preached about Shiphrah and Puah – the Hebrew midwives who committed civil disobedience by refusing to carry out the Pharoah’s order to kill the Hebrew children – and the need to live our faith publicly, the story of the keys spoke to me with great power. I told Andrew that I will no doubt use the story in a future sermon; I will credit him when I do.

Thanks be to God for Shiphrah, Puah, the people who jingled keys in Czechoslovakia, and all who work nonviolently for life and peace and justice.

See you along the Trail.

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It was good today

It was good today . . .

to worship at Good Shepherd-Faith Presbyterian Church
in Korean and in English;

to gather with a “United Nations” of sisters and brothers,
a multicultural, inclusive community;

to hear music ranging from
Oh Happy Day to The Holy City;

to remember Naomi
who presented me the cross I wore to preach,
who lived as a child of resurrection in a world of Good Fridays;

to experience anew the reality
of the Communion of Saints –
those with whom we once share life’s journey
go with us as the journey continues;

to watch the flowering of the cross
and to realize, for the first time,
that it denies not
the obscenity of crucifixion
but proclaims that,
affirms that,
though consequences continue and wounds remain,
resurrection follows – new life blooms.

It was good today.

See you along the Trail.

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