Myrlene’s Weekly Intrique
The Messiah Comes
Finally The Story has brought us to the New Testament, more familiar ground for many of us. Now that we have so thoroughly studied the Old Testament, you may well find that the story about Jesus has even more significance. Last week we heard from Malachi: "the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple." And here he is! We will look at two stories about Jesus in the temple, first presented by Mary and Joseph as an infant, and then as a 12-year-old, conversing with the teachers. There's so much to be said about the significance of Jesus' incarnation. But we will focus on his connection with the temple this week. Think about what it means for Jesus to be in the temple which means so much to the people of God. And as you read chapter 22 of The Story, also read Luke 2:22-52. And come to worship ready to give yourself permission to sing Christmas songs out of season! Perhaps the words will have new meaning in this season.
Myrlene’s Personal Story
What God is Doing in My Life
For the six weeks of Lent, you’ll be hearing from each of the members of our governing board, which we call the Session, and we’re starting with me. The topic: how God is touching my life and how Morning Star is a part of that. And we will be inviting you to join us in making a sacrificial gift to Morning Star this season.
First a trivia question: I have a prize for the person who can tell me what I gave away as a part of my very first sermon for Morning Star, Palm Sunday 1994?
I remember the first time I met Ruth Hardie, about 21 ½ years ago, when my first husband Ed and I were interviewing to become the organizing pastors of the new church development that eventually became Morning Star. And Ruth was a part of the call committee. Thinking about moving here, I only had one question that really mattered, so I asked Ruth, somewhat naively: “Is this a good place to grow a garden?” And she said, “Well, it is the Garden State!” And then of course she started talking about Jersey tomatoes, and I got the message. So I will be planting my 21st Jersey garden this spring—in my front yard, and here at the church.
The first sermon I preached here was about planting a seed, and this is really the illustration that has always stuck with me about this church. It’s like Jesus said about the mustard seed, which is just a tiny seed, but when it grows up, it spreads its branches out and makes room for the birds to rest in it. What that says to me is not so much that the church gets to be a megachurch, but that the church grows and develops and becomes big in ministry. So much ministry has grown out of the tiny seed that became Morning Star.
So, Ruth, thank you for being the first seed of Morning Star. Thank you for being my inspiration all these years to keep planting seeds, and more seeds and more seeds.
Morning Star, you’re the best! A tiny seed, and yet a powerhouse of ministry. I’ve never been in a church where I could use my creativity as I can here. I’ve never been in a church where there was as great a sense of following Jesus together—as I feel here. Sure, we’ve had our struggles, our conflicts, our tragedies and trials. And we’ll have more. But there has always been the sense here that God is at work, not only in individuals but also in this church body.
So, thank you all of you for nurturing the seeds that have been planted here, and for planting seeds yourself. Seeds of faith, of prayer, of music and laughter. Of compassion and caring; of education and outreach. Seeds of healing and wholeness and integrity.
Thank you, Eric, for joining forces with me, and supporting this church with your heart, your hands and with your resources.
Most of you know that I’m not in this business for the money. I’m here because this is who I am. I am a seed planter and a gardener, someone who wants desperately for God’s garden to grow. So for 21 years I’ve been planting seeds of ministry. And for 21 years I’ve been planting some financial seeds as well. Eric and I are both heavily invested in this church, giving to the work of this church on a regular basis through our pledging, and through our investment in the church bond program, and through special gifts as they come up from time to time. My friends, every dime has been worth it. There’s no better investment that I can imagine than a place like this, where people of all ages can meet Jesus Christ and become a vital part of Christ’s ministry. So I’m going to go one step further this year. Beyond my usual giving, I am going to give sacrificially by giving one month’s mortgage payment ($5400). I’m going to do that because I believe in what God is doing here, I trust in the seed that God has planted in me, and in this place. I invite you to join the Session and me in giving a special sacrificial gift to Morning Star during Lent. Consider what Jesus has given to you. Consider how Morning Star has been a part of that. And dare to plant a seed.