Dear people of God,

We enter now, a time in the liturgical calendar known as “ordinary time”. It is neither Easter nor Pentecost, neither Advent nor All Saint’s Day. From now through the fall, the church will be in “ordinary time”. That title always cracks me up. Our lives as people of God have never been ordinary. The work of the Spirit in the church and the world is anything but ordinary. Bethlehem Lutheran is anything but ordinary.

Here is an example of our particular “ordinary” life. Bethlehem’s calendar this week:

Monday: A young mother in our congregation will go to the infusion center as she battles pancreatic cancer. I ask your prayers for Donna Hackett, for her husband and their young daughters and all those in our congregation who are battling cancer.

Tuesday: We will serve as a polling place and assist this community in our common civic responsibility.

Wednesday: At 6:00 pm, we will host a Ramadan dinner with our Muslim brothers and sisters and honor our shared faith in a loving God. All are welcome to attend!

Thursday: Mary Ontiveros, a daughter of this congregation, and her fiancé Rachel will be married at Bethlehem. We celebrate with them.

Saturday: Many of us will attend the Barn Raising at Luther Glen and support the camp and farm.

Sunday: We will gather, once again, to give thanks to the risen Lord for the gift and grace of this “ordinary” life we have been given. This life full of promise and grace, filled with tears and hope. What a blessing is ours, to share the journey together.

Just another ordinary week at Bethlehem Lutheran. :)

The pace at Bethlehem does not slow during the summer, but changes to a different cadence. Here are some upcoming events as the summer unfolds.

July 2 – 6: Vacation Bible School from 9 – noon. Our theme is Shipwrecked and we look forward to welcoming close to 150 children. If you would like to volunteer for the fun, volunteer forms are due by Sunday June 10. If you have never volunteered before, please join us. Registration forms for children and volunteers are available in the narthex. If you know children who would be blessed to attend, please pick up a form for them.

July 15 – 20: Confirmation Camp for our middle school students at Luther Glen.

July 28 – Aug. 4: Summer Mission trip for our High School students and leaders. We will be helping to rebuild after the devastating fires in Santa Rosa.

Sunday Aug. 19: Bethlehem Serves! The best Sunday of the year. We will have a brief service at 9 am and then head off in groups to serve our community. Many projects are available on campus as well. Watch for signups coming soon and plan to stay for potluck and fellowship afterwards.

Sunday Aug. 26: Beach worship! We sill worship in the morning at Bethlehem, and the last service of the day will be a joint service with St. Andrews on the beach. All are welcome.

A thought as I close. I travelled, last week, to rural Nebraska for a family funeral. Page, Nebraska is a small town of 130 persons, steeped in community and history and surrounded by corn fields and green rolling hills. I returned to Encinitas, and met this week with the principal at Ocean Knoll elementary school to discuss the needs of their immigrant families and learn of the many ways we can help. We can help by providing snacks for their summer program, hosting an event in the fall to prepare parents and children to re-enter school, driving children with medical needs to Rady’s children’s hospital and so much more. It is a long way from Page, NE to Encinitas, CA. On the surface we have little in common. Yet, as I sat in their sanctuary last week, and in ours today, it feels remarkably the same. I can feel the presence of the same gracious God, the hearts of the same people seeking grace and hope in times of difficulty and times of joy.
I find myself thankful today for the whole family. For our connectedness and the common hope we share. I find our common humanity, miraculous — and I give thanks for you. In this “ordinary” time of grace, may God bless you on the journey. May the summer stretch before you with moments of simple rest and times of rich service.

A fellow partner on the journey,
Pastor Laura