Pastor's Blog

Pastor's Blog

Staying focused

Something remarkable has happened in the last few weeks.  After George Floyd's death at the hands of police, protests erupted in Minneapolis; black folks there had long felt abused rather than served by their police, and a series of mayors had tried unsuccessfully to bring reforms.  Protests spread to cities all over America.  Just about every black American (and many brown and white Americans) could tell stories about police overreach, and fresh examples unfolded before our... Read More
Posted by Lawrence Wood at Wednesday, June 10, 2020
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A return to worship

I’m glad to report that St. Andrew will open again for public worship on Pentecost Sunday, May 31 – a most appropriate time to celebrate the rebirth of our church.  George, Sara, and I can’t wait to see you! Of course, things will be different.  To ensure everyone’s safety, the Church Board and staff are taking several measures: • There will be two services, at 8:30 and 10:00 a.m., to allow for more social distance. • We strongly encourage... Read More
Posted by Lawrence Wood at Friday, May 15, 2020
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Community partners

St. Andrew has an important role in this community -- as a church.  We're not a restaurant, although we're blessed with good cooks.  We're not a concert hall, although fine musicians find a rapt audience in our pews.  We're a church, which is a very special calling, and there's plenty for us to do. Recognizing that our church has its own role to play, we've partnered with local agencies that are also doing the Lord's work -- the Christian Service... Read More
Posted by Lawrence Wood at Monday, May 11, 2020
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Numbers

A strangely-timed message came the other day from the Census Bureau, asking for help in counting the people of our area.  Every ten years, of course, the federal government must do this.  The effort this year has proven difficult, because even though many people are out of work, for some reason they're not interested in going door-to-door.  When the coronavirus pandemic began, some folks downplayed the danger, saying that it was much like the flu and that in any... Read More
Posted by Lawrence Wood at Monday, May 4, 2020
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Neighbors

St. Andrew has good neighbors.  We see them every day out for a walk around the church grounds, or coming by on bicycles.  Some live in Oyster Bay Village, directly behind the church.  Others live across the street, down by the Lagoon, while others are in subdivisions on the Fort Morgan Road.  Now and again, someone may pause to rest on a bench by the bike path, or to linger at the Memorial Garden. Other neighbors come on weekdays between 11:30 and 11:50.  That's... Read More
Posted by Lawrence Wood at Thursday, April 30, 2020
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Opening up

In the next few days, Alabama's beaches will reopen and other restrictions will begin to ease.  We're all cautious about this, even the most ardent advocates of business, because we realize that there are risks.  There's also talk about opening up churches, which will be complicated, to say the least.  There are a lot of questions to work through. A date, for example.  The Center for Disease Control discourages a return to activity until a region has seen a... Read More
Posted by Lawrence Wood at Monday, April 27, 2020
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Spring storms

After any number of days when heavy rain had been predicted but didn't come, we got a good downpour today.  It's one of the theatrics of the Gulf Coast -- that sudden gullywasher when the bottom drops out and you can't even see to drive.  Rain along the coast almost never falls in a steady drizzle.  It comes in sheets and then is gone. That weather is like a life lesson for the region.  We get used to watching for trouble, living through trouble, moving on... Read More
Posted by Lawrence Wood at Thursday, April 23, 2020
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Silliness

So after several days' delay, we finally got to celebrate with our oldest daughter.  The younger girls had put together gifts for her.  One had made a "time box" by plundering her sister's bedroom closet and giving back to her things that were already hers -- strange, half-forgotten, hilarious items.  The other painted a picture of a Mexican salamander and named it (in honor of a family trip to New Orleans) Muffaletta the Axolotl.  The oldest... Read More
Posted by Lawrence Wood at Monday, April 20, 2020
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Twenty-one

Our oldest daughter has turned twenty-one.  She was born an old soul, but I think she will be young all her life, thanks to a curious nature. Rexene and I look forward to celebrating that milestone with her as soon as we can be together.  Fortunately she has been safe with her boyfriend's family, we think...we hope.  Letting her judge the wisdom of such things is, for us, part of her turning twenty-one. She is living her own life these days, and we... Read More
Posted by Lawrence Wood at Saturday, April 18, 2020
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Remembering

They say that once you learn how to ride a bike, you never forget.  All over the neighborhood, I see folks going for bike rides -- kids, parents, grandparents, people who haven't gotten out on those bikes in years.  It all comes back.  The joy of coasting through a soft turn, the breeze on your face -- those are some of the season's great pleasures. I think we did forget how to ride our bikes until this COVID epidemic.  But there are other things that we... Read More
Posted by Lawrence Wood at Thursday, April 16, 2020
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Close to home

Today a friend called the church about one of our members, who was suffering headache, fever, and chills, and had lost her sense of taste.  In other words, she was suffering many of the symptoms of the coronavirus.  This friend donned a mask and gloves and took her to a clinic -- actually, the parking lot of a clinic -- where she was tested.  Now both women must stay in quarantine, awaiting the results. Several other members of St. Andrew have asked prayers for their children... Read More
Posted by Lawrence Wood at Monday, April 13, 2020
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Holy Saturday

For many working folks, the weekend means time off, and Saturday means personal priorities -- family, work around the house, exercise, watching a game, stepping out for a night.  Some people say they "live for the weekend," that they "don't live to work, but work to live," which I guess means that five days out of seven, they're half-dead. Saturday lately has lost its charm.  Every day is a Saturday. This Holy Saturday may be different.  The day... Read More
Posted by Lawrence Wood at Saturday, April 11, 2020
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Home Communion

Some time ago a friend brought over a lump of sourdough starter, and yesterday Rexene put three loaves in the oven to proof.  They had risen by midday.  The girls punched them down, covered them with towels again, and put them back in the oven to rise once more.  By late afternoon, they were ready to bake.  As you can imagine, the house smelled great -- there's nothing like the smell of bread in the oven, unless it's bread coming out. It made for a very special... Read More
Posted by Lawrence Wood at Friday, April 10, 2020
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Sabbath

This afternoon a good friend of St. Andrew went bike-riding with his kids.  It's a beautiful day, the kids are off from school, and he's mostly working from home, so why not? Another St. Andrew member took her dog out for a walk and waved to several neighbors who were also enjoying the day out-of-doors.  And a third member admitted to me that she appreciates how her life has slowed down.  "I'm 78," she says.  "My friends are all retired, but... Read More
Posted by Lawrence Wood at Wednesday, April 1, 2020
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Turn it around

The Bible is full of strength and comfort.  One of our St. Andrew friends reminded me the other day that the words “Fear not” appear 365 times in the Bible.  In other words, we can find encouragement for every day. As we use scripture to face COVID-19, we’ve read Psalm 19.  Let’s turn things around and look at Psalm 91. It’s a song of great assurance that could have been written for times very much like ours:   ... Read More
Posted by Lawrence Wood at Friday, March 27, 2020
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Humble leadership

It’s important to be well-informed. These days especially, misinformation can be dangerous, and we owe it to ourselves and those around us to know what’s real. For Christians, part of being well-informed is turning to the Bible – not as some sort of refuge from real life, but as a resource in facing it. In that spirit, as we face COVID-19, let’s turn to Psalm 19.  It begins with this heading: “To the leader.  A Psalm of... Read More
Posted by Lawrence Wood at Tuesday, March 24, 2020
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