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Summer 2016

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Friday, August 05, 2016

Summer 2016

What a summer. Lots of celebration and proclamation in preaching, wedding anniversaries, weddings, and even some pleasant nature walks. Now it is time for me to boogie with the people of Hanover.

When I had first arrived at my parent’s house, I had a nice time relaxing. I was able to let my mind unwind. Yet, I wasn’t free from responsibility. I had helped my parents with their painting business. And even before I arrived back in California, I was already given the privilege to preach at two of the churches that are supporting me on my seminary journey. They were on different days of course.

Sylvan in uniform

My first sermon was at Mount Olive. I shared with the congregation that in Luke chapter 7, at the Pharisee’s dinner table, both the sinful lower-class woman and the sinful upper-class Pharisee had their chance for their sins to be forgiven before Jesus Christ. Interestingly, the woman was the only one who left with their sins forgiven, for she had simply asked Jesus. My second sermon, at St. John, had compared the freedom of this country to our freedom in Christ. Because Christ paid for our sins, we are free to serve those around us. In a similar manner, as the colonial people have established a county for the benefit of the people, the people are now to live in freedom to serve others. Through the study of this sermon I had learned much about the history of the American culture of the 18th century.

My last sermon was done at my home congregation. The gospel passage in Luke 11 tells of Jesus teaching his disciples how to pray. Twice this simple prayer speaks of forgiveness. The prayer is taught them that prayer is a way for God’s creatures to request or demand that God provides our needs, including the need of our sin forgiven. What a joy that our God is a loving and gracious God that we may ask him for help.

Now, just hours after my second sermon, I traveled to my great aunt and uncle’s fiftieth wedding anniversary party. It was a great time to reconnect with my mother’s family after being away for a long time.

My sister’s wedding

Also, around the same time, my family was finishing the final details for my sister’s wedding. The wedding was the following weekend. It was held in my parent’s backyard. Now, it is quite unusual for my suburban neighborhood to hold a wedding in a backyard. However, my parents happened to live on a half-acre lot. For the wedding, we added some extra landscaping before the wedding to make it extra beautiful. Everyone had a good time. There was tri-tip and salad for dinner, pleasant weather for the ceremony, and cake and frozen yogurt for desert. My sister asked me to be the DJ for the wedding, so I made sure everyone was having a good time dancing. I look forward to seeing both of these Christians having an amazing marriage.

My friends’ wedding

Two weeks later, the next wedding was more like a ten-year high school reunion for me. I was spending time with friends who I went to high school with. The groom was one of best friends from high school. Now he is married to his high school sweetheart. They have spent much time apart from each other after high school, but they never lost complete contact with each other. Perhaps living in the same town for much of the time has helped with that. In recent years, the two were able to understand themselves and each other where they enjoy the challenge of keeping their loving relationship going for a lifetime. May God also bless their marriage.

In the following weekend, my dad’s parents celebrated their sixtieth wedding anniversary. This too was held in my parent’s backyard. There were even more family members than my sister had for her wedding, and many had come from a distant land. There were also family friends that had attended that I hadn’t seen since my middles school years. The food was great, and the twenty piece orchestra was such a hit that the neighbors thanked us for giving them such wonderful music to listen to on a Saturday afternoon.

Sylvan’s family

As this summer was certainly an eventful two-month stay in my hometown, my last two weeks were filled with tourism and time to walk the beaches and woods nearby. This time was great for me to spend with family. I enjoyed hearing that my family, friends, and church family are doing well. I also hope and pray that your family is doing well.

As for my prayer requests, I ask that God will make the most out of my fifty-two-week vicarage at Hanover Lutheran Church in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. I’m looking forward to having a good and fun time experiencing a community that I have never dwelled in before. This time will also be a great opportunity for God to shape me to become the pastor I will become. With the help of the strong pastor and the loving congregation, I am in for a treat. Let this time be a time for me to not only share my gifts and talents but even more so be a time for me to grow in areas that I lack in. May this vicarage shape me to be a strong and courageous pastor leading those who are in my community to Christ Jesus and his everlasting promises.

May the glory be to God, and may his blessings be upon you,
Sylvan Finger