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Valley Church News

July 22, 2016

"When Israel came out of Egypt,
the house of Jacob from a people of foreign tongue,
Judah became God's sanctuary,
Israel his dominion.
The sea looked and fled,
the Jordan turned back;
the mountains leaped like rams,
the hills like lambs."
~ Psalm 114.1-4

wisdom for the information age 1     Along with distraction, the information age offers us up ready-made amnesia - a tyranny of the present, a misplaced hope in the future, and an amnesia-inducing dismissal of the past. If Psalm 113 calls us to the wisdom of a posture of praise for the information age of distraction, then Psalm 114 models for us the wisdom of a posture of remembrance for the information age of amnesia. I encourage you to read and reflect on Psalm 114 prior to our time together on Sunday morning.

20160721_090537A few more reflections on Psalm 113:
Praise in the Information Age of Distraction

     Yesterday morning as I was turning into the parking lot at the church building, I was greeted by the wildflowers you see in the picture above. Having navigated the corner and parked the car, I saw Deb watering her garden plot. I walked over to see what she and her fellow gardeners had planted. Deb was engaged in a conversation with a neighbor from the neighborhood across the street who has been watching the garden grow and who had stopped to find out more about it. Deb readily admitted to her that the secret to the garden's amazing growth is (in addition to the great work Carol and her team did in preparing the soil) the prayer that the gardeners pour out along with the water. Deb and I then took a tour of the garden plots, marveling at the growth and the diversity of veggies that the gardeners have planted - focused and attentive to the miracle that the garden is. It was a tour of praise! I encourage you to take your own tour of praise through the garden before or after the service this Sunday.
     After the tour of the garden, I walked over to pick up the mail and inspect those wildflowers a bit closer. The honeybees (all too few this summer) were doing their own miraculous work, buzzing from one gift of God to the next. Those flowers are, after all, wildflowers. No one planted them. No one expects them. They are gifts from God. Flowers as grace - sheer grace for those with the eyes to see.
     The author George Eliot once said, "If we had a vision of all ordinary life, it would be like hearing the grass grow or the squirrel's heart beat, and we should die of the roar which lies on the other side of silence. As it is, the quickest of us walk about well-wadded with stupidity." Watching those bees buzzing about in among those flowers, I was doing my level best to remove some of that well-wadded stupidity from my eyes and ears, straining to hear the deafening buzz of those bees, yearning to be blinded by the vivid color of those flowers, and finally, to give praise to the God who has charged this world with his grandeur.
     I've seen some folks in that same parking lot, their faces glued to their screens, looking for Pokemon creatures. (I've been told there is a Pokemon battle zone in the parking lot and that we might as well get used to people being there until this fad passes). I haven't seen any of the Pokemon Go-ers stoop to admire the delicate intricacy of the flowers or linger to watch the bees. None of them have paused in wonder at Deb's tomato plants, Barb's zucchini, or Herleen's cabbages. Or to give praise. Given that, wouldn't it be something if God's people, the church, could be present in Binghamton's parks and public places, gently calling the attention and focus of our Pokemon Going neighbors back to the real world, charged as it is with the grandeur of God? Can we be a people who assume a posture of attentive, focused praise for the sake of our neighbors?
     Following the service on Sunday Jennifer also called my attention to the fact that I was channeling C. S. Lewis' great essay "The Weight of Glory." It's been a long while since I've read it, but it must have been subconsciously in my mind nonetheless. Speaking of the weight of the glory of our fellow human beings who bear the image of our glorious God, Lewis reminds his readers that this appreciation of that glory doesn't call for gloomy seriousness all the time. He says, "This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously - no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption . . ." We could paraphrase Lewis like this, too: We must play. But our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists in the person who has, from the outset, taken God's creation seriously: the person who has assumed a posture of focused, attentive praise."
     For the sake of the world and in the power of the Holy Spirit, let's be God's joyful, merry people of praise!

From the Deacons:

World Renew Responds to El Nino Food Crisis
in Africa and Fights Alcoholism in Uganda:
     El Niño Food Crisis Affects Millions - World Renew Is Responding: Reflecting on the severity of the El Niño food crisis that is affecting millions of peoples’ lives across East and Southern Africa, it’s easy to be overwhelmed. The scope of the need is massive.
     Thousands of families, who depend on their crops for survival, have been unable to grow anything. It is heartbreaking to know that many people have few places to turn.
     To learn how World Renew is responding to the food crisis and Africa, and to donate, please click here.
     Marching for Alcohol Laws in Northern Uganda: World Renew, in partnership with the Diocese of Northern Uganda, identified alcoholism as one of the most pressing issues that have affected livelihoods in Acholi, a postwar conflict-affected region. Using the community mobilization and building approach, the partner community in Wakonye embarked on a drive to influence the key stakeholder to enact a law to address the affects of alcoholism.
     To learn more about this story, click here.


~ Valley Church ~
Gathered as God's family, we are sent into the world as agents of God's mission of renewal.

This Sunday:
Worship Service
at 10:00 a.m.

The Coming Week:
     Pastor Kurt will be on vacation from July 24 through July 31. If you need pastoral care during this time, please contact an elder or deacon.
     Sherm McElwain will be preaching on Psalm 127 on July 31.

That we might better pray for one another:

     We pray for peace and blessings for Wilson, Maggie, Miley, and Sophia Germain and the extended Germain family during a time of family hardship.
     We pray for continued healing and strength for Dot Simonds.
     We pray for Rusty Nelson as he travels back to the United States.
     We pray for the shalom of the greater Binghamton area, and for guidance as to specific ways we as individuals and as a church might partner with God as stewards of his reign to cultivate that shalom in the city of our exile.
     We pray for God's world: for the people of south and east Africa impacted by severe droughts there; for ongoing restoration, renewal, and justice for the people of Haiti; for refugees fleeing violence around the world; for those who are persecuted for their faith around the world; for God's miraculous intervention in the Middle East; for the people and leadership of the United States during this election season; for organizations fighting to protect religious liberty in our changing world.

     We pray for friends and family: for Jim Canary, Sr.; for healing for Adam Derzanovich; for Mike Corgan's nephew who is battling heroin addiction; for healing and rehabilitation for Marcus Doller's mother; for energy and strength for Alistair Krempel; we pray for those battling cancer: for Deb Harmon's brother, for Jim and Marsha Conrad's friend Judy, for Marcus Doller's friend Scott, for the DeYoungs' niece/cousin Terri; for the Petersons' friends Pat and Amy.

Sunday Morning Ministries for
July 24, 2016

Greeter: Terry Woodnorth

Ushers: Herleen DeYoung and Charlie Huizinga

Intercessory Prayer: Kurt Monroe

Scripture Reader: Claire Stocum

Nursery: Herleen DeYoung and Liz Bennett

Church Telephone: 607.648.8224
Church email:
Church website:

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Valley Church
1452 River Road
Binghamton, New York 13901

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