Category Archives: What’s Brewing At St. Arbucks

What’s Brewing – August 2019

A letter to Mr. and Mrs. Hallmark, C/O Hallmark Cards:

Thank you, Hallmark family, for providing greeting cards for all occasions through these many years. You have enabled and encouraged people of all ages to remember their loved ones with birthday and anniversary greetings. You have provided greeting cards to comfort the bereaved, encourage the newlyweds, welcome the new baby, and in general, to encourage people to reach out to friends and neighbors with thoughtful, meaningful, loving, and even clever and humorous ways. And for this we give you thanks!

However, I do have a very serious concern about the way you continue to portray people 50 years and older. As a matter of fact, I would even suggest that your company is one of the biggest industries that continue to view old age as negative and youth as positive. Your messages continue to be in denial about the process and blessings of aging. You portray aging as something that must be denied rather than a gift from the Lord to be celebrated.

May I strongly suggest that you change your mindset and attitude about aging and see aging as a blessing to celebrate rather than a burden to bear; to no longer see aging as a problem to fix or a disease to be cured, but rather as a powerful, rational, life-long process that connects all of us as one community of people – children, youth, adults, and older adults.

Let me hasten to encourage you to continue to share and use the gift of laughter, joy, and humor that is so evident in so many of your greeting cards. People of all ages need to laugh and “lighten up” more in this serious world of ours! The key is that you, and all of us, help people to laugh at themselves, rather than laugh at others who are different that we are. Help us to look in the mirror each morning and laugh out loud at what we see! Help us to take each other “less seriously” and take the Lord and His blessings to us very seriously. Remember that “aging is the only way to live”!

I like to laugh. I am Lutheran so I like to “make fun” of Lutherans. Why pick on the problems of the Methodists? Lutherans have enough problems of their own! I am 79 years old, so I like to laugh at the dumb things I do as an older person, rather than having someone else do it to me. Help us to laugh at ourselves before someone else does! Let the older laugh at themselves and not at the younger, and let the younger make fun of themselves, and not of the older.

What kind of message are we adults sending to younger people if we continue to portray them/us as forgetful, crippled, dependent, and always needing help? Sure, many of us are more dependent on others than we had been. Yes, some of us are even HARD OF HEARING! But that does not make us any lesser an individual, or of lesser value that the younger, Life is not over when a person “retires”! Perhaps we need to change the word “retire” to the word “re-position”, as older adults become even more important to serve as mentors, examples, forgivers, and friends of people of all ages as they continue to age gracefully by using their gifts.

Recently I spent some time in one of your lovely stores. The clerks probably thought I was “casing the joint” for a possible robbery, but I spent “hours” ready your birthday cards, especially as they related to older people. Here are some “good examples” of “bad examples” I found, which, to me, portrays aging as a negative journey, a frightful experience, a dead end, and something that should be shunned rather something to celebrate and seen as a blessing. I recall the story of two little kids at a funeral looking at the casket of an 88 year old man. “What did he die from?”, one asked. The other said, “Don’t get too close to him. They say he died of old age!”

Here is a small sampling from the Hallmark shelves:

  1. “You couldn’t wait to get older. You can stop now!”
  2. “Aging is something we all must face – You – sooner. Me – later!”
  3. “Don’t worry. You’re not old. You’re just a young person that a lot has happened to.”
  4. “Remember when you used to laugh at people who were old? Now, what was so funny?”
  5. “Birthdays are like cocktails. The more you have the less you feel like keeping count.”
  6. (Picture of an elephant on the cover) – Inside it reads….” Feel Ir-elevant “? Welcome to the club!
  7. “Remember when you were young and handsome? “Me neither!”
  8. “Fairy tales can come true, it can happen to you – when you’re YOUNG-at-HEART. Sorry, Frank Sinatra, but I wouldn’t count on it at your age!”

Clever? Sure. Cute? I suppose. But let’s make sure we continue to laugh and celebrate WITH older people instead of laughing AT them!

Rich Bimler

What’s Brewing – July 2019


The folks at St. Arbucks this morning were in a festive and feisty mood. We got into a great discussion regarding exercise, doing household chores, and evaluating the latest convenient ways of communicating with one another, especially in this complex world of ours. The catchy “theme” that surfaced in the group was, “How can we all ‘Live Brightly” in this society when there is so much bullying, self-serving, disrespect, bashing, and downright fear being shared and showered upon us constantly. One of the group shared that his new “quote” of the times is, “I am for the separation of Church and hate!”

So perhaps one small but significant way to handle these other major issues of the day, is to continue to do all that we can to take care of ourselves so that we are more ready to confront and combat that world of distrust and fear around us.

A recent study by a neurology research group confirms the value of any and all types of physical activities to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. “Washing the dishes” was right up there at the top of the list, along with cooking, cleaning, walking, aerobics, and golfing (but without a cart!). The Mayo Clinic confirms this study with their own research that adds that a combination of moderate exercise and mental stimulation through computer use can also reduce memory loss and also keep us better informed of issues in our present society.

To some, these results may seem to be stating the obvious, but they do reinforce the fact that for us older adults, keeping active in mind, body, and spirit sure does add quality and value to the aging process.  These are encouraging words for all of us, even if we do not enjoy doing the dishes!

As you have no doubt have heard, the number of older adults using the computer, e-mail, Facebook, and even texting, continues to increase. As a matter of fact, the age segment of people over 75 has the largest percentage of new computer users in the U.S. This  is most certainly  an encouraging sign as long as we mix our “sitting time” at the computer with more energizing and body stretching activities. I know a couple who has fallen into a non-healthy routine of e-mailing each other regularly while sitting in their offices, which happen to be located only a few steps away from each other! Perhaps they need to meet each other in the kitchen, to do dishes, of course!

Blending physical activities and mental exercises allows us to “Live Brightly!” It does not mean that our aches and pains and fears of today’s world will vanish and that we will “live happily ever after”, but it does mean that we will be able to live a life more abundantly in the Lord …and have more fun doing it! It does mean that we can become more aware of the brightness of life each day,  be more alive as we share this brightness with others, and become more involved in sharing our faith while we deal with the fears rivalries  of today’s world.

So enjoy the brightness of living lively in the Lord, each and every day. And even if you don’t like washing the dishes, go out and wash someone’s dog, or do the windows, or take a hike, or share your faith-full insights with people around you who have a different “world view” than you do. As a matter of fact, perhaps the best exercise of all is to walk daily…. with the Lord!  He’s right there with you, raring to go!

Rich Bimler

Ambassador of Health, Hope, and Aging

What’s Brewing – June 2019

Welcome from the friendly confines of …..St. Arbucks! Our discussion this morning focused around the Beatitudes of Matthew 5:1-10 as we all strongly affirmed how blessed we are as God’s people! As we share the gifts that the Lord gives to us each day, we share those gifts with the children, youth, and adults of all ages around us. What a great way to live!

Isn’t it such a joy that God’s people of all ages teach us adults so many things about being blessed? Here’s a quick story:

One day the father of a very wealthy family took his son on a trip to an “under-developed” country to show his son how poor people live in the world. They spent a few days on a farm hosted by a “very poor” family. On their return home, the dad asked his son, “How was the trip?”

“It was great, Dad!”

“Did you see how poor people can be?”, the Father asked.

“Oh yes”, said the Son.

“So, what did you learn from the trip?”, asked the Father.

The son thought for a moment and then answered, “I saw that we have one dog and they have four. We have a pool that covers our back yard, and they have a creek that has no end. We have imported lanterns on our patio, and they have the stars at night. We have a small piece of land to live on, and they have fields that go on and on. We have to buy our food, but they grow theirs. We have walls around our property to protect us, but they have friends to protect them.

The boy’s father was speechless. Then his son added, “Thanks, Dad, for showing me how poor we are.”

All too often we forget what we have and concentrate on what we do not have. It is so easy to think that the gifts we have in life are gifts that we have earned and deserve, rather than seeing that all of life is a gift given to us by a loving and gracious God! One person’s worthless object is another person’s prize possession. It’s all a matter of perspective!

Blessed are …..we, indeed! Blessed are we because He loves us and provides everything for us to continue to serve Him by serving others!

Today, we thank the Lord for the children, youth, and adults around us, who we so often take for granted. We also ask the Lord for His forgiveness as we often live selfish lives and seem to think that life is all about how much we can spend and earn and keep for ourselves, as if “whoever gets the most” in life, wins!

Let us continue to celebrate life by affirming how blessed we really are in order to share our lives and gifts with others throughout the world. Let us continue to share our riches with those people who God has placed around us, in Chicago, Nebraska, Palestine, and throughout the world. Let us continue to model for others that life is not about possessing  things but rather about confessing that the Lord continues to bless us so that we can be blessings to others!

Blessed are we ….indeed!  And that’s what’s happening at St. Arbucks this week!

Rich Bimler

What’s Brewing – May 2019

The topic “assigned” last month to our St. Arbucks’ coffee clutch group was “What are the signs of Health and Hope in your Congregation?”  We offer these 10 insightful concepts for you and your “group” to discuss and share, with or without the Starbucks:

  1. There is a vision for the future. It is God’s vision of faith and hope that we are empowered to articulate. Verbalize it, name it, repeat it, live it!
  2. There is a celebrative spirit! There is laughter. There are smiles and hugs. And even in the tears, there is love and acceptance.
  3. There is a “passion” for people! Faith communities know that “God so loved the world” – and that includes everyone, those inside and those outside of our faith communities. There is a passion to tell others of God’s love for them, especially to those who think God has forgotten them.
  4. There is a sense of Hope! Hope is not a naïve wish that everything will go well. Rather, it is the assurance that in spite of the Good Fridays in our lives, there is always an Easter!
  5. There is the proclamation of the Gospel, in doing and in telling. The Gospel of Christ is alive because the Spirit is present in our lives.
  6. There is a global mind-set. We see the Lord alive in all of life throughout all the world with all of His people and we help and encourage others to connect with other cultures, ideologies, and environments.
  7. There is a sense of “taking care of ourselves” as individuals with gifts and needs, and as people of ALL ages – the younger and the older. This, however, is not an inward look at the expense of looking “outward” to others, but it is a commitment to keep each other healthy and whole in the name of the healing Christ. We need to care for ourselves so that we are equipped to care for others.
  8. There is a “servant-leadership” style. Our task is to equip those we serve so that they are equipped to serve others. This is the sign of a servant leader in Christ! This is the sign of Christ living in us! Servants come in all ages, colors, and sizes!
  9. There is a lot of “Resurrection Practicing!” As Wendell Barry puts it: “Expect the end of the world. Laugh. Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful though you have considered all the facts!” Practice Resurrection daily!
  10. There is forgiveness ….always! Life is for-giving! And life is forgiving. We live out a life of forgiveness because He first has forgiven us!

And Let all of God’s people – the younger and older – say AMEN and HOORAY!

What’s Brewing – April 2019


“Younger people and older people aren’t separate species. The old were once young, the young will get old. We have a lot of common cause.” (Mary Schmich)

The St. Arbucks’ coffee guzzlers agree entirely with the above quote. We wish we would have said that! Why is it that our society seems to continue to separate us by “age groups” and then wonder why we often do not understand each other? Our conversations this week centered on how we older ones can become more intentional about connecting with our younger friends all around us. How can we also model to the younger that we also need their presence, smiles, and input as we continue to age?

One grandpa turned the discussion around by sharing a “clever” approach to grandkids by writing up a list of “How grandkids can get along with your grandparents” Here goes:

  1. Carry pictures around of your grandparents at all times!
  2. Call us at any time, about anything.
  3. Keep loving your parents, as they keep loving you.
  4. Laugh at Grandpa’s jokes, even if …..
  5. Hug as much as you can. Grandparents live on hugs.
  6. Always know that your parents love you, even when you may not feel that they do.
  7. Listen to your parents more than your grandparents – they have to live with you!
  8. Say “I love you” as often as you can to your grandparents.
  9. Let them win some of the card and board games you play. They need affirmation also!
  10. Help your family and friends know that the Lord loves us all through our laughter, friendship, and caring for each other, as well as for others!

Our discussion then centered around what is the basic role of grandparents and other older adults  to younger people. One word sums up our thoughts….ENCOURAGE! Do a word study in the Scriptures and see the significance of this word. It means to “inspire with hope.” The Lord encourages us through His love and forgiveness to be encouragers of one another. Other “encouraging” words from the Lord to check out are: Hebrews 3:13, Hebrews 10:25, and Ephesians 6:22. 

So what are some other specific ways we can make intentional “connections” between the younger around us? First of all, be creative. Think of little action steps, take advantage of the people the Lord puts into our lives. And build on the relationships you already have with the younger!

How can you greet some young folks before and after worship? How can you show interest in the high school student who comes to your door asking for financial help on a school trip? Any chance of you signing up as a tutor at a local school?  Here’s a few more quick suggestions shared:

  1. Listen, listen, listen to little kids. Give advice, if you wish, but no need to tell them what to do or not to do. Just listen and respond accordingly.
  2. Do special projects with the younger: visit hospitals and retirement homes together, play sports together, make something together, take them to a ball game, for an ice cream cone, or a movie.
  3. Think Out Loud. Let the younger hear your thoughts, concerns, passions for life. Share your own joys, as well as concerns, with them. A great way to model the process of aging.
  4. Share your faith together. Point out “God Sightings” to them in your own life. Talk about “What a friend we have in Jesus”, regardless of our age!
  5. Ask the little ones for their advice. Get a better perspective of their views on issues, joys and concerns of living. Then share your thoughts in non-judgmental ways.

In general, celebrate the little things in life with as many young people as possible. Be the “friendly, encouraging older adult” and a model of celebrating the Christ-Life, rather than the stereotype “grumpy old guy”! All it sometimes takes is a smile, a chuckle, and a kind word of friendship and support.

Come to think of it: as we encourAGE, encourAGE, encourAGE the younger, the Lord turns it around and helps them to encourage us as well. What a partnership of faith!

Philippians 2:1-3 is a nice conclusion for our St. Arbucks discussion: “If you have any encouragement from being united in Christ, if any comfort from His love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in  spirit  and purpose. “

I think I’ll go and call my grandson right now, just to say “Hi” and “Thanks for being You!

Rich Bimler

What’s Brewing – March 2019

A recent quote from a St. Arbucks’ session: “Don’t get all weird about getting older! Our age is merely the number of years that the world has been enjoying us!”

Now how’s that about an “Attitude of Gratitude?” Seeing each day as a gift from the Lord, regardless of our age, is a hope-full way of celebrating God’s gift of aging as we model this mindset for others to grasp.

The St. Arbucks’ Coffee Clutch group had a fun time of “playing” our made-up game of asking each person to add a descriptor to the word, “Aging”. Here are some of the responses:

  1. Aging Joyfully
  2. Aging Gracefully
  3. Aging Thoughtfully
  4. Aging Well
  5. Aging Grudgingly
  6. Aging Regretfully

Any that you might add to the list? Perhaps for some, it really depends on how each day is going. Lots of worries about snow and cold? Not a day to be joyful. Enjoying the grandkids? Wow, what a joy-filled day! Sorry for what you said yesterday?  Regretfully aging, indeed!

However, perhaps we need to keep in mind that “Aging Joyfully or Gratefully or Well “ is not talking about our day-to-day ups and downs and goods and bads in life. Rather, it is referring to our relationship in the Lord, because of what He has already done and is doing in and through us, in spite of our feelings and failures.

Our definition of “old” or “elderly” may change as we age but our relationship with the Lord never changes! Our words reflect and shape our prejudices and expectations .This is why it is so crucial in these days that we St. Arbucks’ people, and others, model and reflect an attitude of hope and joy and celebration, even as we continue to ach and brake and even fake our feelings and attitudes. As the author Ashton Applewhite states, “Ageism is the last socially sanctioned prejudice”, perhaps because we older people are not modeling and speaking out more boldly about the gift and joys of aging!

Aging well and joyfully and gracefully all involve living honestly. And it is crucial that we embrace the truth of getting older. However, we do not have a good language or “snap chat” for aging that challenges our church and society’s discomfort with it. Check this mindset out by Googling the word, “elderly”. The first definitions we see include….old, mature, older, senior, hoary, ancient, old as the hills, past one’s prime, over the hill, and no spring chicken! Perhaps not intentionally, our society defines “old” in the broader sense with the term “demeaning.”

But it’s only a word, right? What’s the big deal of how we use and perceive “aging”? If only it were so!

The St. Arbucks’ group will continue to discuss these fascinating concepts and mindsets. Why don’t you join us at your own “St. Arbucks’” location?

And in the meantime, continue to celebrate God’s gift of aging, and please do not fall into the trap like Frank Sinatra did when he sang, “Fairy tales can come true it can happen to you if you’re young at heart.”  Wrong, Frank, so wrong! Look around you folks – great things are happening to us when we are “old at heart” as well!

Rich Bimler

What’s Brewing – February 2019


What are some of your favorite quotes you have heard through the years? Which ones have you remembered and still share with family and friends? We all hear cute slogans, clever quips, and scintillating stories each day. Some I remember. Some I try to forget. Some I wish I could recall. I have found it fascinating to take a clever quote and build a story, article, or message around it, surrounded by good Law-Gospel theology, of course!

Well, that’s just what the St. Arbucks’ folks did recently as we were sipping and munching away. See what you think of them. Perhaps these will convince your mind to share some of your favorite stories with others as well. Ready, set, go:

  1. Mother Teresa said, “True holiness consists in doing God’s word with a smile.”
  2. Robert Orben quips, “I want to thank and pay tribute to all of our volunteers- those dedicated people who believe in all work and no pay.”
  3. Seen on a refrigerator door: “If you sleep on it, make it up; if you wear it, hang it up; if you drop it, pick it up; if you eat out of it, wash it; if you open it, close it; if you turn it on, turn it off; if you empty it, fill it up; if it rings, answer it; if it howls, feed it; if it cries, love it!”
  4. “The most handicapped person in the world is a negative thinker.” Heather Whitestone.
  5. Leon Bloy says, “Joy is the most infallible sign of the presence of the Lord!”
  6. Robert Greenleaf quips, “Not much happens without a dream. And for something great to happen, there must be a dream. Behind every great achievement is a dreamer of dreams.”
  7. “The perception of a problem is always relative. Your headache feels terrific to your pharmacist!”
  8. “When we learn to laugh at ourselves we will have enough material to keep us laughing forever!”
  9. From an Australian aborigine woman: “If you come to help me, then you can go home again. But if you see my struggle as part of your own survival and life, then perhaps we can work together.”
  10. Something I wish I would have said, so I think I will – “A keen sense of humor helps us to overlook the unbecoming, understand the unconventional, tolerate the unpleasant, overcome the unexpected, and outlast the unbearable.”

Now how about you thinking and sharing your favorite quips with others? Much joy and wisdom can come of it. At least the folks at St. Arbucks have a good time with it, but of course, that might be the strong coffee talking!

And to close – we bring before the Lord the prayer of King Solomon; “Lord, give me a listening heart!” Blessings and joy as you share these quips and quotes with others as we continue to share God’s love and forgiveness.

And that’s what’s brewing at St. Arbucks this morning!

Rich Bimler

What’s Brewing – January 2019

                                     COME LET US WORSHIP …THE SUPER BOWL!

The hype has already begun for the biggest “worship” event of 2019…the  53rd Super Bowl in Atlanta , Georgia! So grab your food, drink, friends, and family and get ready the BIGGIE, on Sunday, February 3!

A few of us St. Arbucks’ fans will also recognize this Holy day as the 4th Sunday after the Epiphany, but we are afraid our numbers are shrinking. This 21st Century Super Sunday will reach millions of people all over the world. In addition to the capacity-filled “worship arena” in Atlanta, this event will be seen on big and bigger screens all over the world – in homes, bars, restaurants –wherever God’s people are!

The “Community Outreach “committee has been working for months at promoting this event. Advertisers are spending billions of bucks just to get their product mentioned. No offering plate to cover any expenses to tell this spectacular story!

The Processional begins with hundreds of really huge men swarming out onto the “worship” field in liturgical garb of all colors. Many silent prayers for victory continue to be chanted and even yelled, admonishing the ‘best team” to win. The worshipers will wildly stand and welcome these worship leaders, no doubt with much more gusto that the typical “greeter” at the front door of our home congregation. The “Invocation” will be sung by a famous person of the “choir” who usually is so well received that the congregation breaks into wild cheers and chants event before the last “hymn stanza” is sung. Can you imagine that these worshipers are paying big, big, bucks to come to worship, sing, and shout, which is a phenomenon that stewardship committees are seriously studying to see what their local congregations can learn from this miracle!

Hey, wait a minute! “Stop this nonsense”, you may insist, as others at St. Arbucks have. Aren’t we taking this a little toooo far in comparing the Super Bowl to our Sunday worship experiences? Besides, even if our society continues to focus more and more on success, bigness, winning, and on an “I am #1” kind of “theology”, does this mean that we, the Church, need to follow along? Of course not! As a matter of fact, perhaps it means that we Super People in the Lord have a BIGGER task of helping those around us to see how our Super Lord continues to love, forgive, and empower all of us to bring this same message to those around us – at Super Bowls as well as to the lonely, the last, and the lost? You and I celebrate the Super Bowl EVERY Sunday as we worship around Word and Sacrament with other saints in the Lord. Our Super Bowl is the Baptismal Font that called us all to be on the Lord’s Team, the Church. We already ARE winners – every day!

 2 Corinthians 11:5, says it well:  “ I think that I am not in the least inferior to these super-apostles.”…….I may be untrained in speech, but not in knowledge; certainly in every way and in all things we have made this evident to you.”  Wow, what a contrast to a culture that continues to emphasize “Superhood” at the expense of “Servanthood”! You and I can confidently and calmly continue to proclaim that we have a Super Lord who has come to us so that we do not have to be super winners on our own, because he has already won it for us! Yes, we really are #1 in Christ, regardless of who wins in Atlanta, on the Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany!

And now, pass me the Tostitos!

Rich Bimler


What’s Brewing – December 2018

The “Hurry Sickness” is alive and well at St. Arbucks! It is not just because “Tis the season to be rushing!” but rather it’s the daily mood and speed of today’s society.  Remember comic Lily Tomlin’s quote, “The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you’re still a rat!”?

As folks, young and old, hurry in and out of St. Arbucks this morning, we pondered the fact that many of us have the “Hurry Sickness”, big time, starting with me. Larry Dossey’s book, “Space, Time, and Medicine” puts it this way, “Just as Pavlov’s dogs learned to salivate inappropriately, we have learned to hurry inappropriately. Our sense of urgency is set off, not by a real need to act quickly, but through learned cues.” Our “bells” have become the internet, Facebook, texts, Instagram, and all the others – yes, even our morning Starbucks! (Quick aside – I recently saw a sweatshirt in St. Arbucks that read, “Sorry coffee, this situation calls for alcohol!”

The “Hurry Sickness” is very contagious, and some of us are actual carriers of it to others! It is easy to catch this illness. There is so much to do, so many events to plan for, so many people to see, and it’s on and on and on. Martin Luther was right when he exclaimed, “the hurrier I go, the behinder I get!” (Well, perhaps Luther didn’t say this, but he should have!”) We, or at least I, build in self-inflicted expectations into our daily lives. The book, “Time Management for Unmanageable People”, by Dr. McGee Cooper, claims that “hurry sickness” is a metaphor for all of those illnesses brought on or exacerbated by stress, rush, and internal and external constant pressure.  She adds:

  1. Messages from childhood tell us that faster is better.
  2. Modern society encourages hurry sickness – it’s everywhere we turn.
  3. Only a conscious effort to slow down will help “cure” us of hurry sickness.
  4. We all need to learn to balance “doing” time with “being” time. After all, we are human “beings” first, and then human “do-ers”.

Take a look at our lives – do we rush to be first in line? Do we get stressed out in gridlock traffic, even though our lives probably will not change if we are 10 minutes early or late? Do we finish each others’ sentences and rush ahead of the story? Do we skip breakfast or lunch to “save time”, or even eat on the go?   Do we not have time to stop and visit with a family member? And on and on!

I am reminded of a Charlie Brown cartoon that shows Lucy telling Charlie what’s wrong with him. When Charlie asks Lucy “What can I do about it?”, Lucy simply replies, “I don’t have the answers, my job is to only point out the problems!”

But rejoice old hurrying people of God! The spirit of our Lord continues to come to us with His reassuring words in Psalm 46:10 – “Be still and know that I am God”! I do not always listen but we do know through faith that He is there to calm the storms in our lives, and to settle us down with His peace, hope, and grace. He also sends caring people into our lives to help us to “Remember the Sabbath”, to lighten up, to calm down, and to help us to take time for spiritual renewal, solitude, and just plain rest!

Perhaps you have not caught the “Hurry Sickness”. Good for you! The Lord has given you the gifts to help those of us who have caught it to hear the reassuring message of the Lord through your caring, forgiving, and loving actions to us, the hurrying horde! And if you are infected with “HS”, watch for those special people around you like ….little kids, grandparents, spouses, staff persons, and other friends…who the Lord has placed into your life for you to sooth, listen, hug, and forgive!

May this day be a gift to each of us to take a deep breath, thank the Lord for all of our blessings, pray often, sit and do “nothing” for 15 minutes…and while we’re at it, let’s read Psalm 46:10 again and again ….and try not to get caught in rush hour traffic!

Rich Bimler

What’s Brewing – November 2018

Here I am, sitting in a St. Arbucks, one of our world-wide offices, waiting for my friend to arrive. I look around and see fascinating sites that remind me, in numerous ways, of our congregations.  Some of my thoughts affirm and support what is happening in our churches on Sunday morning. Others, quite honestly, do not, and make me wonder why. Let me count the ways as I give you a quick synopsis through these observations:

  1. People are streaming in and out of the entrance in brisk fashion. They seem to be on a mission –to grab their favorite java and get back into their cars to fight the morning rush. No “greeters” needed – these folks know what they are after!
  2. The tables are full of people who are evidently not in a hurry but have a purpose in mind – to relax, to begin the day with a friend, to just enjoy the moment. There is a student working on an assignment. I see two business people evidently talking about their agendas and priorities for the day. There is a woman with 3 little kids, each sipping on something (hopefully not coffee) while the woman tries to keep them quiet. There are two older men in the corner studying the Scriptures together. There is a woman doing a crossword puzzle (who I later find out comes here every morning as a respite before she takes on the task of caring for her 90-something year old Mom.)
  3. I look outside and see 15-plus cars waiting patiently (hopefully) in the Drive-Through lane. A quick 3 minute survey I take shows that 63% of the drivers are women. Not sure what that means, but it is an interesting statistics, eh?! I equate the drive-through line as a modern day confessional booth, a kind-of “Toot and Tell”. Would that ever work in our churches? I ponder….and then I drop that idea!
  4. I wonder how many of our Sunday morning worshippers come to Church with the energy and passion that I see around me here? Evidently these people’s needs are being met and they are committed to doing whatever it takes to meet these needs. I am amazed how Starbucks is providing a quality product, at a fairly high price, to people of all ages, and providing quality service at the same time.
  5. I stop observing for a moment and wonder if I am comparing apples to oranges, so to speak. Come on, I say to myself, get real. People come to worship to praise the Lord, grow in the faith, celebrate the Sacraments, be the Communion of Saints in that place, and to be refreshed by the power of God’s Word as they head back into their world. Here at St. Arbucks we have people focusing on their own needs, their own lifestyles, and their own priorities.
  6. On the other hand, I am observing with my own eyes people of all ages who evidently see St. Arbucks as a “safe place”, a place to build community, a place that accepts them for who they are and even for how they look, a place where relationships can grow, and a place where their needs are being met. Some “take aways” for me as I “ponder anew what the Almighty can do….” is that we as God’s people can learn from St. Arbucks to focus on relationships, model celebrative ways to live, develop safe opportunities to grow, be intentional about “attracting” people of all ages, and to deliver a Message of love and caring, not in the name of Coffee, but in the name of Christ Jesus! Remember the old “Cheers” TV show and their theme song, “….a place where everybody knows my name.”? Now that is something for us to accomplish, at St. Arbucks, sure, but even more importantly in our own “Word and Sacrament” Community, called the Church!

And that’s what’s brewing at St. Arbucks this day!

Rich Bimler