June 22, 2017
A Balancing Act
By Rev. Hanna Peterson Shearer
This is from a sermon I preached at the North West Coast Presbytery Meeting June 8th.


We see at the very beginning of Scripture God’s incredible creativity and desire to make order out of chaos.  (Genesis 1) There are many days in my life that I would love for God to come down and create order out the chaos in my life! God loves to create and makes incredible masterpieces everywhere we look – flowers, animals, sunsets. My children also love to create and so I have little bits and pieces of paper, glue, tape, flower petals, bugs, dirt, and various unknown substances all over our house!  I do not appreciate their creativity and creations quite as much as I should, I’m afraid. I just see a mess to clean up.  


When Jesus left the disciples he gave them the mandate to teach people everything he taught them and to baptize them. (Matt. 28:18-20) It was a command with a promise… I am with you always, to the very end of the age. The pressure to learn from Jesus, teach others, baptize them and take that work to the ends of the earth can be overwhelming. But I cannot do it all on my own, and I don’t have to. That’s the good news of today. We are all called to learn, teach and share wherever we are and wherever God takes us. But it isn’t easy to keep it all together. There are many times when I take on too many things. And I cry out to heaven, “Lord, are you with me always??? Even today??? Can you make order out of this chaos?? I’ve got sermons to prepare and plane tickets to buy and study leave plans to make and it’s summer so I need to coordinate childcare and spend time with the kids… and… and… and…” 


I’m reading a book by Nicole Johnson, “Creating Calm in the Center of Crazy.” She writes: “If I had a nickel for every time someone suggested balance as a solution for crazy, I could buy my own beam. It is terrible advice, not only because I don’t think balance is possible, but also because it’s impossible to balance things that aren’t equal. Now, if balance means steadiness or stability, more yoga, or just not falling down all the time, I’m good with trying to find more balance. But if balance means making life “balance out” as if it were a checking account — spending equal time working and not working, being with your kids as much or more as you’re away from them — then this advice is a problem, not a solution… When you can’t make a forty-pound kettle bell and a Cheerio balance, you feel worse than you did before you got the advice!”


We can’t possibly make life “balance out”, particularly when things don’t have equal value. Spending time with my kids is great, as long as I can focus on them and not be frustrated about the mess they are creating. Spending time at the church is great as long as the computer works properly and I don’t have too many crises and I can get out and do visits once in a while…  But what I need more than anything is God’s presence and peace in the midst of the chaos. 


We started going on walks by the river as a family recently.  I imagined that it would be peaceful, together time. We could enjoy the beauty of God’s creation and get a little exercise. Instead, Paul doesn’t want to be in his stroller, so he’s crying and climbing out, Vivienne is too tired of walking and complains that we are going too far, there are bugs flying in our noses, and I end up wishing I was in the river!  In spite of the frustrations and the unmet impossible expectations, we will keep going on walks by the river.  It will get better. The complaining will lessen. The sore muscles will heal. The changes of seasons will change our perspective and our family.  And we will continue to walk with God as a family. Our balancing act is not for the short term goal, it’s for long-term gain.  We will spend time together even when it’s difficult. We will notice God’s creation.  And we will share what we learn about God. That’s making disciples.  

Women's Ministry is having a Craft Day in the First Pres Center on
Saturday, June 24
from  9 am - 5 pm.

Bring your own projects and a potluck dish for lunch! 

Please sign up at the Information Table. For any questions, contact Jeanna Mabry at jmichmabry@hotmail.com or  547-3295.

June 25 – Fasting, “Hungry for God”

July 2 –   “Equipped Through Study”

July 9 –  “The Gift of Simplicity”

July 16 – “Submission and Other Words We     Don’t Like”

July 23 – “Living Intentionally and Celebrating Sabbath”

July 30 – “Spiritual Directions”

Aug 6 –   “Worship”

Aug 13 – “Confession=Loving Our Neighbors”

Aug 20 – “Serving Our Neighbors”

Aug 27 – “Let’s Party!  Celebrating God’s Work in Our  Neighborhood.” 

2017 Picnic in the Park Schedule
Wednesday, June 28 at Underwood Park:  2020 W. 7th Ave, Kennewick

Wednesday, July 12 at Highlands Grange Park: 1600 S. Union St, Kennewick (next to the Kennewick Mid-Columbia Library)

Wednesday, July 26 at Highlands Grange Park: 1600 S. Union St, Kennewick (next to the Kennewick Mid-Columbia Library)

Please plan to bring a dish to share, place settings, suitable games, and an attitude to relax with those you already know and those you don't know very well yet.

Contact Dan Carl for more information (627-0287).

It is time to mark your calendars for Family Camp, on Labor Day Weekend, Sept.  2 -4 at Camp Wooten (near Dayton, WA).  As in past years, all cabins are available to us, or we can use any tents or RVs that we bring.  If you would like to help please sign up on the Information Table in the Narthex.  For additional information contact Dan Carl at 627-0287.

The Women’s Ministry will be hosting an Old Fashioned Potluck Picnic in the First Pres Center on July 2 after the 10 am Communion service. Dessert will be provided. If you want to help, please contact Jeanna at jmichmabry@hotmail.com or at 547-3295.

Thank you! 
A big THANK YOU goes out to the following people who helped bake cookies in the church on June 15 for Orcas:


     Gayle Foster, Organizer

      Ginger Clark

      Liz Barker   

      Chris Thackaberry

      Kay Workinger

      Melissa Ruzicka and Sarah & Ethan

      Mary Puckett

      Kathy Ferguson


We made 49 dozen of cookies!