Monday, August 31, 2015

WMTRBW Week 1: Awe and Wonder

This week, in response to Sunday's worship, you are invited to read chapter 1 of "We Make the Road By Walking," Awe and Wonder. I hope you'll also read again the scriptures we read in worship--Genesis 1:1-2:3, Psalm 19:1-14, and Matthew 6:25-34.

In the sermon yesterday we talked about the power of awe--how we can be transformed by letting our breath be taken away, by the beauty of the world and the wonder of our God. One of the reflection questions at the end of this week's chapter is, "What is the most beautiful place you have ever seen? What was so special about it?" I thought I'd share my answer in hopes that it might inspire some of you to share your answers in the comments section below!

I had, like, a four way tie in thinking about this. But what I finally settled on is Crater Lake National Park in Oregon, which I had the chance to visit last summer. Crater Lake is in the middle of NOWHERE--you have to drive about 3 hours from anywhere that's anywhere to see it, so it is really uncrowded--part of what made me love it. It wasn't full of tourists, just beauty. Part of what made such an impression on me is that you drive, drive, drive from the park entrance, up and up and see nothing for a long time...then all of a sudden there the lake is, spread out far below in the crater of a volcano (hence the name) that erupted 7700 years ago and left this lake in its place. The photo at right is not doctored at all--the water is really that blue. It is some of the clearest water on earth because no rivers run in or out of it--it is all rainwater and melted snow. I spent a whole day with my husband and one of my best friends just driving and hiking our way around its rim that measures 6 miles across, a perfect sunny day that actually led to us getting sunburned, not taking into account the high elevations we were at even though it was not that warm outside. It is a place I can only describe as magical.

So what about you? Let's practice awe and wonder this week: what is the most beautiful place you have ever been? What was so special about it?

Saturday, August 29, 2015

We Make the Road By Walking

Last week in worship, I used the sermon as a chance to introduce the new worship and spiritual formation journey our church will be on together this year. We will be taking our worship texts and reading together from Brian McLaren's book We Make the Road by Walking over the course of the next 52 weeks. Here is an excerpt from last Sunday's sermon that tells you a little about this adventure:

Deep down, we are all seeking aliveness. We are hungering for that deeper life, something beyond daily survival, something that makes our hearts burn within us, something that feeds us on a deeper level. Jesus desires this aliveness for us with a passion and longs for us to join him on the journey. Over the coming 52 weeks we are going to endeavor to do just that in an intentional way.  From now through next August, our worship texts will be taken from the texts suggested at the beginning of each of the chapters in this book. This will guide us through the story of scripture in four arcs—Alive in the Story of Creation, Alive in the Adventure of Jesus, Alive in a Global Uprising, and Alive in the Spirit of God. We will hear the story of scripture afresh and ask what implications it has for leading us into deeper life. Then, during the week that follows worship, you will be encouraged to read the corresponding chapter in the book. The church is providing a free copy for each household in hopes that you'll do your best to participate. I know our lives are busy, but the chapters are short, 4-5 pages each that can be read in about 10 minutes, with some reflection questions you might engage individually or as a family—there are even questions for kids. We also want to provide chances for you to reflect as a community, both through the internet on a weekly basis—we hope to set up something on our blog or other online forum—and on a monthly basis through gathering with others around a meal to talk about what you are learning. Chances to sign up for these will come in September. 

Tomorrow we begin this journey by taking a look at the first chapter, which focuses primarily on Genesis 1:1-2:3. Early each week on the blog some questions and ideas for reflection on that week's chapter will be posted. I hope you'll not just read the blog, but actually respond in the comments section below so perhaps we can get some dialogue going during the week about what we are reading and reflecting on. Let's make the road by walking together!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Photos from our kids

Today in our children's sermon time we talked about the power of pictures. If you were to share a picture that showed something you love or something important about our church, I asked the kids, what would you snap a photo of?

Then I turned my phone over to the kids (crazy, I know) and here's what we got:

Maggie took a picture of the Christ candle we light to begin worship reminding us that Jesus is with us.

Charles took a picture of the cross at the center of our worship space.

Claire took advantage of the panorama function so she could include all of us present in one one left out!

James, Sophia and Solly took a picture of the butterfly our kids made in Music and Arts camp.

They also wanted to include a picture of the new "welcome space" created for people to rest and reflect outside of our church.

What snapshots would you use to share what you feel is important--about faith or your faith community? It is fun to think about and I am grateful to our kids for leading the way!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Trinity Sunday

Hello Church! We took a bit of a blog break for Eastertide, but now that the season of Pentecost is 1 John 4:7-21...where do you see hints of God as three persons yet one unity--Father, Son, and Holy Spirit--in this reading?
upon us we are back, preparing to celebrate the first Sunday in Pentecost, also known as Trinity Sunday. We will be continuing our series in 1 John by reading

The Trinity is beyond confusing, even for me--so as part of our sermon time on Sunday I'll be talking about my favorite video about the Trinity. For those of you who wish, you can preview it ahead of time by clicking on the YouTube link below (if you receive the blog by email, you may have to go to the webpage to view the video). How would you explain our God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit--Creator, Christ and Holy Ghost--if you were asked to do so? We will dive into this together, to the best of our ability, on Sunday!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Lent Day 40

 BOOK V - The Words of Post-Resurrection Encounters

1 The first words
2 His revealing of Himself as Messiah on the Emmaus road
3 The infusion of the Spirit in His empowering of those gathered with Him
4 The conversation with Thomas
5 The prophecy to Peter of his martyrdom
6 The words of Ascension

Reflect: It seemed the words from the cross were Jesus' last...but they were not! Tomorrow he will speak again. We do not have many words recorded from the time Jesus spent with his disciples and friends between Easter morning and the day of his Ascension, but what sticks out to you from the words we do have recorded? How do these words fill you with hope as we anticipate the resurrection tomorrow?

Friday, April 3, 2015

Lent Day 39

BOOK IV - The Words of Intimate Conversation
56 His words of forgiveness
57 His assigning of John as caregiver to Mary
58 His resignation
59 His granting of salvation to one of the robbers
60 His last words before Resurrection

Reflect: On this Good Friday, we have come to the words Jesus spoke from the cross. We have been hearing these words in worship throughout Lent; how does it strike you, now, to hear them all together?

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Lent Day 38

BOOK IV - The Words of Intimate Conversation

51 In the garden of Gethsemane
52 The arrest and His interpretation of it
53 His claiming, before the High Priest, His divinity
54 Testimony before Pilate
55 His prophecy about the end times

Reflect: On this day when Jesus is arrested, we are all full of questions. This is another good set of readings for reflecting on the questions Jesus asked. Go through and pick out all the questions--what do you hear in his inquiries? Was he always looking for responses, or were his questions also a way of instructing?