Thursday, April 30, 2015
We are heading into a season of holidays and vacations. From Mother’s Day to Memorial Day, from Father’s Day to Fourth of July, we are heading into a season of relationship. I pray that you and your family / friends will celebrate these days in a way that brings you rest and renewal.
More that, I pray that these days will be an opportunity for you to grow your faith.
How do you honor your relationship with Jesus in this coming season?
On Mother’s Day, as you honor your Mom, what if we remember when Mary responded to the announcement that she would give birth to God’s child. God called and she said, “Here I am”. Where are you with God’s call?
On Memorial Day, as we honor those who gave the most to protect the freedom our country affords, what if we remember those who gave the most to pass along the faith we share? The martyrs of the faith gave their life as a witness to their relationship with Jesus. What if we teach this to those we love?
On Father’s Day, as we honor those who have been Dad to us, what if we honor our heavenly Father? What if we recall the one who created us all and all we know? What if we remember the One who sustains and redeems us, who is the author of all true justice and mercy? What if you allowed yourself to be embraced by our heavenly Father’s love?
On the Fourth of July, as we honor the founders of our country and their claims of freedom and justice for all, what if we remembered the claims of our ancestors of faith? What if we honored our relationship with Jesus by celebrating an open communion table? What if we allowed God to set us free of the bondage we too often carry each day?
What if Jesus went on vacation with you? You know the Jesus who made wine at the wedding in Cana. You know the Jesus who called Zacchaeus from the tree to share a meal. What if Jesus joined you on the beach or the mountain or the stay-cation?
At a well, Jesus gave a woman life giving water. In the wilderness, Jesus gave a crowd more than enough to eat. On the water, Jesus stilled a storm that scared the disciples.
When we invite Jesus to join us on vacation or holiday, we are renewed in ways beyond imagining! If you want the address of our nearest sister church to your trip, contact the office. If you want prayer and worship resource material to take with you on your vacation / holiday, contact the church office. If you want prayer / worship content for your stay-cation and or every day, contact the church office.
Blessings on your in your travels may they be safe and may the journey provide more memories than the destination.
Wednesday, April 08, 2015
by Dr. Brooks
Matthew 5:14-16 (NRSV)
14 “You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. 15 No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.
I want to thank everyone who made our Easter celebration such a meaningful morning of worship and praise. I am so thankful for the ways that God walked with us as we journeyed through Lent and Holy Week. Even more am I thankful and humbled by God’s love for us as we know it through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Many thanks to you who provided worship leadership, flowers, music, and other service to our worshipping communities. What a glorious morning of baptisms and communion shared well. The sounds of our praise from our chancel choir and band and soloist and congregation were uplifting.
Jesus calls us to let our light shine so that other may give glory to God. Every word we share, every song we sing, each time we set the table of the Lord, each bulletin we hand out, and so much more is an opportunity for us to let our light shine. Our brothers and sisters of faith, our guests are encouraged when you share the light of your love for Jesus.
Living in the light is healthy for us. In the light we benefit from the vitamin D from the sun. In the light we find reconciliation for the brokenness experienced in the dark. In the light we see more clearly how God loves those with whom we share ministry.
As we journey from Easter into the summer months, let us be resolved to shine our light. The bushel basket of brokenness need not dim the brightness of our community. Though our formal, corporate confession in worship ceased with Lent, let us each continue to be humble in our prayers in the hope that we will be pleasing to God and a hope for others.
Be alert and aware for among us are many lights to illumine the way forward. Thanks be to God for gracing us with mercy and justice. Thanks be to God for the love we know best through Jesus Christ.
Thursday, April 02, 2015
For me to love you, it has to be about more than political correctness or being morally right. I am too weak and whinny, too selfish and shallow to love you. I need something more.
Growing up in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), I cherish communion. I am shaped by worship that weekly revolves around the Lord’s Table. A table of such radical love as to be open to everyone who is curious about Jesus regardless. The reconciliation and renewal of the bread and wine are of grace, mercy and justice enough as to be for all God’s creation.
Maundy Thursday is a high holy day of sorts in my tradition. A celebration of that time when Jesus shared the meal with his followers. Reading the words of institution from the sacred texts.
This year, we read from the gospel of John 13:1-17, 34b-35.
And there I read the “more” I need to love you.
Jesus washes the feet of the disciples … master serves the servant in a way the servant can never serve self. Jesus foreshadows the making clean only the Risen Savior can provide. Jesus then tells the followers to love each other as Jesus loves them.
I love you because Jesus told me to love you. That would be enough for the faithful. Yet there is more in this glimpse of heaven.
Jesus shows us love that is more than hopes and dreams. By washing the feet of his followers, Jesus demonstrates an active love. It is the thought that counts yet we are called never to settle for so little for our brothers and sisters. We are called to demonstrate such a love for each other that the world will know who we follow.
The “more” I needed to love you is the thankful life of response. When I love you, I am responding with thanksgiving to the table of the Lord set for us before our enemies. When I love you, I am responding with thanksgiving to Jesus’ washing our feet.
Living my life in response to Jesus saves me from my shallow and selfish, weak and whinny way. Though no promise this will be easy, loving you makes me a better person, with a more joyful experience of life.
Am I ready for the Risen Lord on Easter if I love you? If I live in thankful response to Jesus found at the Lord’s Supper and at the washing of feet?