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March 2014 Note PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 03 March 2014 15:11

 

Dear friends,

Starting this Wednesday, March 5, we begin the season of Lent, that season that invites us to clear out our internal clutter and make room for God. 

When I look back, I am not sure that I thought long and hard about Lent and why it mattered until I was trying to figure out how to observe a holy Lent in a way that my sons would gain in their knowledge and love of God and their compassion to neighbors. 

I want to offer a few thoughts about how we might construct a holy and life-giving Lent for ourselves this year, whether we are single or coupled or widowed or separated or whatever word(s) we would use. 

First, the season of Lent is NOT about simply giving up chocolate or xBox or coffee or Facebook. Lent mostly is not about giving up something. It is more about making room, making room for more faith, more hope, more love.  While this analogy is imperfect, it is like cleaning out a closet, donating the items to someone who can use them and then putting in a replacement.

Lent is about making more room in our hearts for God.  I don’t mean just thinking about God or your favorite Bible story – that’s ok and there is use in that practice. But Lent is not just about ideas.  Lent involves practicing new ways of living that make us more like Jesus.

Second, there are three practices that help us become more like Jesus.  They are fasting, prayer and caring for the poor. And they are spiritual practices, or disciplines, that require something more than thought.

These practices help us to make room so that, as we put some things aside, we practice living in the image of God.  We choose to act more like the image of God than anyone else. That takes practice. 

We will have many opportunities throughout Lent to gather together to learn more about God, to build community and to connect with God and live out service to neighbor. Later in this newsletter, we detail Ash Wednesday and our Cross + Gen Lenten Gatherings, offered on Wednesdays throughout Lent. We will also gather on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday in Holy Week. [Information about these will be in the April, 2014 Parishioner.]

That reason is the only reason we DO Lent:  it helps us practice becoming more like Jesus. We prepare ourselves for a holy Lent by making room.  The more we practice making room for God, the more loving we become.  My hope for all of us is that this Lent will be a time of making more room for Christ. 

Pastor Lynn

 
pastor's note PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 03 February 2014 17:45

 

Dear friends,

   As many of you know, we are exploring Jesus’ life as told by the author of the Gospel of John. This Gospel presents Jesus a little differently. Jesus is said to speak of himself in ways that we don’t find in Matthew, Mark or Luke and the stories he tells are longer. In the other Gospels, Jesus tells more parables, stories that invite the hearer to think and reach an understanding. In the Gospel of John, Jesus himself is the parable.

   There is much poetry and mystical language in John and there are also passages and words used that can be troubling. Unfortunately, John’s use of “the Jews” as the enemy of Jesus has been used over the centuries for horrible treatment of Jewish people at the hands of Christians over the centuries. Those days are hardly far behind us as some of these texts were used in support of the Nazi Holocaust. As you read John, please remember that Jesus and his followers were Jewish. The faith community that John writes to and for has been kicked out of the synagogue as the tensions between followers of Jesus and non-followers, particularly after the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE, heated up. We will read the texts with “Jewish leaders” or “Jewish religious leaders” to help clarify and avoid an anti-Jewish reading of the text.

   The texts of John has also been used to impose a certain orthodoxy in Christianity that don’t ring true for many. Yet the beauty of the texts and the truths to be discovered therein remain appealing and mysterious. We, a group of followers that don’t demand adherence to a creed, will explore the texts, seeking to gain knowledge of what God may be saying to us in these words and stories.

   To aid in our journey, the Congregational UCC Library has acquired a copy of The Fourth Gospel: Tales of a Jewish Mystic by John Shelby Spong. Spong is a leader in the progressive Christian movement and has been featured in many of the Living the Questions segments. I am currently reading this book and am finding it insightful. He helps to unpack the story, clarify and reclaim the Jewish roots inherent in the telling and gives much food for thought. I would encourage anyone interested in going deeper, to borrow our copy (or come by and curl up on a couch in the parlor).

Looking forward to discerning more with you all.

Wishing you God’s peace,

Pastor Lynn

 
pasgtor's note jan14 PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 08 January 2014 15:09

 

Dear friends,

I have never been much for making new year resolutions. Or, maybe more accurately, I have never been much for keeping them. I am still carrying the same 20 lbs I wanted to get rid of a couple of years ago. I am still not exercising regularly. How hard can it be to start walking? Apparently, pretty hard.

Throughout the year, I will set goals and work to keep them. Yet, for some reason, the ability or desire to start or stick with some new habit at the beginning of the year seems more of a problem. I don’t usually make them because I don’t want to set myself up for failure.

This year I am going to adopt a practice that speaks to the good in looking for a freshening up of our lives that resolutions can do but lacks the potential for failure that comes with such a concrete goal.

This year, I am going to pick up the practice of an online friend in choosing a word or phrase that captures the hope or intention I have for the new year.

Serendipitously to reading Ruth Everhardt’s blog that suggests this practice, I just discovered a poet probably known to some of you, Naomi Shihab Nye. I came across her poem, Kindness, that really spoke to me.

So, this year, for myself, I will choose kindness or “be kind and gracious.” We can all use more kindness and compassion. Like many of you, I sometimes find it easier to act in kindness than at other times. Yet it is often the moments I would most like to turn away or pretend that I didn’t see that I need to act in love and kindness.

I have no illusion that I will always succeed, but every movement towards kindness bears fruit. The intention, and the committing to actualizing it, anchors the practice.

What about you all? What is a hope or intention that calls to you? What might be an intention for our faith community?

Wishing you all God’s peace.

Pastor Lynn

 
Pastor's note PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 04 November 2013 16:50

 

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Dear friends,

I write this letter on All Saints Day, a day that we stop to remember all those who have gone before us, loving us, teaching us, modeling faith for us. While our understanding of “All Saints” certainly differs from that of Pope Boniface in 609, we honor our connection and interconnectedness with our lives through our faith.

Many of us have lost friends and family and we remember them with love and thanksgiving, as we also remember the members of this faith community and the broader community. I feel incredibly blessed to have been touched by so many saints, both living and dead. I am grateful to be surrounded by the “great cloud of witnesses” as the author of the Letter to the Hebrews puts it (Heb. 12:1).

November is a time for expressing our gratitude and sharing our joy. We begin with All Saints Day and the gratitude we have for those who have gone before us. We end with Thanksgiving, a day where we celebrate and give thanks for the Harvest and for all other blessings that we have.

We also give thanks that we follow the Prince of Peace as we gather at our Peace Pole to pray on the first Monday. On Veteran’s Day, we give thanks for the willingness to sacrifice their lives and health when our nation asked them to do so. We also honor those whose convictions led them to serve as conscientious objectors.

God has blessed us all in ways large and small. During this season of giving thanks, we are invited to reflect on how we respond to God. There is a Venezuelan song: “Va Dios mismo en nuestro mismo caminar (God himself walks on our own path).” The words translate as:

The one who gives for God will shine like the sun. Give and it will be given to you with joy, with joy that which is given for God, with joy that which is for God.

God has called each of us into this community of faith, and has invited each of us to allow God’s Spirit to be active within and among us in ways that are transformative both for us personally and for our neighbors near and far. Friends and members of Congregational UCC have generously and joyfully given of time, treasure and talent and we are all grateful. It is exciting to see how God transforms even our relationship with money in ways that move us toward more fully embracing the joy of giving as people created in the image of the One whose giving knows no end.

The ministry we all so cherish at this church is only possible through the mutual investment and commitment of all of us! Thank you for all that you have done! Thank you for all that you will do!

 

In Christ’s peace,

Pastor Lynn

 
October2013 Pastors note PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 02 October 2013 16:07

 

From the Pastor

One of the joys of serving God in pastoral ministry involves the privilege of being with people through the seasons of life: from births and adoptions to death and funerals, from new love discovered and relationships ending and all the steps in between. There are the sad and joyful times of ordinary life, punctuated with the extraordinary moments of life.

These moments exist for us both as individuals and families but also as a community of people choosing to come together to be about the work of deepening our own path of discipleship to Jesus Christ but also to take God’s love and heart for justice out of our beautiful sanctuary in order to be an agent of God’s transforming grace in the world. I love the privilege that ministry brings of being in communion with God’s people as community.

While I know that our union with God and our spiritual growth can occur outside of a faith community, I also know that we need each other. To use the metaphor of the Body of Christ, we are a living body. As followers of Jesus, we aren’t primarily a collection of individual seekers. Because there are times when we need the nurture of another’s presence, and there are times when others are encouraged by our presence, we gather together, sometimes stumbling, to find our way to God and to find God’s way for us. To build the Beloved Community that Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke so eloquently about, we need to gather together. We need to be able to worship together.

We meet God in a unique way in worship. That means that we as worship leaders and participants need to use our time on Sunday morning in ways that are creative, experiential and grounded in mystery as well as practical application. We have talked of other patterns of worship and possible other times for alternative worship expressions. Please let me, the Faith Ministry Team, an officer or anyone else you trust to get the message to us if you have ideas, suggestions, feedback, etc.

Because we meet God in community, there are no invisible members. Some people engage the church and act out their commitment to our faith community or service to the broader community outside of worship. Yet, however we engage, our practice of being faithful is expressed by caring for one another and building trust and love together as Christ’s body. There are other ways, to be sure, but our practice is grounded in being together in community.

My hope is that as this fall ripens into harvest, we might take some time to reflect on our habits concerning Sunday worship. How often each month do you come into community in worship? What strengthens your participation and what keeps you away? Are you at peace with this rhythm? Are there ways you wish to go deeper? We are not rigid about worship attendance. Yet, the more you are present the deeper our community can become in love and compassion. Ultimately, this depth impacts how well we love, serve and act for peace and justice.

Worship is where we learn how to practice living into the counter-cultural grace of Jesus. We practice being open to God’s way of living in the world. Our nation is in the grips of fear and cynicism and a sense of powerlessness. We, as a people of faith, can offer hope and compassion; we can answer our call to love and to serve and to work for the wholeness of creation. But, as parenting has taught me, we cannot give what we do not have. As followers of Jesus, to give and love and serve, we need to nourish our faith and drink from the well of hope before we can share it with another. While there may be other ways too, it all begins with worship in our tradition.

I don’t say this to be a nag. I truly believe that sometimes rest and family time is the most restorative, nurturing act a person can take. And I understand how often Sundays are the only time for various other activities as well (remember, I did agree to let my son play on a travelling soccer team that will take him out of worship a few times in fall and spring; I do get it). I also believe, though, that God counts on people of faith to be God’s arms, legs and heart in this world. Something about being salt and light?

Please reflect on what we can do to make worship a time of transformation and how your presence can help. In the meantime, let’s nourish our awareness of awe and beauty and work together to practice kindness and compassion.

Wishing you God’s peace,

Pastor Lynn

Last Updated on Monday, 07 October 2013 16:37
 
Pastor's note PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 03 September 2013 16:14

 

pastors note

I love to hear a good story and I love getting the chance to tell a good story, too. One of the things we do when we gather to worship is to hear part of God’s story. As people who work to follow the path of Jesus, we hope to learn more about his life, his teachings and the path to God that he embodies.

One way that I look at what we try to do, in worship and in our own walk as disciples, is to tie our story into God’s story. Admittedly, sometimes this challenge is easier than at other times.

   Beginning this month, on September 8, Congregational United Church of Christ will use the Narrative Lectionary to help follow the arc of God’s story as it is revealed in the Bible. We had been following the Revised Common Lectionary pretty closely.

The Revised Common Lectionary has a 3 year cycle, with readings appointed for each Sunday that follow a liturgical year, meaning that it moved from (church) season to season. One year would be the Gospel of Mark, another Matthew, and another Luke, with bits of John divided among the year. It would start in Advent and end with the Reign of Christ (aka Christ the King).  

While the stories were presented from one Gospel, the sequence often ended up jumping around to follow the season, rather than the order of the story (the narrative arc) that the Gospel writer thought important. You may have noticed this pattern. Sometimes in November, as we are thinking about Christmas coming soon, we hear stories from right before Jesus was executed. Or, after Easter, we would hear stories from before Jesus’ death. The order of the story just doesn’t seem to match up so well.

The Narrative Lectionary was put together in part to address that issue and a few other criticisms of the Revised Common Lectionary. The goal is to help people see the Hebrew and Christian scriptures as a story that is both holds together and moves over time. The hope is that Christians will become more familiar with the stories from the Hebrew Scriptures as well as let people follow Jesus’ story each year, completely from the perspective of one of the gospel writers.

Starting on September 8 and throughout the fall, we will hear stories in the Old Testament such as Creation, the Binding of Isaac, Jacob’s Dream, and the Call of Samuel. Then at Christmas, as we celebrate the birth of Jesus, we will move to stories of Jesus from the Gospel of John. After Easter we will explore stories in Acts and end with a look at Philippians.

Our hope is that following the Narrative Lectionary will increase our Biblical literacy and make it easier to tie our story to God’s story. God’s story. Our story. Let the adventure begin!

Peace,

Lynn Bohlmann

 
aug 2013 PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 02 August 2013 15:25

 

From the Pastor

One of the spiritual practices that has been practiced from the liberation of the Hebrew slaves from captivity in Egypt is the keeping of sabbath. One of the radical ideas that is foundational in Judaism is that there should be a time to honor God and a time in which no one was required to work. The Hebrews were not enslaved. They had value and dignity as people created in the image of God, people through whom God declared that God did not want anyone enslaved. That observation of a day of rest set aside to allow not only for worship of God but renewal of all that is life giving has fallen away. There have been efforts to reclaim that. A tradition of sabbath -to take a rest and find renewal - is perhaps one of the most counter-cultural things we can advocate in a world of extreme busyness (and I know that is not only my life I am talking about!). 

So, I am off on vacation. I hope to find relaxation and refreshment, just as I hope that you all do in these last days of summer. When we come back, I pray that God will use our rest to renew our mission of love and service to those in and around the greater Jacksonville community.

 

Peace,

Pastor Lynn

 
Pastor's Note PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 02 July 2013 16:21

 Dear friends,

Transformation has been on my mind. I remember one of the Hebrew Testament professors at Eden Seminary, Prof. John Bracke, saying that the goal of reading the Bible was transformation, transformation of our selves, transformation of our culture. No doubt Prof. Bracke hoped that those of us who, presumably, were going into some sort of professional ministry would remember that imparting knowledge alone rarely offers transformation.

I think of transformation as an outcome of discipleship. We seek to deepen our relationship with God and how we follow the path that Jesus trod. In doing so, we encounter transformation and become agents of transformation ourselves.

Most recently, transformation has been on my mind because of the Annual Celebration of the Illinois Conference of the United Church of Christ. Our keynote speaker, Diana Butler Bass, made the following statement: “Change happens; transformation is intentional.”

Dr. Bass was talking about the “Church” but her words ring true in all areas, I believe. It isn’t really news to most of us that the world we live in is seriously different than it was 50 years ago, or 20 years ago, or even 10 years ago.

While some in the church bemoan the loss of central standing that Christianity and the Church had in our society 50 years ago, many of us welcome the growing freedom of thought and expression and understanding that has developed in the interim. There is something both scary and exciting about new ways of being. Again, perhaps the key is to be intentional. Take the situation as it is and transform the change into something that gives meaning or renewal or greater clarity.

As we reflect on our own church life here at Congregational UCC, we have signs of transformation and renewal. Congregational has ministry teams that tend to be more gift-based than traditional committees. There is room for transformation within this kind of structure, too, to be more fluid and open to all people and their gifts, interests and time availability.

There are more opportunities to explore faith, through service, through gathering in prayer, through education and through fellowship. We have people with all kinds of ideas that are looking for ways to bring those ideas forward. How can we make sure that happens? We have youth who have the fresh eyes to look at what we have been seeing. How do we invite them to shape us and the church. We have guests who come to eat with us. How do we invite them to transform us?

We are in a historic week. The Supreme Court of the United States advanced the civil rights battle of the GLBT community even as it set back the rights of African-Americans and other ethnic minorities to access the ballot box. Both are opportunities to participate in the transformation of our culture.

Let’s take that energy and apply it to our lives and our church as well. We are in the season of Pentecost. The season that celebrates the enlivening of the Holy Spirit in our church. Listen to the Spirit blow. Where do you think we might be called to go? What opportunity for transformation and renewal awaits?

In God’s Peace,

Pastor Lynn

Last Updated on Friday, 12 July 2013 02:15
 
Pastor's Note PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 03 June 2013 16:50

 

From the Pastor

Greetings all,

In the midst of all the rain and cool temperatures, it is hard to imagine that it is summer, or will be in just a few weeks! Even before having kids, I never really got out of the school calendar way of thinking of time. Every spring, I am ready for a breath of fresh air (if not an actual break) and every summer, I want to enjoy a time of greater play and rest. Summer invites an relaxation and encourages playfulness and connection.

We have started this season at Congregational UCC with a bang, with the confirmation of 3 youth. We continue with opportunities to slow down and connect with one another. One of the obvious times to connect or reconnect is after worship during hospitality. Another time will be at the Salad and Purse Auction luncheon on June 26.

Perhaps a less obvious way is through joining in worship itself. The texts for last Sunday and this coming Sunday (June 2) talk of the glory of God. While God certainly has glory and deserves our praise, all the talk of glory reminds me of a favorite tidbit of wisdom from the Franciscans, who emphasize the humility of God as an attribute of God.

Both are present in worship. We sing praises to a God whose glory is shown in the majesty of creation. But we come close to God, or are invited to draw closer to God, through the humility of a God made known as a poor infant, born to an unmarried mother in the backwaters of the Mideast.

Jesus talked about the Reign of God (Kingdom of God) in terms of a mustard seed plant. One of the main images of God and God’s Reign in the Hebrew Scriptures is of the cedars of Lebanon. Not only is Jesus’ image more ragtag, it is also more playful.

Jesus’ way – the path of welcoming all, living compassion, and slowing down enough to savor God and God’s path run counter to the prevailing culture and they always have. They are counter-cultural now; they were counter cultural then.

Because they are so counter to how we as humans may naturally tend to see, we who strive to follow Jesus as disciples need to practice these traits so that they become more and more our habitual response. Then, when it is hard to show compassion, or welcome, or stand for justice, we will already have the desire and ability (to one degree or another) available to draw upon.

One way we deepen these traits is in worshipping together. We gather in worship to praise God and to build community and to learn to practice the upside down ways of Jesus and the Reign of God. We gather together to deepen our relationships with God and each other, rest in the presence of a playful God who manifests Godself in ways both humble and majestic, and be strengthened to love and serve others. In doing so, we learn the tools of authentic faith.

Wishing you all peace! See you on Sunday!

Pastor Lynn

 
Pastor's Note PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 06 May 2013 17:06

 

From the Pastor

We have a lot to celebrate this month! We could start with the beautiful greening of our world and the fact that we do not have 8 inches of snow as our friends to the north and west of do on May Day.

We are in the midst of the season of Easter, which invites us all to ponder the various signs of renewal and resurrection that we see around us. Members and friends are practicing resurrection and new life through various acts on behalf of the earth as part of the United Church of Christ’s Mission: 4/1 Earth.

In a few weeks, we will celebrate Pentecost, the day that we celebrate God’s presence with us through God’s Spirit. Sometimes, we call this Spirit the “Holy Spirit.” Some of us, of certain ages or of certain faith backgrounds, call this Spirit the “Holy Ghost.” Often people think of the Day of Pentecost as the birthday of the church, because we observe it as the day that the disciples of Jesus, without the physical presence of Jesus, became transformed with God’s ongoing presence with them through the presence of God’s Spirit. With the Spirit of God enabling and encouraging them, the disciples transformed the world. And disciples of Jesus Christ, continue to transform the world.

So as we contemplate where the Spirit of God might be leading us as a faith community, and as we reflect upon how the Spirit might be enlivening our lives as disciples, let’s join in celebration as three of our youth either make or affirm their baptismal vows to live as disciples of Jesus Christ. On Pentecost, Dylan Henderson, Mackenzie Prewitt and Lucas Bohlmann will be taking this next step on their life-long journey with God.

We pray that the Holy Spirit will animate their lives and our.

Peace,

Pastor Lynn

 
Pastor's NOte PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 02 April 2013 16:02

 

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(parts of this letter come from Easter Sunday’s sermon)

 

Happy Easter, everyone!

After a dark season, the light of new life bursts out all around us. This is part of the story of Easter. When we read the Gospels, we see all four authors sharing a story of finding an empty tomb where they expected to find the dead body of Jesus. All the Gospel writers tell us of intimate friends and disciples having encounters with Jesus after the crucifixion. This, too, is part of the story of Easter.

As we dedicate ourselves to the practice of following Jesus, we follow the early disciples’ lead. We hear Mary tell Jesus’ disciples: “I have seen the Risen Lord" and in that we hear the invitation to become fully alive.

If we believe that life conquers death, then we must learn to practice resurrection. If we even want to believe that life conquers death and that love conquers hatred and betrayal, then we need to practice resurrection, recognizing, supporting, encouraging new life and new hope wherever we can.

I see stories of resurrection practice and of the refusal to be dominated by fear, despair, grief or hatred. In this congregation there are so many stories that my heart cannot hold them. A woman with cancer holds on with the toughness of a spiritual prize-fighter. A widow takes her grief and becomes a tireless volunteer for a group and a cause she believes in. An addict finds or maintains sobriety. People unemployed or underemployed volunteer to help around the church and in feeding the hungry. And you can add to that list.

A list of examples of resurrection from an online chat (revgalblogpals.blogspot.com): Resurrection is when sobriety is achieved. Resurrection is when two countries find a peaceful resolution to differences. Resurrection is when mothers and daughters and fathers and sons embrace. Resurrection is when the post-chemo scan comes back clean. Resurrection is when the resignation letter for the job you can't stand comes off the printer and onto your supervisor's desk.

Resurrection is when a cancer treatment survivor is well enough to WHATEVER...work, play, laugh...again. Resurrection is putting one foot in front of the other and discovering that you're skipping... Resurrection is emerging from the black treacle fog and feeling the sun on your cheek.

Resurrection is when forgiveness heals a wounded relationship between friends. Resurrection is when the phone rings and it's a long-estranged family member or friend. Resurrection is no longer being afraid of the results...no matter what they are. Resurrection is hearing the words "I forgave you already" when you are trying to apologize. Resurrection is when the cold shoulder thaws into a warm embrace.

It takes enormous hope to practice resurrection. But resurrection is God’s path. When we make the new life of Easter ours, we open our hearts and our lives to host the unimaginable. We offer hope and renewal to those whom we love as well as to the larger world, a world desperate for renewal.

Transformed by the new life that Easter brings, compassion pushes our apathy out the door; and justice reigns forever and ever. Let’s practice the work of resurrection in the world together.

Peace,

Lynn

 

 
Pastor's Note PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 04 March 2013 15:57

 

From the Pastor:

I don’t know about you, or even whether you made any New Year’s resolutions, but I have not been particularly stellar about keeping my “goals.” I figured if they were called “goals,” they would be easier to keep than “resolutions.” I have been better about making healthy choices with eating but I still haven’t managed to include regular (okay, any) exercise into my daily/weekly habits. I am better about taking some time away each week but still often don’t, even though it is better for my family, my congregation and myself to do so.

What has your experience been? Are you still working on your goals? We laugh about it and sometimes we stop even making the commitment. Why? Our struggle to follow through on our commitments to improve ourselves reveals a universal human struggle. We are in good company. Even Paul, the apostle, confessed: “What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise.” (Romans 7:15 Message)

   Part of the problem is that we believe that we can change ourselves simply by changing our thinking. While there is some truth to this, when it comes to decision-making, it’s not our minds that are in control so much as our hearts. Often we are driven more by what our hearts hope will give us a “good life”.

The problem is that our hearts have a mixed track record at choosing what brings life. We easily fall prey to the attractions of things that promise satisfaction or fulfillment or nurture, but ultimately disappoint. (That may be the box of Thin Mints or too much comfort food or shopping or alcohol or even exercising. All things fine in moderation but that also can become a substitution for a deeper fulfillment.) What we need is a vision of a life that is truly good, and we need that vision to capture our hearts so that it becomes the central, motivating force in our lives.

The vision that I trust to meet these requirements is the Reign of God (or the Kingdom of God) that Jesus taught about so frequently. It’s the vision of human life that was preached and lived by Jesus – a life of unselfish love, compassionate grace, demanding justice and forgiving peace.

So, how do we become captured and directed by the Reign of God? That is one of the primary functions of worship. As we gather each week, our songs, prayers, liturgies, and sacraments and speak to us of a different reality. They remind us that another world is possible. There is another way to live than what the dominant messages suggest: a way of being shaped by grace, love, justice and peace.

As this vision to fills our hearts and minds, we begin to see that the Reign of God is the source of the abundant life that Jesus promised – not just for us, but for all. We begin to experience that living God’s way can change everything – not just us but also our families and communities.

We learn or rehearse in worship some of the words and the habits of life in the Reign of God. Where the rubber hits the road is making what we practice on Sunday continue on Monday and beyond. Our hope is that the words and acts that we learn and practice in worship will direct our words and acts towards all people. For in the words of Jesus: "They will know you are my disciples by your love" (John 13:35).

 

God’s blessings on us all as we travel deeper into the Reign of God this year!

Pastor Lynn

Last Updated on Monday, 04 March 2013 15:59
 
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