How do we keep faith?

faith essentialsHave you ever noticed that some people talk about faith like a constantly renewable commodity? Is faith like gasoline where we can refill our tanks every Sunday morning or by picking up our Bibles? In Sunday’s focus scripture from the gospel according to Matthew 25: 1-13, we hear the parable of the ten bridesmaids. Weddings were a big deal in the ancient world and the party went on for days. For the small sect of Christian Jews in Matthew’s time, being prepared, or having enough lamp oil, was a reminder to keep living out their faith in Jesus. They believed that Jesus would return any time [the 2nd coming] and to be prepared with enough oil or adequate and sustaining faith, meant to wisely live their lives expressing the activity of God. Join us for more of this conversation on Sunday at 9:30 a.m.

Weekly Prayer: God of all time and this time, when I’m tired of waiting for your realm to be here, kindle the flame of faith into action. Remind me of the life-giving choice that justice, mercy and hope bring into life today. Amen.

Leading a God-revealing life

FINGERSLETGOSunday’s focus scripture from the gospel according to Matthew 23:1-12 addresses the tension between servant leadership and legalistic leadership. The scribes and the Pharisees represent the Jewish leadership in the time of Matthew’s community and not necessarily in Jesus’ time. This text indicates the growing tension between synagogue and church in the latter part of the first century. As Jewish followers of Jesus, the early Christian sect of Judaism was working out how to live by the law and be faithful to Jesus’ teaching.
What motivates your leadership? Is it the desire to do something to create a good impression or just because it’s the right thing to do? For 1st century Jews living in a pluralist society, it became important to be recognizable, distinctive and unique for survival as a faith community. How do you stand out without standing out?
Join us for more of this conversation on Sunday at 9:30 a.m.

Weekly Prayer: Community-creating God, may our words and deeds be a consistent witness to your love for all. We pray for wise leaders who know how to serve. May we be shaped as a community where your love is clearly seen and known in all we are. Amen.

What does God’s love in action look like?

love commandmentSunday’s scripture texts from Psalm 90:1-6, 13-17 and Matthew 22:34-46 confront us with God’s acts of love. Psalm 90 is a prayer of the community, attributed to Moses, that acknowledges God as our dwelling place in all generations. We’re asked to allow God to give lasting value to the work of the church in community.
The gospel according to Matthew text tells us Jesus summarized the law of Torah into two succinct commandments: love God and love your neighbor as yourself. What do these texts teach us about God’s compassion? Which ones apply to our church community?
Join us for more of this conversation on Sunday at 9:30 a.m.

Weekly Prayer: God our comfort, we know our past but not our future. Grant us love and support as we use these present moments to reflect on the story of your people, and ponder our own journeys. Amen.

God in the Heartbeat of Life

light in our handsAfter the golden calf incident, Moses smashed the tablets, argued with Aaron, reprimanded the people, and continued to plead the Israelites’ case with God. Imagine having such a negotiation with the Almighty!
Exodus 33:12-23 tells how Moses demands that God prove God’s commitment to lead them all the way to the promised land. It seems that Moses, in the midst of his frustration with his people, needs a first-hand experience of God so that he can carry on.
Has your life ever been so chaotic that you just need some solid proof that there really is a light (any size will do) at the end of the tunnel?
Join us for more of this conversation on Sunday at 9:30 a.m.

Weekly Prayer: God beyond time and space, present in the eternal now, be our comfort and guide as we ponder the mystery of life while we journey with the people of Israel who seek to know your presence. Amen.

Annual Chili Feed & Contest!

Chili Feed 2014On Sunday, October 12th from 11:00 a.m. to Noon, come on over for our annual fundraising Chili Feed and Contest. Ten people are bringing their favorite chili – mild, medium, and hot. You may taste one or all by contributing some change or more $ to each one. If you have a clear preference, drop a few more dollars in that basket. The chili with the most $$ wins a beautiful, hand-made prize!
The proceeds go to fund the Feed My Starving Children community packing event in November.
Ya’ll Come!!FMSC

People on a Journey

Dancing around the golden calfWe often call ‘life’ a journey, but the ancient people of Israel were on a journey of epic proportions as they traveled the wilderness in search of the promised land. In Sunday’s Hebrew Bible text, Exodus 32: 1-14, the people are camped on Mount Sinai waiting for Moses to return. They become convinced that Moses isn’t coming back and rejecting their new relationship with God, they create a golden calf to worship.
Likewise, in Sunday’s text from the gospel according to Matthew 22: 1-14, Jesus tells a difficult parable about a wedding banquet and the kingdom of God. It’s an allegory that sounds outlandish, but with deep meaning for the ancient community to whom Matthew spoke. People are invited but dismiss the invitation or don’t come, they come but don’t dress for the occasion, and the host gets angry and destroys the city. What does God expect of us in this covenantal relationship? What motivates you to follow God or not?
Join us for more of this conversation on Sunday at 9:30 a.m.
Then … stay after worship for our annual fundraising Chili Feed and Contest. The proceeds go to fund the Feed My Starving Children community packing event in November.

Weekly Prayer: God, as we enter into this holy space we acknowledge those elements in life that separate us from your presence. Whatever our blockages, be they economic, political or cultural, forgive us and grant us peace and reconciliation at this time. Amen.

God gives Words of Life

ten commandmentsThe delivery of ten commandments in Exodus 20 is given to Moses as he leads the people of Israel toward a new life and a land of promise. These ten rules establish the power and position of God through Moses. The ten commandments in the Hebrew tradition are known as the ten words. They are shorthand for a way of life to guide the people of Israel along their journey to becoming the nation that was promised to Abraham.
If you think of the ten commandments as God’s vision – this is how you will live – which commandment seems most important to you? Join us for more of this conversation on Sunday at 9:30 a.m.
See you in church!

Weekly prayer: God, in your mercy help us to find the courage to learn from the experiences of the people of Israel as they journeyed toward freedom, and wisdom so we may find commonality with our own journey – both in the body and in the Spirit. Shalom.

Blessing of the Animals

church event pictures 011It’s our 6th Annual Blessing of the Animals.
On Sunday, October 5th at 1:00 p.m. on the grounds of the church we will host a delightful time of blessing our beloved pets in the long-held tradition of St. Francis. The Blessing of the Animals is an ancient custom associated with St. Francis of Assisi. Always at home in the company of the disadvantaged and the dispossessed, Francis recognized the Divine Spark in the beauty of creation, in the love of the companionship of animals, and in the poor, all of which made him one of the most admired monks and mystics in the history of the Church. The good treatment that is had here for animals is so healthy, I know my pet needs that so I try to share my love with them as much as I can. Francis believed that as long as we live each moment as a gift, and remain in a state of endless fascination, endless appreciation, and endless love, then fulfillment is our natural destiny. Francis is the Patron Saint of Animals because of his great love for their delightful companionship. All animals are welcome as long they are leashed or crated! See you there!

God’s Sustaining Presence

Moses water rockJust like people long ago, we sometimes ask, “God, are you there?”  In Sunday’s scripture from Exodus 17:1-7, the people of Israel are still wandering in the wilderness led by Moses and Aaron. They have set up camp and discover they have no water. In a familiar response, the people lash out at their leader, Moses. In spite of their deliverance from Egypt, their reliance on God’s sustaining presence falters once again. The people accuse Moses of intending to kill them all along. Moses, too, is frustrated, but he turns to God and God responds. God’s presence can be recognized in different forms, through different people, and in various situations if we will only trust.
Join us for more of this conversation on Sunday at 9:30 a.m.

Weekly Prayer:
Incline your ear and hear us, O God. Our spirits thirst and seek renewal in your love and forgiveness. You, O God, are the One we trust for life. Stir up your power and come among us. Restore us to live in the hope of the Christ. Amen.

 

See more about the image: http://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=55203

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