The heart and soul of Christ’s resurrection is a commitment to see the Risen Lord in the most unexpected place.  Frederick Buechner has written:  “As you did it to one of the least of my sisters and brothers you did it to me.” Just as Jesus appeared at his birth as a helpless child that the world was free to care for or destroy, so now at Easter he appears in his resurrection as the pauper, the prisoner, the stranger – he appears in every form of human need the world is free to serve or ignore.”

unnamed (11)

During the 50 Days of Eastertide, why not use the ubiquitous IPhone (or Android Clones) to train your eyes and heart to see Jesus in the least among us?  Every day you could pray with your eyes – and your phone’s camera – by taking one picture that speaks to you of the Lord.  It could be joy or sorrow, hope or despair, even your questions have a place in the resurrection.  Easter asks us to learn to see the world in a different way. “Practicing resurrection is, in part about becoming aware of how we currently see the world – and changing. When we rush from one thing to another, never pausing, never allowing space, we see only what we expect to find. We see to grasp at the information we need. We see the stereotypes embedded in our minds. We miss the opportunity to see beyond what we want. We walk by a thousand ordinary revelations in our busyness and preoccupations.” (Christine Valters Painter, Abbey of the Arts)

THE CHALLENGE:  Use your phone to take a picture every day – and post it on the church Face Book page – with the words:  Christ has risen:  Alleluia!

GO TO:  https://www.facebook.com/First-Church-of-Christ-on-Park-Square-191569417323/?ref

                                                                                                                            

INVITE OTHERS TO JOIN – SHARE WIDELY – BE OF GOOD CHEER – CHRIST HAS RISEN – ALLELUIA!

Check out this stunning and moving call to radical discipleship as part of your Lenten commitment to the way of Jesus…

Meeting Bonhoeffer Again for the First Time: A Four-Part Worship Series in February before Lent

BONHOEFFER

Drawing from the wisdom of the German theologian’s final work, Letters and Papers from Prison, this worship series will both introduce contemporary people to the insights of Bonhoeffer (perhaps for the first time!) We will also explore four broad themes that hold continued significance for the living church of Jesus Christ.  As February ripens, our conversation will include:

  • February 5, 2017: An Introduction to the Life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer (worship will include Holy Communion)
  • February 12, 2017: Jesus as “the Man for Others” (this is how Bonhoeffer came to explain both why Jesus was important to non-believers and how Jesus matters to those within the Church.
  • February 19th:  “Religionless Christianity”  (Bonhoeffer called believers to live without empty piety or superstition so that faith, science and art were allies rather than enemies in the contemporary world.)
  • February 26th: Living in “a World Come of Age”  (our realm requires women and men who are able to take responsibility for ethical living in cultures that are sophisticated yet often ungrounded in love.)

The way advent-repentance-1024x701pp_w805_h551of Advent is a pilgrimage – a journey from selfishness to sharing, from hurriedness to patience and awareness – and it takes practice. That is why for the four weeks of Advent, we gather at 10:30 AM for song and silence, confession and forgiveness, Eucharist and vows to serve the coming Christ Child.  Each week brings a new blessing and challenge…

+ Sunday, November 27:  Advent I – Pilgrimage.  The spirituality of this day invites us to own our brokenness and sin – our disordered loves that keep us from being fully present to God’s grace – and move into life fully awake.

+ Sunday, December 4:  Many people know Christmas Pageants – and they are great – but what about an Advent Pageant that tells the story of the events leading up to Christ’s birth?  Using a script from the Rev. Dr. Rochelle Stackhouse, we will relearn the new/old story in anticipation of Christmas day.

+ Sunday, December 11:  Most of the time Christmas is considered sacred for children: but what about an Adult Spirituality for this holiday?

+ Sunday, December 17th:  The music of Advent is reflective – even bluesy – so what is going on with the songs of this season? They are very different from Christmas. Why? Find out and learn how singing the blues is part of the celebration.

christmas-eve-candlelight-service

CHRISTMAS EVE/CHRISTMAS DAY:  December 24 and 25

+ Christmas Eve:  Saturday, December 24 @ 8 PM.  Come and sing the great old carols. Come and light a candle of hope for the Christ Child’s birth. Come and celebrate at the table of Holy Communion.

+ Christmas Day: Sunday, December 25 @ 10:30 AM.  All the great carols of the season and Holy Communion, too.

christmas_worship_960px

Living in the Sacred Rhythm of God’s Love:  Throughout October and November 2016 ourimages worship life will celebrate living into balance. Specifically, the balance God has placed at the heart of creation:

 

+ Sunday, November 6th:  All Saints’ Day – a time to honor our members who have gone home in the Lord in the past year – and recall the great saints in the life of the church.

+ Sunday, November 13th:  Veterans’ Day – honoring our nation’s veterans in the quest for peace.

+ Sunday, November 20th:  Christ the King Sunday – the close of the church calendar.

ADVENT 2016:  A season of quiet contemplation in search of the hidden Christ in our ordinary lives.  Each Sunday, starting November 27th, we will take time to listen carefully for God’s voice within and among us.  November 27th will take us on an pilgrimage through the Sanctuary. Other Sundays will include a “do it yourself” Advent pageant, an adult perspective on Christmas and listening to the blues in the songs of the season.

header-home

Celebrating the Season of Creation:  As God’s people become more awSOC_logoare of our role in caring for Mother Earth and all our sisters and brothers in creation, the Church invites us to learn from God’s first word – nature – about the Lord’s love, power and presence.  Each week our worship will highlight another aspect of loving and learning about living in God’s light:  1) Flora and Fauna Sunday; 2) Storm Sunday; 3) Cosmos Sunday; and 4) A Blessing of Our Pets Sunday.

Beginning Sunday, July 17 – Sunday, August 21:  Becoming Wise.  The host of NPR’s “On Being” is Krista Tippett. She is an award winning journalist who explores what it means to go deep into truth, wisdom, compassion and hope in the 21st century.  Each Sunday throughout this summer, our minister, James Lumsden, will lead a presentation linking Tippett’s new book, Becoming Wise, with key passages of the Bible. You can deepen your participation in this series by purchasing Tippett’s book and reading along each week. After worship, there will be a time for deeper conversation.

header-home

Spring 2016:  The out of the box artist, Naked Pastor, portrayed the heart of the seven weeks after Easter with his painting, “RefuJesus.” Starting April 17, James Lumsden will lead a four week series exploring how to read the Bible amid the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with an eye towards justice and compassion for all.

RefuJesus

For the time between Easter and Pentecost – March 27 –  May 15 – our preaching/teaching emphasis @ 10:30 am on Sundays will focus on finding Jesus in the wounds of the world.  Please join us as we open our hearts to the pain all around us and explore ways to share God’s compassion.

10343016_10152564430007324_7276126949477989838_n

Sunday, March 13, 2016 marks the 5th Sunday of Lent. We have been using the practice of walking meditation during worship to help ground us in a new awareness that we have been called to journey with Jesus into Jerusalem. It is a way of practicing being counter-cultural people:  women, men and children who affirm tenderness, hope, compassion and social justice along with prayer, beauty and acts of kindness in a harsh world. The walk into Holy Week is even more intense:

21156_931183313592939_6206719769434939144_n

+ Sunday, March 20, 2016:  Palm Sunday @ 10:30 am.  This worship experience begins with joy but quickly becomes a time of sorrow and betrayal. Using dramatic readings and song, we will retell the ancient story so that it speaks to our generation.  Worship concludes with a somber service of communion.

+ Thursday, March 24, 2016:  Maundy Thursday @ 7 pm.  Jesus gave his disciples a new commandment on the night of his betrayal:  love one another as I have loved you – as a servant to all who are need. We remember and renew our vows to follow the Way of Christ this night. After Eucharist, we read scripture and sing hymns that lead us into the darkness of the Lord’s abandonment.

20150405__p_EAG-L-SERMONS~4_GALLERY

+ Friday, March 25, 2016:  Good Friday @ 7 pm. This year we will use a combination of John Coltrane’s masterpiece, “A Love Supreme” as well as vocal music from George Harrison, William Billings, and Ann Heaton to tell the story of God’s presence in the midst of pain and confusion.

11133806_10205539703466151_8287563506665272021_n

+ Sunday, March 27, 2016:  Easter Sunday @ 10:30 am. This is the Feast of the Resurrection where we proclaim that God raised Jesus to life after death on the Cross. It is a bold assertion that God’s grace is greater than human sin, fear and failure. Holy Communion will be joyfully shared along with music and laughter.

20150405__p_EAG-L-SERMONS~1_GALLERY