Winter is beginning with a vengeance and it comes our way as we prepare to gather for worship. So Catherine Dill and I spoke concerned about power outages and unsafe driving conditions. The predictions of snow are growing to 9 inches in Northwood and the snow is predicted to fall until about noon time.
So we decided to cancel church for tomorrow, October 30. We will try to get the word out as effectively as possible, but please let anyone that you know about the cancellation. And, check out this week's announcements from the bulletin in the "This weeks announcement's" tab from the home page.
Please be safe in this New England weather pattern. And be reminded that if we do hold church, you are the ultimate judge about whether you should venture out or not. We love to have you worship with us, but never at your peril.
Catherine suggested that I give you "homework." Something to think about and pray on during the time we traditionally would have gathered. Let us know what you think about this kind of an exercise.
The sermon was to be about God's grace and the Scripture passage is II Corinthians 12:7-10.
Ponder these ideas and questions:
1. This is the cover explanation of Annie Lamott's book, Grace (eventually) "Wherever you look, there's trouble and wonder, pain and beauty, restoration and darkness - and sometimes all at once. Yet amid the confusion, if you look carefully, in nature or in the kitchen, in ordinariness or in mystery, beyond the emotional muck we all slog through, you'll find it eventually; a path, some light to see by, moments of insight, courage, or buoyancy. In other words, grace. It's been an erratic journey, and some days go better than others. "I wish grace and healing were more abracadabra kind of thing," she writes. "Also, that delicate silver bells would ring to announce grace's arrival. But no, it's clog and slog and scootch, on the floor, in the silence, in the dark." "
A more traditional definition of grace is: "free, unmerited act through which God restores God's estranged creation to God's self"
So what do these statements say about grace?
And what does grace mean to you?
2. Frederick Buechner says that grace is something that is so wonderful we can only "catch a glimpse of it", and yet those glimpses are enough to convince us of its reality and move us to look for it all around us.
So grace is lived out, impartially now, in our every day lives, but pointing us towards what can be.
Where have you seen a glimpse of grace in your life?
What does grace point you towards?
3. Read II Corinthians 12:7-10. This passage says that in human weakness, we find divine strength, and that is grace. Then God reminds the writer that God's grace is all we need. In our weakness, God is made strong. And so we can take our limitations in stride because Christ takes over.
Grace is a resource for us in our suffering as well as a reminder of God in our lives.
"Still Here" by Langston Hughes
I been scarred and battered.
My hopes the wind done scattered.
Snow has froze me
Sun has baked me.
Looks like between 'em they done
Tried to make me
Stop laughin', stop lovin', stop livin'.
But I don't care.
I'm still here.
When are the times in your life when you have needed grace?
When were the times in your life when "I'm still here" because of God's grace.
4. To end the session, ponder what a grace-filled life looks like.
How can you open yourself up to that becoming a reality in your life?