Friday, March 29, 2013

Good Friday

The church is open from 4:00 to 7:00 pm today for silent prayer and meditation.  Take a few moments to come and sit in silent gratitude on this day when we remember that Jesus died on the cross for us.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Maundy Thursday

Join us Thursday at 6pm for a simple supper of soup and bread, followed at 7pm for a Service of Tenebrae. 

Photo credit: Ruthieki / / CC BY-NC-SA

Friday, March 22, 2013

A Tea party with our Children

 Inviting the stranger into our midst.

Holy Week Events April 24 - April 31

Holy Week Events
  • Palm Sunday :   Worship begins in Fellowship Hall. Then a procession  from our worship in Fellowship Hall to the Sanctuary and a procession from celebration of Jesus to death on                        a cross.
  • Maundy Thursday A simple soup and bread supper at 6:00 pm followed by a service of Tenebrae at 7:00pm.
  • Good Friday: Church is open from 4-7 pm.  Drop in for prayer and meditation.
  • Easter Sunday: Sunrise Service at 7:00 am.
                                        Easter Breakfast at 8:00 am.
                                         Worship upstairs at 9:00 am.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Hostess with the Mostest - You!

As we continue to study different spiritual disciplines, this week we looked at the spiritual discipline of hospitality.   This discipline has been presented to us by Jana Reis in her book, Flunking Sainthood  and she bases it upon the Benedictine discipline that claims that every stranger should be welcomed as Christ.  This means making an effort to help someone feel that they are no longer a stranger but are valued by you as God values them.    

Hospitality is not about turning your home into a bed and breakfast, nor is it about being perfect like Martha Stewart.   It is about faith being expressed in intimate connections with others because we honor them as God honors them.   Hospitality becomes a discipline as it infringes on our own time and causes us to put someone else first.  In some faith traditions, hospitality trumps all other things and is an obligation to provide.

We can practice hospitality by welcoming the stranger with as little an effort as looking them in the eyes which keeps them from being invisible.   We can practice hospitality in our homes:   either by not taking for granted the loved ones we live with, or reaching out to those who have become strangers through alienation.   We can practice hosptiality in this church with extravegant welcomes to anyone who enters our doors.   We can practice hosptiality in the world with a focus on helping the poor and forgotten.

So the challenge this week for us to practice hospitality.  Practice it in as many settings as possible .
And know that God's value for all people can be expressed through us.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Sabbath Peace

As we continue our Lenten journey with Jana Reis's Flunking Sainthoood, this week we look at the importance and benefit of Sabbath observation.  Guided by the writing of Abraham Joshua Heschel, a 20th Century Jewish School, we learned that, according to Heschel, "Most of life is a struggle to conquer the world around us."   And the world we live in pushes us with expectations and demands which fill our time and energy, often leaving us without any resources to do or be what is really important to us.

Sabbath gives us that break each week with no expectation, no demands, and where we are not indespensable.   In Sabbath time, we break the huge demands on our lives and allow God to be in charge and to recharge us.  And to connect to what is important to us so that we can bring those priorities back into our everyday lives.

So the challenge this week is to try the spiritual discipline of Sabbath.   Find 2 hours with no expectatons.   Schedule it into your week if necessary, where there will be no television, computer, email, facebook, texting,  perhaps even no telephone.   Observe how God will fill this time for you:  reading, looking at the Bible, praying, being with your family or friends, taking a nap.   Then observe what that taught you about God or yourself.

Shalom Shabbat is the greeting and ending  blessing of the worship service at the Temple our Confirmation Class visited last Friday.   Gayle's translation of Salom Sabbat is Peace of the Sabbath.   My hope is that by finding Sabbath, the peace of God will come to us as well.

Shalom Shabbat.

Our fasting is feeding the hungry

Last week's challenge was to either fast or give up meat for a part or all of the week.   Then we were given the opportunity to bring the money we would have spent on meat or food and it would be donated.

Well, there was a total of $58.77 given and it will be sent to the Friendly Kitchen in Concord which provides 3 meals a day to those in Concord who are hungry.

Great job!   And may this effort bring us closer to the God of all people.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Which is more important food or God?

In our continuing series on Spiritual disciplines inspired by Flunking Sainthood by Janna Reis, this week we looked at two spiritual disciplines around food:   fasting and vegetarianism.   Reis observed how important food is our world and that by fasting it takes attention away from food and gives it to God.   In giving up meat, Reis suggests that animals are not placed on earth simply for human consumption or use, but should be valued as an important part of God's creation.  

So this week the spirital disciplines we try can be done in three levels of challenge:
   Easiest:   Give up meat for one meal this week, and bring to church the money you would have spent on food and we will give it to the Friendly Kitchen, an organization which operates a soup kitchen in Concord.
    Not so Easy:    Give up meat for the week, and bring to church the money you would have spent on food and we will give the money to the Friendly Kitchen.
    Most Challenging:   Try fasting for a day (from sun-up to sun-down), continuing to drink liquids but no food (this is only for those healthy enough to do this).   On Sunday, bring the money you would have spent on food and we will give it to the Friendly Kitchen.

There will be an opportunity in worship on Sunday to share your experiences with giving up meat or fasting.  May these experiments bring you closer to God.