After Labor Day we will put our capital campaign money to work in earnest, as our beloved, 101-year-old sanctuary is renovated and a new roof put on! From September-November, we will have Renovation Vacation worship in Duhamel Hall in two worship services: 9am (with Sunday school, no choir), and 11am (with nursery care but no Sunday school, and yes choir). Coffee hour and choir rehearsal will happen between the two services! For questions email Molly at firstname.lastname@example.org. For pictures of the renovation, see the reno blog!
Our 8th or so annual Art Day All-Ages worship is this Sunday: a chance to get into our (creative) right minds, once and for all, as we hear God's word with our ears while we make God visible with our hands.
You'll notice the scripture is the same as last week's. This is a conscious decision--not only because it's among my favorites, and I didn't get to preach from it, but also because while I was reading it aloud for you last Sunday I realized how very painful and frightening this passage can be to the untrained ear. We've come to love the gentle Jesus at our touchy-feely, liberal church--but it's cold water over our heads to hear him say things like "Then the Son of Man will turn to the goats, the ones on his left, and say "Get out worthless goats! You're good for nothing but the fires of hell."
Hell! Is that something we postmodern Christians can really believe in? Why not--isn't there evidence of it all around us? Famine, war, overpopulation, global climate change with its droughts, fires, floods?
I'll be preaching from Dan Brown's summer read, Inferno (warning: I will spoil, if not the ending, at least the basic premise of the book! You can always help out in the nursery during the sermon portion if you haven't read it yet and want it to be a surprise :). Diane C is our newbie liturgist! Music will be awesome, as always. Come ready to get in touch with the inner artist God gave you!
bless you, and may you be a blessing,
Last night we held the second installment of our monthly midweek worship, Savor - a ritual meal where we tell the stories of Jesus. It's been fun so far and I've been feeling the power of telling Jesus' stories as if they were our own stories - because they are. We read through the Biblical versions of a Jesus story and maybe a few other versions ahead of time and then put the written accounts away at Savor to tell the stories like the earliest Christians told them - in our own voices, sitting down to supper.
In the Bible, there are often 2, or 3, or 4, or sometimes even 5 different versions of the same Jesus story - Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Paul's letters. Which one is the "right" one? Then on top of those there are all the different apocryphal gospels (gospels that didn't make the Bible cut) that have been getting so much attention as of late - Thomas, Judas, Peter, Mary Magdalene. Then there's the stories of the "Historical Jesus," a scholarly enterprise that's been generating "historical" narratives about the real, historical person, Jesus of Nazareth, apart from the doctrines of church and faith. Historical Jesus scholarship got a big bump a little more than a week ago when FOX News tried to discredit Professor of Religions Reza Aslan's new book on Jesus because he is a Muslim. His book quickly soared to the number one bestselling spot on Amazon. Historical Jesus scholars have called Jesus a Zealot, a revolutionary, a Cynic philosopher, a marginal Jew, an accidental Messiah, a mystic, and on and on...
To add one more layer to the Jesus story there is Art! Paintings, sculptures, icons, poetry, prose, novels - artists have been inspired to retell and reinterpret Jesus' story in their own mediums for centuries. This Sunday, I'll be specifically preaching on one of these works of art (and my summer reading), the novel "Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal" by Christopher Moore. And we'll be asking where it is that we ought and ought not to be getting our stories about Jesus. From the Bible? From dusty scrolls dug out of the desert? From modern scholars? How many stories are too many stories?
Jeff's preaching, Molly's praying, Matthew M. will be our liturgist, David L. will be getting baptized, Harry M. will be performing during the offertory.
After church, during coffee hour, we'll be having a meeting for all Parents and Church School Volunteers, to talk about the upcoming Church School year! What's been working for you and your kids and what hasn't? What changes do we need to make to better support our kids and teachers? What do YOU want to do help move Christian Education to the next level?