Grace to you and peace, from God our Creator and the Lord Jesus Christ! I want to add to what I had already written here two notes to keep in mind for tomorrow: one is that the afternoon “spooky concert” IS tomorrow, Sunday the 29th, at 4:00pm.
The other additional note follows on what has been a nerve and spirit-racking time for all of us in Maine. Several individuals had expressed concern about our gathering for worship while the perpetrator of the tragedy in Lewiston was still at large. Sadly, for his family, he was found dead last night, apparently from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. So, that immediate concern is allayed. While Card’s death eases the worry people around the state have been feeling, we continue to pray for the victims and their families. We pray as we look forward with the earnest intent of making necessary changes to stop incidents like this being repeated. I hope that we can be a center for conversation and action to end gun violence of any kind and certainly on this scale.
We do this as people of faith in a loving God who calls us to love, which is the challenge presented in this week’s scripture lessons. Although the leaders of the temple pose questions to Jesus with the intention of tripping him up, of making him appear sacrilegious or ignorant, his responses steer them and us in a different and challenging way. What does it really mean to love others as ourselves? We will have the opportunity to consider this together during our worship, which also invites us to sing together an old and familiar song as we pray in harmony.
Grace to you and peace, from God our Creator and the Lord Jesus Christ! We will join with prayer partners from around the peninsula this afternoon at 4:00 in our sanctuary. Our multi-faith service will include poems, scripture, songs and silence as we come together in prayer for those in Palestine and Israel whose lives are torn by the violence of war. If you are unable to be here in person but would like to join via Zoom, you may find the link here: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/82817974382 (Passcode: 804970).
Grace to you and peace, from God our Creator and the Lord Jesus Christ! There are ways in which reading the Bible as literature (the title of a book by a former teaching colleague of mine, O.B. Davis) helps us to understand how we may apply our understanding to today. To do so with the passages from Isaiah and from Matthew this week is helpful as we read as allegory references to vineyards. Finding relateable imagery for our time and place and reading to know how we may respond is always our challenge. Join me as we wrestle together?
Grace to you and peace, from God our Creator and the Lord Jesus Christ! The first Sunday of October is recognized by many and varied denominations as World Communion Sunday. We will celebrate this together tomorrow as we share in the sacrament. For those of you who worship at home, I invite you to prepare the elements to partake with those of us in the sanctuary. In doing so, we remember together how Jesus would have us all be one, united in one spirit—His spirit.
The text for the day asks us to consider the authority that we give others and also, particularly, by what authority Jesus spoke, taught and healed. We may occasionally wonder along with the Pharisees what it was that distinguished Jesus from other prophets and teachers. Our questions may not be new, nor may be some of our answers; still, we can learn and grow together.
Grace to you and peace, from God our Creator and the Lord Jesus Christ! We have officially crossed into fall this morning and with it can marvel at the slow changing of colors around us. Change is also the order of the day in our scripture lessons this weekend, to some degree–change when that is what is necessary for there to be mercy. In the story of Jonah and the Ninevites and in Jesus’ parable about the workers in the vineyard, we learn about mercy, and we see in God’s own actions what it takes to be merciful. We see a glimpse of the kin-dom of God and are invited in.
Grace to you and peace, from God our Creator and the Lord Jesus Christ! Listening to the wind and to trees groaning, and watching the many trees around my house sway and start with uplifted leaves in the wind, I pray in this moment that everyone is safe and has no plans to do anything but remain at home today. Please do be in touch should you find yourself uncomfortable or unsafe at home. Among those of us who have generators, I am sure we can help to provide for those who do not, and should anyone’s home be damaged, I pray we may offer shelter. Please be in touch. My phone number is (978)400-1991 and I will have my directory at the ready to reach out to our deacons, trustees and care team.
Our annual meeting is scheduled for tomorrow and the storm is predicted to have abated significantly by the time our worship begins at 10:00 a.m. There are still flood warnings in effect, so please do make your plans in order to be safe. We plan to offer our worship both online and in-person, as we have been, so if there is any question of your safety and you have power, please feel free to Zoom.
We celebrate Community in our song and our worship, and we muse about how Jesus’ call to us to be forgiving can be challenging as well as inviting new spiritual and community growth. Stay tuned for any further announcements regarding plans for worship!