Grace to you and peace, from God our Creator and the Lord Jesus Christ! As we write this, the Blueberry Festival is in full swing down at the church. Thank you to all who have worked so hard to make this annual celebration such a success.
Pastor Lisa is fresh off of opening night for Head Over Heels, and so we will be collaborating on the service tomorrow morning. Our gospel reading is from Luke (12:49-56), a passage in which Jesus is unusually candid about his mission–to bring fire to the earth. We’ll try to understand the truth he is leading us to, and its implications for us and for our mission as a church.
We have so much to celebrate together in this 250th summer of our ministry in and to the community of Blue Hill–and beyond. Come join us as you are able, or Zoom in following the instructions below.
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” This verse from the letter to the Hebrews offers a succinct definition of what may be the most difficult concept to understand. We have faith in what we cannot see, while we live in a world that says “I’ll believe it when I see it.” This push and pull can be stressful, which is why I have always been grateful for church community. When my faith falters, someone else’s holds me up; the converse is also true. Reading the verses from Luke’s Gospel this week as we also consider what our faith offers and asks of us can invite us to look forward in new ways. We may understand our role of stewards as similarly looking forward in equal measure to the degree to which we look at our history. How do we, as a community of faith, trust that God walks with us into an unseen future?
These are not empty questions; we navigate uncertainty in our private lives as well as in the life of our church family. As we share in Communion together, though we do not partake of the physical elements, we celebrate the presence of the Holy Spirit to guide us toward greater faithfulness and greater trust. All are invited to join us in worship, with music abounding in many different ways this Sunday, in particular!
In celebration of the First Congregational Church of Blue Hill’s 250th anniversary, the church and other local organizations will host a Blue Hill “History Hunt” on Friday, August 5th from 1:00-4:00pm. Click here for more information.
We welcome to our worship this Sunday one of our own congregation with two friends who are committed to addressing the issue of poverty in our nation. David Jolly, Haydée Foreman and Linda Homer will share from their experiences with the Poor People’s Campaign in Hancock County and particularly about their recent engagement with the March in Washington on June 18th. That this opportunity coincides with scripture reading from Luke in which Jesus warns against stockpiling earthly wealth seems greater than coincidence. A special anthem from the work of contemporary singer-songwriter Tracy Chapman also highlights the needs and frustrations of the poor. Is this the moment in which we all begin to look at the various ways we have arrived at such great socio-economic inequality in our nation—and then make the changes necessary to care for “the least of these”?
Our thanks to the choir and also to Dave Quinby as he adds the bass bottom to our music for the morning!
Why, when and what do you pray? We’ll ask ourselves these questions on Sunday as we hear Jesus’ disciples ask him how to pray. What follows is what we have come to know as “The Lord’s Prayer,” or “The Our Father.” The ensuing exposition on Jesus’ part may be tricky for some of us. Just what does it mean to say that a prayer is effective? What happens when we don’t “get what we want”? Does God not hear us? What gives!? I don’t know about you, but I am glad that my own questioning is in good company with Jesus’ disciples and with David and the prophets before them. Join us in the shade of the start of the Murphy Trail in back of the church where we can sing out our praise and thanksgiving with full-throated joy!
The summer is a busy time, and so I invite you to join us in worship so that you may breathe deeply of God’s Spirit, present when we gather in Jesus’ name! I am grateful for my time away, because when I am on Lake Megunticook there is a kind of a continuum of time in which all eras of my life are present, seamlessly. Much that I would call spiritual feels more readily accessibly to me and I find myself praying more hopefully. My prayer now is that we may bring such hope to each other and the expectation that we will meet the Holy Spirit when we seek God in one another. If that sounds like a tall order, I invite you to pay particular attention to the lessons we read in Colossians and in Luke this week. From descriptions of who Jesus may be, even to the incredulous, to a depiction of how we might be, in service to others, we have a lot to learn and a lot to celebrate.
Then, at 2:00 p.m., you are invited to gather a second time in worship and celebration, this time at the Parsonage (between the Camden National Bank and the Town Hall). Please know that you may park at the Camden National Bank, the Town Hall or the library as well as at the church, with none of them a long walk from the front lawn. You may also park on either Main or Union Streets, but please do not park at the Inn. We will be joined by clergy from the Sunrise Association of the Maine Conference of the United Church of Christ as well as members of our Conference staff as we celebrate my installation (Pastor Lisa J. Durkee) with the help of our various music groups under the direction of Ann Boudreaux. Friends from the Committee on Ministry will offer the message and the charge to the congregation. This is an exciting time in the life of the church and I hope many will join us!