Well it looks as though the clouds will part, the sun will beam, the snow will melt, and a warmer Sunday morning will embrace us. Please join us for our Emerging Worship service. The Praise Ensemble has some stirring songs for us. And the story from Mark’s gospel is a bracing call from God that each one of us must hear and answer in our own way. I look forward to spending the morning with you.
See you soon.
PS – there will be no adult Sunday School this week. I will be meeting with potential confirmands and their families.
January 2018 Pastor's Point of View
THE GOSPEL FOR 2018
Jesus said, “The time is at hand, the kingdom of God is near,
repent, and believe the gospel!”
Mark 1: 14
The word “gospel”, as you know, means “good news.” Brothers and sisters, I am writing to tell you - there is good news for the year 2018!
Dr. Francis Collins is a scientist held in the highest regard around the world (he played a key role in the Human Genome Project.) Not many may know that Dr. Collins is a man of faith and conviction. His book “Faith” is well worth the read.
Francis Collins sees a vibrant, new reality emerging in the world; the re-birth of a vigorous spirituality and commitment to faith. His observation is that a decades-long era of scientific empiricism and rationalism is coming to an end. (An era when something was true only if it could be proven scientifically, is a rough definition.) But the spirit of a living God cannot be denied or ignored forever. A profound and transformational spirituality is being born all around us!
Recently I read an article by Diane Butler Bass, a theologian widely recognized as an expert in mainstream church life in the United States. For most of her career, she watched in despair as mainline denominations were being pushed to the sidelines. If there was ever a time when a nation needed a spiritual renewal it is now! She writes:
Strange as it may seem in this time of cultural anxiety, terrorist fear, political violence, environmental crisis, and partisan anger, I believe that the United States (and not only the United States) is caught up in the throes of a spiritual awakening, a period of sustained religious and political transformation during which our ways of seeing the world, understanding ourselves, and expressing faith are being, to borrow a phrase, “born again.”
I am convinced that Dr. Francis Collins and Diana Butler Bass are onto something. As I talk to younger people and read the blogs, articles, websites on the internet, younger people are rediscovering the reality of the human soul, a higher power, the need for deeper connection to one another and the world we live in. Young people are actively seeking and uncovering the reality of spirituality.
Now, the catch is, this renewed spirituality does not have much to do with religious traditions, denominations, church structure, or structures. As Jesus said, “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” Jn.3: 8.
It is an exciting time for people of faith. The question for those of us who have been main-line Presbyterians for decades is this: can we catch up? Are we willing to let the wind blow us where it pleases? I am reminded of a startling thing God spoke through the prophet Isaiah when God was rebuilding the nation and the faith of Israel:
Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.
Isaiah 43: 18-19
Question. What is it about very cold temps, snow, and ice and Sunday mornings? I see an unfortunate trend developing…. This Sunday, let’s buck that trend! Let’s gather as fellowship of the Risen Lord anyway. (But please, if it is not safe for you to be out, take care of yourself - - we will be open every Sunday morning in the foreseeable future.)
A meaningful and joyful service is in store for us this week.
ADULT SUNDAY SCHOOL at 9:45 a.m. This really is a provocative and stimulating time to be together! For this Sunday, read the gospel accounts of Jesus’ baptism. (Matthew 3: 13-17, Mark 1: 9-11, Luke 3: 21-22, John 1: 29-34). What do you think is the significance of Jesus’ baptism? Why do you think God asked his Son to be baptized for the forgiveness of sins?
See you Sunday,
A Sunday of Light
And a happy brittle cold morning to all!
First of all – stay safe and warm everyone.
Why is January 7 a Sunday of Light – it is Epiphany. The Sunday when we celebrate that the Star of Bethlehem was not for Jesus – but for strangers from far away. What star shines over FPCE? Who does it shine for?
Four reasons that make this Sunday special
God bless you! See you soon.