2015.08.26 16:30:37

 

           Good Habits or Good Hearts?

                Order of Worship, Audio

 

Dear Friends,


We had a great celebration in worship last week and I am grateful to our Labor For Your Neighbor speakers, John Carman, Brentt Hoover, Patricia Chagnon and Kendra Brownsberger for their storytelling. I liked what each of them said but the one thing I took away from their collective sharing was that this experience is not about us and the work we do. All four speakers talked about other people and how through their encounter, they experienced God. Isn’t that the blessing of this ministry? Through service and stepping out beyond our routines, we become aware of how the Spirit moves among us, transforming strangers into friends and reminding us of the grace that binds us together.


Much thanks goes to Jeanne Bauer and her committee for their good work in making this event happen. For a few months, the community outreach committee will turn their attention to other projects. But, if you would like to help in the planning of next year’s LFYN, please contact Jeanne Bauer and she will welcome you as part of the 2016 team.

 

I had a wonderful conversation with a 12-year-old recently who is wise and sensitive beyond his years. We were talking about what he had done over the summer. He shared that he loves playing the piano. He has a weekly lesson and has no trouble disciplining himself to practice during the week. He likes playing piano that much. He was working on a Chopin piece that he admitted was difficult and slow going but so beautiful. Then he said that there was another boy who had played that same piece in a recital but it was clear that his heart was not in it. As my friend said, “It was played perfectly but there was no joy in it.”   I was touched to hear my young friend’s passion and sensitivity for music.   But what has stayed with me the most is the power of his observation – “It was played perfectly but there was no joy in it.” It is as if his fingers were in it but his heart wasn’t.

 

This week in church, we will read of a church dinner that gets awkward when the Pharisees let etiquette get in the way of enjoying a good meal with Jesus. They seem more concerned about how clean the disciple’s fingers are than the “cleanliness” of their own hearts.


The texts for this week are Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23 and James 1:17-27.


In Christ,


Martha

Rev. Martha Wingfield


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2015.08.20 14:50:49

           Labor For Your Neighbor

                Order of Worship


Dear Friends,

 

I returned to work this week after a relaxing week away to find the church abuzz with activity around Labor For Your Neighbor. The excitement was palpable and the energy was definitely spirit-filled. I look forward to our gathering together in worship on Sunday to share stories and collectively give thanks to God for the opportunities to serve. On Sunday, we will celebrate our Labor For Your Neighbor efforts with sharing by John Carman, Pat Chagnon, Kendra Brownsberger and Brentt Hoover about their experiences this weekend. Holly Culbertson will be working her late-night magic on a video collage of all of our projects. The scriptures for this service are Luke 10:25-37 and Micah 6:6-8 - both excellent scriptural nourishment as we think about what it means to love our neighbor.

 

I look forward to seeing you this Sunday.


In Christ,

 

Martha

Rev. Martha Wingfield




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2015.08.13 14:59:58

            He Came, In The Flesh

  Order of Worship, Audio


Dear Friends,

 

Summer is rapidly coming to a close and it has been exciting here the last few weeks around the church. Primarily with Vacation Bible School (VBS) happening and an exciting time of worship with them last week.  Kim, Holly, Terry and a cadre of volunteers showed 120 young people how exciting church and God can be. 

 

Labor for Your Neighbor begins next week and several projects have openings for you to help out with.  Check the patio table this Sunday before or after worship.  This is a marvelous opportunity to serve and get to know others in our local and church community.   

 

As we approach the Fall we are planning a number of new opportunities for spiritual growth, so watch for the Fall-Winter brochure, coming out in September, for details.  In short, there is a lot happening here.  As I get to know more of you and all the things this church does, I am amazed at your impact on people’s lives.  Worship, Growth and Serving is what is happening and I am very fortunate to be part of it. 

 

Pastor Martha will return to the Pulpit Sunday the 23rd and we look forward to having her back.  Join us in worship and invite a friend as we welcome her home

 

Once again, thanks so much for the warm welcome I have received.  I am very blessed to be here.

 

See you Sunday,


Greg

Rev. Greg LaDue



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2015.08.06 15:07:09

          Bible Expedition

  Order of Worship, Audio

  VBS Celebratiom Sunday


 

Dear Friends,

 

This Sunday, we welcome Carolyn Ingram to the pulpit at the 8:30 am service. In addition to being a beloved member of this congregation, Carolyn is a Certified Lay Minister and our current Lay Leader. We benefit from her sensitivity and grace every week in worship through her prayers and leadership as a liturgist. Her sermon is entitled "Bible Expedition" and focuses on Matthew 17:1-8.

 

 We reach the pinnacle of our Vacation Bible School experience with a celebration worship service at 10:00 am. This service, led by Kim Ports, Holly Culbertson and Rev. Greg LaDue, will be filled with singing and dancing and sharing the messages of the week. We will welcome many of the families of this year's VBS participants. Thanks to Kim and her team for a wonderful week!

 

As we say at VBS, "Hold On!"


In Christ,


Martha

Rev. Martha Wingfield


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2015.07.30 15:10:22

            Better Together

  Order of Worship,  Audio


Dear Friends,

 

The scripture from Ephesians (4:1-16) that guides our worship this Sunday is instruction about what is expected of church members. One of the things we talk about at our "Welcome Lunches," for people who are interested in joining the church, is what membership entails. I think I would do well to refer them to this passage. The challenge of being the Body of Christ is recognizing that what one does as an individual affects the spiritual fiber of the whole. So, when one among us does something kind or generous or brave, it makes us all better because we are of one body. When one among us does something cruel or petty or mean-spirited, we all suffer the loss equally. It makes us less than we are called to be.

 

As we gather for worship and meditate on God's gift to us in the church, it is so fitting that we also come to the common table and share in one bread and one cup. Let the words of the hymn, "One Bread, One Body" be an invitation to come to church this Sunday.

 

One bread, one body,

one Lord of all,

one cup of blessing which we bless.

And we, though many throughout the earth,

we are one body in this one Lord.

 

In Christ,


Martha

Rev. Martha Wingfield


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2015.07.23 14:49:08

          Smooth Sailing Ahead

  Order of Worship, Audio

 

Dear Friends

In John 6:1-21, John records two of Jesus' great miracles, back to back. We first read of the story of a hillside full of hungry people who have come to be fed, physically and spiritually, by Jesus. As dinnertime nears, Jesus’ disciples try to come up with a plan to feed the masses. After taking inventory, the disciples, particularly Philip, are clear there is absolutely no way that all those people can be fed.

Then, later that evening, the disciples take a gentle cruise on the lake, intending to get some rest after a long day. Suddenly, a storm comes up and they become terrified for their safety. To their great surprise, Jesus appears to them walking on the water. First he calms the storm, and then his fearful disciples.

What links these two stories together is that in each event, Jesus does something totally unexpected, and it changes the lives of those around him forever. Neither the disciples, nor the little fisher boy, nor anyone else standing on the hillside, ever dreamed what was going to happen when Jesus got a hold of that bread and those fish. Out on the lake, not one of the disciples expected Jesus to stroll up beside their boat and greet them in the middle of a storm.

John tells us these stories to remind us that the One we follow is full of surprises and he has more ways than we can ever imagine to teach us the power of God’s love.

 

As we gather in worship this week, we will focus on the second of these two stories. Our lectionary took us on a similar ride in the gospel of Mark just a month ago, but John adds his own particular twist to this salty tale. The title of the sermon is “Smooth Sailing Ahead.”

 

See you Sunday,

 

Martha

Rev. Martha Wingfield



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2015.07.16 14:29:58

          Take a Break!

  Order of Worship, Audio


Dear Friends,


"Big Ben! House of Parliament!" Those famous lines from the Chevy Chase movie, "National Lampoon's European Vacation" are like a joke that never gets old at our house. Whenever we talk about planning summer vacations or remember trips taken when the boys were growing up, those lines conjure up a good laugh. We are in the thick of summer and many of us are traveling to visit family or embarking on new adventures. Vacations offer a welcome rest from our stressful routines and busy work schedules. We need these times of rest and recuperation, as well as the stimulation of new experiences, to rejuvenate us.


The scripture this week teaches of the importance of rest and renewal in the walk of faith. In Mark 6:30-34, 53-56, the apostles return from their first experience in the mission field. Back in verse 7, Jesus sent them out in pairs and gave them "the authority over unclean spirits" and instructed them to go out into the highways and byways and share the good news. Our passage this week is the follow-up. They come back with wonderful stories. Recognizing the power of those experiences, Jesus wisely and with compassion invites them "to come away to a quiet place and rest." We will explore together the importance of rest and quiet in the life of faith. The companion text for this week is Psalm 46. The sermon is titled, "Take a Break!"


See you Sunday,


Martha

Rev. Martha Wingfield



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2015.07.08 20:19:12

 

Dirty Dancing

   Order of WorshipAudio

 

Dear Friends,

 

Following the lectionary, our prescribed schedule of scripture readings, this week's gospel lesson is a pretty awful passage about the death of John the Baptist. The passage is actually two stories in one. The first is about the reaction of Herod, the tetrarch of Galilee, to the reports that Jesus and his disciples are healing the sick and casting out demons. Something is going on outside the palace walls and it doesn't sound good to Herod. Upon hearing about these early successes on the part of Jesus, Herod foolishly and guiltily surmises that this must mean that John the Baptist has risen from the dead and come back to haunt him. The gospel writer then gives us a glimpse into Herod's thinking by providing a flashback to the story of Herod's order to have John the Baptist beheaded. This flashback is an unusual literary maneuver that leaves us wondering what in the world Mark had in mind in inserting this murderous passage into the midst of a really nice gospel narration. Our job this week is to answer that question.

 

The gospel passage for this week is Mark 6:14-29. I encourage you to read the whole of chapter 6 to place this mystery in its context. The title of the sermon is Dirty Dancing.

 

We had a wonderful welcome for Greg LaDue last Sunday in worship and we will celebrate that new beginning with an All-Church Potluck in the Fellowship Hall this Sunday after the second service. If you have not signed up yet, please bring some food to share and join us for a fun time of fellowship. Lots of great activities are planned for families.

 

 I look forward to seeing you this Sunday,


Martha

Rev. Martha Wingfield


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2015.07.01 21:20:43

Perfect in Weakness

Order of Worship, Audio

 

Dear Friends,

 

As we ready ourselves for 4th of July festivities, I share with you a couple of quotations about America.

 

"You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4th, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness." Erma Bombeck

 

"I reject the idea of a post-racial America. I want to luxuriate in the racial deliciousness of our country: the Italian-Americans, the Irish-Americans, the Mexican-Americans. I mean, that's what makes America great. We are a nation that celebrates racial diversity...The story of America is one of bringing such differences together to manifest a united set of ideals - not a united culture, not a united language, not a united religion, but a united set of ideals. That was what made America dramatic when it was founded, the first country of its kind in humanity. I want to celebrate all of America: its richness, its diversity, its deliciousness." Senator Cory Booker

 

"It's true that I struggle to keep faith in America these days. But I have committed myself to continuing to work to create the America I still believe in - the America that those on the Mayflower thought it would be. I'm talking about the America that strives to be a land of justice and freedom for all, the one that is, in some ways, a foretaste of the kingdom of God. May all of us who call this nation home commit ourselves to making this - the greatest experiment in political history - a success."   Tony Campolo

 

Our scripture in worship this Sunday is II Corinthians 12:2-10 and the title of the sermon is "Perfect in Weakness." We will welcome our new Associate Minister, the Rev. Greg LaDue and, on this day of new beginnings, share in the Sacrament of Holy Communion. I encourage you to wear your nametag as a sign of the welcoming spirit among us.

 

In Christ,

 


Martha

Rev. Martha T. Wingfield


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2015.06.25 15:47:21

The Little Ship of Faith

Order of WorshipAudio

 

Dear Friends,


This week, we join the disciples and Jesus on a boat in the midst of rocky seas. (Mark 4:35-41) It is not hard to make the metaphoric connection between this passage and the events of the last two weeks. In the news this week, we hear of the stormy seas that have rocked our nation once again. By the time you have read this, most of the funerals for the nine church members murdered in Charleston, South Carolina will have been conducted. In California, early season wildfires threaten communities and stretch our natural resources. In our own lives, we receive news that sparks our own fears about our health or our futures. It is not hard for us to imagine what it feels like when "waves beat into the boat."


In this week's passage, the fear of the disciples is contrasted against the steady calm and courage of Jesus. He stands, without wavering, as the beacon and hope of those who find themselves caught in the storm. May the Spirit lead us and guide us in our understanding and responding to this great story of our faith.


Harry Emerson Fosdick, the great preacher of Riverside Church in New York City, proclaimed the truth of this passage in this way:

 

Fear imprisons, faith liberates;

Fear paralyzes, faith empowers;

Fear disheartens, faith encourages;

Fear sickens, faith heals;

Fear makes useless, faith makes serviceable;

Fear puts hopelessness at the heart of life, while faith rejoices in its God.


This week in worship, we will hear reports from our Annual Conference delegates and will also be treated to some 4th of July music by the San Carlos UMC Band.


I look forward to seeing you on Sunday,

 

In Christ,

 

Martha

Rev. Martha T. Wingfield


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2015.06.18 16:03:25

The Paradox of Generosity

Order of Worship, Audio

 

Dear Friends,

 

A new book by Christian Smith and Hilary Davidson begins "Generosity is paradoxical. Those who give, receive back in turn."[1] The book emphasizes that this thesis is not only a tenet of philosophical and religious teaching; it is a sociological fact. Their interesting book follows this thought as it documents many lively examples of the fruits of generosity. All religions teach about generosity's power. In Proverbs - "One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but ends up impoverished." The Buddha teaches that giving brings happiness at every stage of its expression. And throughout the gospels, Jesus teaches, "Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will save it."

 

In this week's scripture, 2 Corinthians 8:7-15, Paul writes to the Corinthian church and tells them about this paradox - that those who give generously have not only nothing to fear, but will end up with increased blessings and will be enlivened as a congregation because of their generosity of spirit.

 

By now, some of you may think I am sneaking in an off-season stewardship sermon this week. That is not my intention. What this passage reminds us of is that all we have comes to us through the grace and generosity of God. Our joy is increased when we follow that example and share what we have with others. The sermon is titled "The Paradox of Generosity."

 

I look forward to seeing you this Sunday.


In Christ,


Martha

Rev. Martha T. Wingfield



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2015.06.10 18:28:27

 

Surprising Seeds

Order of Worship, Audio



Dear Friends,

 

I know you will join me in welcoming Rev. Jim Standiford to be our preacher in worship again this week as I continue on my vacation. Worship will center around the following texts: 1 Samuel 15:34 -16:20 and Mark 4:26-34. Rev. Standiford's sermon is entitled Surprising Seeds.


In Christ,


Martha

Rev. Martha T. Wingfield


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2015.06.04 15:16:19

Mistaken Identity

Order of Worship, Audio

 

Dear Friends,


 As you read this I am enjoying a couple of week's of vacation. In my absence, I have invited Rev. Jim Standiford to be the preacher for June 7th and 14th. Having retired two years ago as the Senior Minister of First Church, San Diego, Jim brings great skill and pastoral sensitivity to his preaching. This week, the texts are 1 Samuel 8:4-20 and Mark 3:20-35. The title of his sermon is Mistaken Identity.


In Christ,


Martha

Rev. Martha T. Wingfield


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2015.05.28 15:04:24

Who Me?

Order of Worship, Audio


Dear Friends,


One of the crazy truths of our faith is that God has called each of us to be of service and purpose in his name. The call of God utilizes our uniqueness or even our weakness to make us instruments of peace and care for others. Invariably, that calling is what gets us outside of ourselves and puts us in genuine relationship with God and others.

 

Our calling is our specific way of being in this world, tailor made for us by God. To know one’s vocation is to have discovered the treasure that is spoken of in I Corinthians where Paul writes: “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit, and there are a variety of services but the same Lord, and there are varieties of activities but it is the same God who activates them in everyone.”


The Bible is replete with call stories and one of the best is our text this week from Isaiah. The last thing in the world tongue-tied and nervous Isaiah thought he would ever do is become a spokesperson for anyone, much less God. The text for this week is Isaiah 6:1-11 and the title of the sermon is “Who Me?”


Martha 

Rev. Martha T. Wingfield


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2015.05.21 15:03:09

All In One Place

Order of Worship, Audio


Dear Friends,

 

When

 

the day

 

of Pentecost

 

had come, they were all

 

together in one place. And suddenly

 

from heaven there came a sound like

 

       the rush of a violent wind, and it filled

 

                       the entire house where they were sitting.

 

                              Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared

 

                                 among them, and a tongue rested on

 

           each of them. All of them were

 

                                             filled with the Holy Spirit

 

                                              and began to speak

 

                                                 in other languages,

 

as the Spirit

 

gave

 

   them

 

         ability.

 

                                                                                           Acts 2:1-4

 

The metaphors of flame and fire aptly describe the action of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. It is the fulfillment of the promise of Jesus to his disciples that the Holy Spirit will come and sustain the church. After Jesus ascended to heaven, the Holy Spirit descended to the faithful disciples and inspired and energized them. It is out of that experience of the oneness of God that the church was born.

 

The season of Pentecost begins on May 24. This liturgical season is the longest season in the church year, extending from May 24 through November 21. It is so long, in fact, that this season is also referred to as Ordinary Time. Despite the mundane name, the title suggests the sacred nature of everyday life and the growth and vibrancy of the church enlivened by the Spirit.

 

Henri Nouwen wrote "Without Pentecost the Christ-event -- the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus -- remains imprisoned in history as something to remember, think about and reflect on. The Spirit of Jesus comes to dwell within us, so that we can become 'living Christs' here and now."

 

To celebrate the birthday of the church, we are going to have a birthday party at the coffee hours this week. The sanctuary will be decorated in the colors of red, orange, yellow and blue. I invite you to wear your most "firey" colors as well! The full text for this week is Acts 2:1-21 and the title of the sermon is "All in One Place."

 

Come to the Party!


Martha 

Rev. Martha T. Wingfield


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2015.05.13 19:07:25

 

Wait Until the Spirit Comes

Order of Worship, Audio


Dear Friends,

 

This Sunday is an under-celebrated holy day called Ascension Sunday and it is the day that marks the end of the Easter season – the great 50 days during which time the risen Christ appears to strangers and friends alike, confirming the truth that God’s love is alive forever more. In Luke 24:44-55, the resurrected Jesus declares that the new world of forgiveness and repentance as the standard for living has been established. It is now time for Jesus to ascend into heaven so that he sits at the right hand of God in glory. His last word is that, from this point on, the presence of the Holy Spirit will live and thrive in the midst of faithful people. The second text, Acts 1:1-11 tells the same story with some interesting twists. Both texts emphasize the need for faithful and patient waiting on the part of the disciples. The title for the sermon this week is “Wait Until the Spirit Comes.”

 

I look forward to seeing you on Sunday,

 

Martha

Rev. Martha T. Wingfield


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2015.05.07 14:47:38

Living Stones

Order of Worship, Audio


Dear Friends,

 

The scripture text that directs our worship service this week (1 Peter 2:2-10) is a declaration about Christian identity and calling. It reminds us that we are “living stones” modeled after Christ - the cornerstone upon which our life of faith and service is built.  As living stones, our lives are the building blocks through which God’s love and mercy is realized in the world.  So, what are the characteristics of that identity? And as God’s people, how do we witness to the love and mercy that defines us?

 

Virginia Hamilton Adair wrote a poem entitled Games with God. It is a poem about the claim that God makes on each of us.


I played, a child both wild and meek,
with God at games of hide-and-seek.
I searched in vain the usual places
and found a thousand saddened faces.

"Your God is hidden in heaven," they said;
"You'll see him only when you're dead."
How could I make them understand
God often took me by the hand?
Then as my tears began to fall
I felt his touch and heard his call,
"I never hid from you at all."

I played with God a game of tag,
his mantle flying like a flag.
I gave my God a good head start
but caught him running in my heart.
I played with God the game "I Spy,"
but lost him with my fading eye,
till playmate God in his pure kindness,
printed his image on my blindness.


See you Sunday,


Martha

Rev. Martha T. Wingfield


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2015.04.30 18:24:20

The Love Letter

Order of Worship, Audio


Dear Friends,

 

God is love. That’s the scripture for this week. The passage is longer (1 John 4:7-21) but the message is packaged as tightly as can be in those three, little but powerful words.   One of the best sermons I know on this text came from a 7th grade confirmation student. This is what she wrote:


“My belief can be summed up in three words, which I will explain in more length: God is Love. I believe that God is the feeling you get when you realize that you would give everything you have for someone other than yourself. I believe that God is what my parents felt when the pastor at their wedding said, ‘You may now kiss the bride,’ or what they felt when they first saw me wrapped up in a blanket with a little pink knit cap on my head at the New York City Hospital on August 1997 at 3:34 a.m.”


We have lived through a week when there has been no shortage of examples of places that cry out for such sacrificial compassion and love:

  • The earthquake rescue and relief efforts in Nepal
  • The unrest and violence in Baltimore
  • The Supreme Court decision pending in Washington, D.C.

In the passage, the “beloved community” of the church is charged to be the embodiment of God’s active, reconciling and unconditional love. Let us pray for our world, for our country and for ourselves that we may be instruments of God’s love, for “if we love each other, God remains in us and his love is made perfect in us.”

 

In Christ,


Martha

Rev. Martha T. Wingfield


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2015.04.22 22:47:25

The Good Shepherd

Order of Worship, Audio


Dear Friends,


This Sunday is full of sheep – sheep lying down in green pastures, sheep being protected, and sheep who are called by name. And leading all these sheep is the Good Shepherd, the one who loves his sheep so much that he will give his own life to save the flock. On this “Good Shepherd” Sunday, we will ponder these images of Jesus as our Shepherd. The scriptures are John 10:11-18, 1 John 3:16-24 and Psalm 23.


Our practice of congregational life and fellowship is replete with pastoral images. I learned a new one that I think has a good message about why we come to church each week. It was pointed out that if you are traveling in New England, and go to visit some of the oldest churches, you will note that on the dedication plaques mounted on the front of the churches, it gives the date when they were started. If you looked at other architecture of the time, those stones will usually say something like “Founded in 1620.”   But the churches in the Congregational order use a very unusual word that is  not used anywhere else in the church. The cornerstones read "Gathered in 1620," "Gathered in 1640," "Gathered in 1690." The notion is of sheep being gathered into the sheepfold. It seems to me that there is a distinct difference between being founded and being gathered. The church was established by God in Christ Jesus. “To be gathered” reminds us that we are followers, the sheep of his flock, who are cared for by the Good Shepherd.


In Christ,


Martha

Rev. Martha T. Wingfield


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2015.04.16 16:10:58

Stay in the City

Order of Worship,  Audio


Dear Friends,


Our scripture this week, Luke 24:36b-49, offers us Luke’s account of Jesus’ post-resurrection appearance. The first words Jesus utters are the same that John records – “Peace be with you.” In the passage we read last week in John, Jesus shows up in the room where the disciples are hiding and breathes on them the breath of God. Inspired by his presence and his promise, they set out to be the church for the first time. In Luke, Jesus appears on the beach at breakfast time and evidently, he is hungry. The resurrected Jesus wants to know what’s for breakfast. What a way to show his disciples that he is indeed alive again! And as they join him in eating - which is always with Jesus a way of symbolizing communion - they are tasked with spreading the good news of forgiveness to the world. It is a great passage and it’s going to be a great Sunday as we gather together to worship God.

 

See you Sunday,

 

Martha

Rev. Martha T. Wingfield


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