2016.09.26 19:20:34

Fellowship of the Table

Order of Worship, Audio

 

Dear Friends,

 

This Sunday, World Communion Sunday, is a feast day for the whole church. On this special day, every Christian throughout the world has the chance to join in taking communion together. As we gather in our sanctuary, the same thing is happening in your friend’s churches, or in faraway places like New York and London, in big cities and small towns all over the world. This is the day when those who follow Jesus share a meal together.

 

What we will be serving is the same thing that everybody else is having. Bread and wine (or juice.) It is what we always have when we come to the Lord’s Table. What makes this meal special is that these two ingredients have the ability to trigger in us the most satisfying memory that we are loved by God as we are. What a feast that is!

 

I think that Jesus knew what bread and wine can do because the last time he ate dinner with his disciples, he picked up a loaf of bread. He made sure that he had their attention. Then, he said, "This bread is my body. Whenever you eat this bread, remember me.”  And then he lifted up the cup of wine, which is what they were drinking that night, and he said, “This wine is like my blood poured out for you for the forgiveness of sins. When you drink this wine, remember that I love you and I give you life.”

 

Another thing we remember when we come to eat this meal is that Jesus ate with everybody. Stories in the Bible say that he ate with sinners and tax collectors. He ate a lot of meals with perfect strangers and sometimes he ate with huge crowds of people. No matter who came, he welcomed them. And the Bible says that when they were with Jesus, they began to see others as Jesus saw them. And strangers became friends.

 

Come to the table of friendship this Sunday and join the feast. The scripture for the sermon this week is Luke 22:14-22 and the sermon is entitled “The Fellowship of the Table.”


 

See you Sunday, 

   

Martha

 

Rev. Martha Wingfield 



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2016.09.21 16:45:50

The Chasm of Poverty

Order of Worship, Audio


 

Dear Friends,

Rock-a-my soul in the bosom of Abraham,
Rock-a-my soul in the bosom of Abraham,
Rock-a-my soul in the bosom of Abraham,
Oh, rock-a-my soul.
 
Remember this old African American spiritual? It is based on our parable this week from Luke 16:19-31. The NRSV translation that we will read in worship sanitizes the intimate homecoming that Lazarus receives in heaven. It reads, "The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham." But, just for fun, look it up in the old King James Version and you will find the root of the spiritual. "The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be at the bosom of Abraham."
 
The KJV translation does a touching job conveying the intimacy and sense of belonging that Lazarus receives in heaven. All the notice, care, tenderness and respect that was denied him in his life becomes fully part of his heavenly existence. But then broaden the lens and look at what reversal befalls the unnamed rich man.
 
This parable, like all parables, offers us glimpses of what the Kingdom of God is like. Come to worship this week as we practice living into God's invitation to be participants in the beloved community of faith and justice.

See you Sunday, 
   
Martha
Rev. Martha Wingfield 

 

 



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2016.09.14 18:13:02

 Come Forth

Order of Worship, Audio


Dear Friends,


It is my pleasure to be in the pulpit this week as Rev. Martha is away on a study leave and preparing for the fall and all of the things we hope to begin in the life of our church.  There is much to look forward to as we journey together.


In 2003 I lived in a very nice home in San Diego Country Estates in Ramona.  One Sunday morning as I prepared for church I was alerted to the Cedar Fire.  I walked outside to see neighbors packing cars and saw flames at the end of my street.  I had ten minutes to get out.  Life can turn in seconds.  I was out of that home for a week and when I returned my house was there, but the landscape was blighted.  Trees were black and twisted, charred actually.  Lifeless landscape that looked lunar except for the gnarled and blackened trees.  Not, I guess, unlike the valley of dry bones in Ezekiel's passage for this coming week.  The trees were stripped bare and looked like lifeless bones.


Over the ensuing months however, as I commuted home, what I noticed were green sprouts emerging from the twisted and blackened limbs.   From somewhere deep inside these very damaged tress, life came forth.  The trees weren't dead.  Life was there.  Life renews itself even when things look hopeless and dead.  Life came forth from within.


This week we look at John's story of Lazarus being called from death into life.  We will look together at some questions in this story about life and death.  Because those are the things that matter.  How we live and where we find life.  Even when things appear to be beyond reclaiming, we can find life. 

This isn't the usual time of year for this story, and perhaps that means we might hear it differently.


Invite a friend and join us this week as we look at what these stories may be saying to us.


See you Sunday, 

 

Greg

Rev. Greg LaDue


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2016.09.07 19:37:31

First Church of the Lost

    Order of Worship, Audio


 

Dear Friends,
 
If one were to define the Christian understanding of who God is, likely the words to this hymn would suffice:
 
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
that saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now am found,
was blind, but now I see.
 
And woven into the fabric of that affirmation is the humbling assertion that God is the one who knows me. God is the one who loves me. But first of all, God is the one who found me. That is the distinguishing claim of the Christian faith.
 
Our text this week, Luke 15:1-10, tells a couple stories about how there is not one of us who is not cherished and worth looking for by our God who knows each of our names and will not rest until we are all held safely in the fold.
 
After church this week, we will celebrate the kick-off of our fall programs and ministries at the Sizzlin' September BBQ in the preschool playground. All are welcome!
 
See you Sunday, 
   
Martha
Rev. Martha Wingfield 



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2016.08.31 18:52:25

Praise the Potter, Be the Clay

    Order of Worship, Audio


Dear Friends,

This week, as preparation for worship and Holy Communion, I invite you to think of something that you create - that is rooted in your own design- your own execution and for your own purpose. I want you to define what your art is.  Maybe you crochet or quilt; maybe you paint or cook. Perhaps you garden or build.  It may not be crafty at all.  It could be that you are an artist of words or numbers or notes. Think about your commitment to that art, all of yourself that you put into it. Remember why it is that you love what you do. What are the characteristics of an artist?


Now, meditate on God as an artist. The Bible is filled with images of God as creator, gardener, parent. And in the big theological picture, what does God not make, for that matter. But there are two passages that we are given this week that lift up images of God as an artist. The first is Psalm 139; verse 1-18, and the image I point to is in verse 13 and 14.


For it was you who formed my inward parts;
   you knit me together in my mother's womb.
Praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.


God, as the knitter, makes us with all intentions of an artist. The yarn is chosen, the stitch is picked and perfected, the needle size determined and then God starts knitting.

 

The second image of God as an artist comes from the Old Testament reading, Jeremiah 18:1-11.

 

The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 'Come, go down to the potter's house, and there I will let you hear my words.' So I went down to the potter's house, and there he was working at his wheel. The vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter's hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as seemed good to him.

 

As you study this passage, there is clearly the image of God in control, like the potter, and we have about as much say in the matter as the lump of clay does. But, there is something else rather beautiful in this passage. And that is that the potter is responsive to the clay. And to move out of the metaphor, God loves us so much that he is ready to change his mind in response to our faithfulness. What that tells us is that our relationship with God is not one-sided - it is responsive. How we live with each other and how we respond to God matters to God. Like in our relationships with one another, the way we are with God has mutuality to it and there is, within this relationship, an ability to grow and develop.

 

See you Sunday,

 

Martha

Rev. Martha Wingfield


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2016.08.24 18:07:44

The Treasure Audit

Order of Worship, Audio


Dear Friends,


Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.       Luke 12:32
 
Our scripture this week begins with words of encouragement. It is a statement that beckons trust and hope in God's intention for our lives. It is good that the first line of our scripture is so encouraging, because what follows in the next two verses is pretty tough instruction about the nature of discipleship. This is one of those passages that require you to go sit somewhere and think about what this might mean to your life.
 
So, that is what I invite you to do in preparation for worship on Sunday. Take along with you this wonderful poem attributed to Archbishop Oscar Romero as a tool to meditate on what trusting in God means in your own journey of faith.
 
It helps, now and then, to step back
and take the long view.
The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts,
it is beyond our vision.
 
We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of
the magnificent enterprise that is God's work.
Nothing we do is complete,
which is another way of saying
that the kingdom always lies beyond us.
 
This is what we are about:
We plant seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces effects beyond our capabilities.
 
We may never see the end results,
but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker.
We are workers, not master builders,
ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own.
 
I look forward to seeing you this Sunday.

 

Martha

Rev. Martha Wingfield



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2016.08.17 22:02:48

Labor For Your Neighbor

Order of Worship

 

Dear Friends,

 

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 during Labor For Your Neighbor this week. On Sunday, we will celebrate our experiences with sharing from Peter Laohoo, the Wood family, the Ruiz family,  Stefanie Hayes, and Katie Canedo about their experiences this weekend. Ruth Ingram will be working her late-night magic on a video collage of all of our projects. The scripture for this service is Micah 6:6-8 - excellent scriptural nourishment as we think about what it means to love our neighbor.

 

I look forward to seeing you this Sunday.

 

Martha

Rev. Martha Wingfield 



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2016.08.09 19:57:41

Fire Season

Order of Worship, Audio


Dear Friends,
 
We are in the thick of wildfire season now. The Gopher Fire in North County is pretty well contained but checking the state wildfire map, there are still 12 fires blazing throughout California. The power of fire to spread and destroy everything in its path is both terrifying and awe-inspiring. Our passage this week, Luke 12:49-56, uses this powerful metaphor to express the transformative power of the Holy Spirit in the lives of mature followers of Jesus. Relationships will change. Those who are oppressed will have justice. There will be division for the sake of God's reign on earth. That is a fiery message, indeed!
 
When we gather this week, you will be graced by new paraments on the altar made by Joan Doucette. After Pentecost comes the long season with the boring name of Ordinary Time. "Ordinary" in this case is like "ordinal" meaning that the Sundays from Pentecost to Advent are numbered. So, on this 13th Sunday after Pentecost, the altar cloth expresses the free flowing nature of the fruits of the Spirit to infuse our lives with God's love and power. You will want to come up and take a close look to see all the surprises in this beautiful piece of liturgical art. Thank you, Joan!
 

See you Sunday, 

 
Martha
Rev. Martha Wingfield 



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2016.08.03 21:48:58

Thank You! - (8:30 am)

Order of Worship, Audio


Vacation Bible School Celebration Service - (10:00 am)

Order of Worship



 

Dear Friends,

We have had a full week of singing, dancing, playing, praying, learning and sharing at Vacation Bible School this week. The week culminates in our celebration during the 10:00 am service this Sunday. This will be led by Kim Ports and Holly Culbertson and will be focused on the children using VBS music and characters. All are welcome. The 8:30 am service will be our regular service of communion and I welcome our Certified Lay Minister, Carolyn Ingram to the pulpit. She will share with us about her recent trip to Guatemala. Her texts for this Sunday are Matthew 5:14-16 and Ephesians 6:14-15.
 
I look forward to seeing you this Sunday.
 
Martha
Rev. Martha Wingfield 



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2016.07.27 18:32:34

How Can I Keep From Singing?

Order of WorshipAudio


 

Dear Friends,

When in our music God is glorified,

and adoration leaves no room for pride,

it is as though the whole creation cried

Alleluia!

 

How often, making music, we have found

a new dimension in the world of sound,

as worship moved us to a more profound

Alleluia!

 

So has the Church, in liturgy and song,

in faith and love, through centuries of wrong,

borne witness to the truth in every tongue,

Alleluia!

 

And did not Jesus sing a psalm that night

when utmost evil strove against the Light?

Then let us sing, for whom he won the fight,

Alleluia!

 

Let every instrument be tuned for praise!

Let all rejoice who have a voice to raise!

And may God give us faith to sing always

Alleluia! Amen.

 

I'm sharing the lyrics to this hymn by Fred Pratt Green as your invitation to join us in our Hymn Sing this Sunday at both services. Our interim Music Director, Jeff McConnell has prepared hymns and anthems and some special surprises for our worship. Kay Mills will tell the stories behind many of the great hymns of our faith. The choir returns from their summer break to lead us in raising our voices in joy and praise. Alleluia!!


See you Sunday, 


Martha

Rev. Martha Wingfield 




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2016.07.20 20:08:12

Putting On Your New Self

Order of Worship, Audio


 

Dear Friends,

The scripture this week is part of a letter that Paul writes to the church at Colossae while he is in prison. While in chains, he is worried about the bad news he is getting about some of the churches. The Colossian church is full of new Christians who are trying to follow the authority of Christ, in a culture that believed that life was ruled by the randomness of astrology. This letter is intended to instruct and encourage the new believers in what it means to follow Christ and accept his authority. The important message here is the message of all of our baptisms - that we are given new life in Christ. In gratitude for that grace, we are to live as our best selves in love and care for our neighbors. The scripture for this Sunday is Colossians 3:1-14 and the title of the sermon is "Putting on Your New Self."
 
Martha
Rev. Martha Wingfield 



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2016.07.12 16:32:58

The Main Course

Order of Worship, Audio


Dear Friends,

How many times have parents pondered the strange fact of life that our children, born of the same parents, raised in the same household, can be so different from each other? Or for that matter, how often have we recognized how different we are from our own siblings? Beyond the mysteries of birth order or the tangled web of sibling rivalries, there is the reality - sometimes joyful, sometimes painful - that our families are made up of unique individuals who see the world through complicated lenses and bring to life their own gifts and graces.
 
The Bible is full of stories about siblings whose trials and tribulations offer us food for thought about the life of faith. There are some doozies in the Old Testament, beginning with Cain and Abel, Jacob and Esau, Joseph and his 10 brothers. But the couple in the New Testament, whose home life reads a bit like a script from a reality show, are the sisters, Mary and Martha.
 
In Luke 10:38-42, Jesus comes for a visit and each sister responds to his presence in a different way. Martha feels responsible to have everything just right in order to honor his presence with them. Mary goes about it another way and turns her attention 100% to Jesus. Martha doesn’t mask her irritation at Mary’s neglect of duty and complains to Jesus about it. In the absence of any record of Mary’s response, it may be assumed that her devotion to “being in the moment” with Jesus was not disturbed by her sister’s tantrum. What happens from there is a lesson about balance in one’s own life of devotion and discipleship.
 
This Sunday, we welcome new members at the 10:00 service.
 
I look forward to seeing you on Sunday,
 
Martha
Rev. Martha Wingfield 

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2016.07.06 21:01:08

Who Is My Neighbor?

Order of Worship, Audio


 

Dear Friends,

In the 1990's, a new fashion/slogan craze took Christian youth ministry circles by storm in the form of a brightly colored rubber bracelet with four letters and a question mark stamped onto it - WWJD? The wearers of these bracelets would make a pledge to ask themselves this question - "What Would Jesus Do?" as they discern their own moral stances and make tough decisions. That question/slogan gained in popularity and has been seen all over the world from T-shirts on grandmas to the banners at Occupy Wall Street demonstrations. So, the question is out there. The answer is not always as visible and accessible. Well, I think our scripture for this week, the well-known story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) offers a wonderful answer to the ubiquitous question of WWJD? After studying this story, maybe we should put on a second bracelet that reads "GADL." You can figure it out by reading the passage.
 
See you Sunday,  

Martha
Rev. Martha Wingfield 



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2016.06.29 22:00:55

Road Rules

Order of Worship, Audio


Dear Friends,

I returned from Annual Conference and a week of vacation to wonderful reports about worship the last two weeks. I am grateful to the Reverends Greg LaDue and Jim Standiford for their leadership and good preaching. 
 
Our text this week is rather fitting for one returning to work as it chronicles the call that Jesus gave to 70 of his followers to go out and serve. It is discipleship at its most basic. No frills. Nothing rehearsed or practiced.  No agenda or schedule.  Just go out and let everybody know that the Kingdom of God has come near.
 
Imagine that for a minute. Hitting the highways and byways open to whatever happens.  Meeting people at their point of need and learning their stories.  Relying on the kindness of strangers and learning to set aside your usual preconceptions.  Giving yourself totally to the grace of the moment.
 
Pretty exciting or pretty scary?
 
Our text is Luke 10:1-11, 16-20 and the title of the sermon is "Road Rules." I hope you have a wonderful Independence Day weekend and look forward to celebrating our blessings as a nation together in worship.
 
In Christ,  

Martha
Rev. Martha Wingfield 



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2016.06.15 19:32:13

     The Freedom Trail

Order of Worship, Audio


Dear Friends,
 
This week, we welcome Rev. Jim Standiford as our preacher.  Jim is a dear friend of our congregation and a very popular teacher and preacher here. His sermon is entitled "The Freedom Trail" and the texts for this Sunday are Galatians 5:1,13-25 and Luke 9:51-62.  I know you will welcome him warmly.
 
In Christ,   

Martha
Rev. Martha Wingfield 


 


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2016.06.15 16:33:29

     Another Story Must Begin


                   Order of Worship


Dear Friends,
 
This Sunday is Conference Sunday. Rev. Martha has been at Annual Conference for the last few days of the week and I am sure will have a report for us next week.
 
This week we will look at a familiar story of Moses and the burning bush. God comes in fire to call Moses to a life he is not sure he wants. Fire is one of the images of the Holy Spirit. Fire brings light and warmth. It can also level things to ashes. Mythology speaks of the Phoenix which dies over and over and is re-born each time from the ashes of its former life. It has always intrigued me how stories from other cultures mirror our story of death and re-birth. Our passage from Matthew tells us we must lose our life to find it. Paradox is how God often communicates.
 
All of us have parts of our lives that we would just as soon forget and Moses is no exception. A psalm we recently read says, "Where could I go to escape from you? Where could I get away from your presence?"  We all have places we go to hide from ourselves, others and God. The great psychiatrist Carl Jung said that we all have personas, images that we want the world to see so they don't see the real person we think we are.  The stories of the Bible have an outer meaning and also a very poignant inner meaning.

So this week we will look at Moses' encounter with God from Exodus Chapter 3 and see what it says to us today.
 
Pastor Greg
Rev. Greg LaDue 

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2016.06.08 19:47:28

     The Forgiveness Riddle

                   Order of Worship


 

Dear Friends,
 
I came across some interesting statistics recently. A study on forgiveness has found that almost 75% of those surveyed believe that they have been forgiven by God for past mistakes and wrongdoing, but only 52% say they have forgiven others. Further findings by the University of Michigan Institute for Social Responsibility also found that while nearly 60% of those surveyed said they had forgiven themselves, only 43% said they had actively sought forgiveness for the harm they have done.
 
The Pharisee in this week's scripture could have easily been one of the respondents to the survey. In Luke 7:36-50, a Pharisee throws a dinner party to get some one on one time with Jesus. But when an unnamed woman crashes the party, more than just the hors d'oeuvres course gets interrupted. The title of the sermon is "The Forgiveness Riddle."
 
Thanks to the Special Events Committee, the Fixer Uppers and the Ports and Freeland families for the wonderful coffee house we had last week after church.   Our church family shared their talents with music, readings, and even magic and the food was terrific.
 
This week, I invite you to an Open House in the Church Office after each service. The Fixer Uppers have worked for months updating the office, making it more functional and inviting. I hope you will come and take a tour.
 
See you Sunday,
 
Martha
Rev. Martha Wingfield 



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2016.06.01 19:24:27

     The Star Thrower

                   Order of Worship, Audio



Dear Friends,
 
Seek and ye shall find.
Knock and the door will open.
Ask, and it shall be given
and the Love comes a' tumbling down.
 
This old campfire song comes alive in our scripture for this Sunday when a disciple makes a direct, heart-felt request of Jesus. He says, "Lord, teach us to pray." Wrapped up in that request is the very human longing for communion with God. In our passage from Luke 11:1-13, Jesus offers several good pieces of advice to the questioning disciple. Each one emphasizes that authentic prayer requires persistence on the part of the one doing the praying. There are lots of reasons why such persistence is necessary, but I'll bet that one of them is not because we don't have God's attention. Here's a little homework for you. Imagine yourself saying to Jesus, "Lord, teach me to pray." What is behind those words for you?
 
Myron and I had a wonderful vacation in the Pacific Northwest following General Conference. Rested and renewed, I'm excited about moving ahead with our summer programming and addressing the work that is before us as a congregation. We kick off the summer with a terrific Sunday Brunch at 11:00 am in Fellowship Hall this Sunday while enjoying Open Mic performances from members of our church family of all ages. Come discover the wealth of hidden talent in our fellowship!

In Christ, 
 
Martha
Rev. Martha Wingfield 


 


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2016.05.24 21:07:14

     No Hiding Place

                   Order of Worship, Audio

 

 

Dear Friends,

As I continue on vacation, I have invited Rev. Chuck Hoffman to be our preacher this week. Chuck is a dear friend and mentor. He is now the Pastor Emeritus of San Dieguito United Methodist Church in Encinitas where he had served as Senior Pastor for many years. Prior to that appointment, Chuck served as an Associate at San Diego First and Escondido First. One of the distinctions of Chuck's years of ministry is that 12 young people went into ministry out of the youth groups he led. Most of those people are now leaders in our Annual Conference and serve churches throughout our connection. That legacy is born out of the caring, pastoral, theological grounding of Chuck's ministry. Chuck is a wonderful storyteller and preacher and you will appreciate his message this Sunday. His text is Psalm 139 and the title is "No Hiding Place."

In Christ, 
 
Martha
Rev. Martha Wingfield 

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2016.05.11 21:29:07

A Little Less Than God

                   Order of Worship, Audio

 

Dear Friends,

 
As you read this, I am attending the final day of General Conference 2016 as an observer. Carolyn Ingram has been in attendance here in Portland since last week as an assistant to Bishop Swenson. She and I will both be sharing our experiences and impressions at a Tuesday evening discussion on June 7th. In my absence I have invited Rev. Greg Batson, President of the United Methodist Foundation, to preach this week. Rev. Batson has been an effective and faithful leader in our Annual Conference as he has grown the Foundation significantly during his tenure. Prior to this appointment, Greg was Senior Minister of Aldersgate UMC in Tustin and Burbank First UMC. He is a terrific preacher and also my cousin, so I am very thrilled that he is able to be with you on Sunday. The text for this Sunday are Proverbs 8:22-31 and Psalm 8. The title of his sermon is "A Little Less Than God."
 
I know that you will welcome Greg warmly.

In Christ, 
 
Martha
Rev. Martha Wingfield 



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