Pastor Bledsoe will preach on Sunday, November 13th a sermon entitled, “The Foundations Shook,” based upon the scripture of Isaiah 6:1-8 when the prophet, confronted by the death of his king and an apparent darkness and foreboding faced by the people, was surprisingly confronted with the reality of God. An excerpt from tomorrow’s sermon: ”You and I are about to step off into a Machiavellian period that would make Orwellian politicians blush.” What is to be our response?
Do not forsake the assembling of yourselves together, the writer of Hebrews wrote. Come to worship, embrace one another and let us find a response worthy of God’s people for this time in which we live. Remember, we worship now in our interim space at Jefferson Middle School Academy on Seventh Street, directly across from our church building. ~See you Sunday
“I am an ally. I will stand for your right to be who you are. I am safe.” Join me in wearing a safety pin to declare to others at risk that we stand with them in these perilous times.
Sunday September 25th is the last service to be held in the current building. We’ll begin worshipping in the auditorium of Jefferson Academy Middle School the first Sunday in October, the 2nd.
This process of exchanging our current configuration–a parking lot with a church building–for a new building closer to Maine Avenue and across from the Wharf–began in 2007. I and the chairman of Trustees sat informally in my office with the previous and beloved pastor of fourteen years, Robert Troutman. He blessed us as we began a process of questioning and pondering our future.
After many, many meetings and countless discussions and endless hoops jumped through and navigated, here we are: we are about to exit this building and cross over into our future. We are ready. We are brave. We are full of hope. When Joshua, the heir apparent to Moses, took the children of Israel across the Jordan River into their land of promise, he ordered them to take twelve stones out of the river bed and make a memorial. The scripture says, “When your children ask in time to come, ‘What do those stones mean to you?’ then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off in front of the ark of the covenant of the Lord.”
At some juncture three years from now, we’ll step into a new church building on the same corner. We will have secured our church financially for another fifty to one hundred years if those who come after us are as prudent and careful as we have been. I can hear a child ask what those stones mean–the stone from the First Baptist Church in America that will be placed near the date stone of the new edifice; the stone from the Sea of Galilee that Rabbi Zemel was so kind to have arranged delivery of and will be placed near the threshold of the new sanctuary. And the answer will echo through the millennia: God made a way for us to cross. Hallelujah! ~See you Sunday.
Sunday was a fabulous day with wonderful music, singers and musicians; prayers and scripture; and a sermon about “Table Stories.” In that sermon the following definition of Church was offered: ”The church is that group of persons who by gratitude and thanksgiving, offer a banquet in honor of the Christ and invites others to join them there so they can meet him.” And from there I asserted:
“How preposterous then that the church is divided along lines of race and class, gender and orientation. We follow Jesus, who invited everyone to share at table with him and in turn, was willing to enter anyone’s home who invited him. The church ought to be offering a table of welcome and hospitality to all. That is our mission. That is our identity. ”
Aren’t you tired of worshipping in a church that works on cutting people out, kicking folks off the island, putting out torches instead of lighting them? Why would you remain in a church that hates you or, for that matter, hates anyone? Aren’t you tired of not worshipping, of sitting out and avoiding holy spaces because you’re afraid of unholy and mean people? I know a place that practices a radical table fellowship. Christ shows up there. We would love to hear your table story and have you join with us because life is too short not to pray, praise, connect, commune, celebrate, weep together, laugh together, journey together in this sacred journey. ~See you Sunday.