Tag Archives: churches SW DC

How To Begin Holy Week How to End Holy Week

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Holy Week begins this Sunday, Palm Sunday.
This is how to begin Holy Week: take one step toward Jerusalem, very carefully look for a Galilean whose face is set like flint and who holds in hand a trampled palm frond.
On Monday, be brave and ask him where he is headed.
 On Tuesday, offer him your pillow, because for three years, his head has rested on a stone each night.
 On Wednesday, do not say a word. Do not try to talk him out of where he is going.  Cry for yourself and all that is irretrievably lost in the world.  Then smell your favorite perfume or cologne and pretend you have anointed him for his burial even while he was taking bread from a leper’s hand.
 On Thursday, drink wine and rejoice in the presence of the Galilean and then look at it and think, this looks like blood.  Sing a hymn.  Worship with others if you can so you are not alone in the night, as he prays over there in the garden alone.
 On Friday.  On Friday.  On Friday.   Hammer a nail into a tree. In the evening of the Sabbath, weep because we killed the Son of God.
 Saturday, find some holy place in order to ponder how it is that humans always name holy ground after the most unholy things possible, like battle fields, cemeteries, and a hill of skulls called Calvary.
 On Sunday, when the sun dances along the edge of the horizon and birds sing doxologies worthy of Mozart, put on  fresh clothes and run to a holy place, so you can hear the news that Magdalene proclaimed first  . . . so you can hear the words that Magdalene proclaimed … so you can hear.
 Pray this all week long.  Christ have mercy.  Lord, have mercy.
In the Name of Christ let us walk now, bravely, fully, into Holy Week. I will see you on the other side of Friday.  Sunday is coming.
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Synergy Spirit

The Cambridge Dictionary defines synergy this way:  “the ​combined ​power of a ​group of things when they are ​working together that is ​greater than the ​total ​power ​achieved by each ​working ​separately…”
In Acts 10:38, the Apostle Peter reflected on the ministry of Christ: ”You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.”
The word “power” in the scripture comes from a Greek word dynamis, the word we turn into English as dynamite.  Dynamite when used carefully and intelligently can remove obstacles.  Synergy is a combined power.  It is a word that speaks to the greater achievements of a group of things as opposed to one thing working by itself.  Such a word, synergy, can describe the Church.
We come together to work in  harmony and with each other in order to heal the world, thwart oppression and by God’s Spirit, remove obstacles that prevent persons from fulfilling their God-given humanity.  When this happens, it is a wondrous thing to behold.  This past Sunday, I thought of the synergy of spirit as our choir sang, musicians played and we, the congregation prayed and worshipped together. I beheld this synergy again when after worship our Faith and Justice Team inaugurated its ministry around a table with more than a dozen persons passionate to “weld words to deeds” as I had said in my sermon for the day.  (by the way, the web site now has a Faith and Justice Team page so we can communicate our efforts and share resources)
Love begets love.  Grace abounds. May the Spirit anoint us for this day and this hour and may the power of Christ and the synergy of our mutual devotion and affection help transform and heal the world.  ~See you Sunday

Zombie Life, Spiritual Life

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Zombieland with Woody Harrelson is the only zombie movie I have watched completely.  You can go to my sermon from this past Sunday, August 2nd, and listen to the insights, such as they are, that I drew from this film.   Referencing Zombie movies provides a stark contrast to the spiritual life encouraged by Holy Scripture.  While it is a humorous reference of sorts, it is nonetheless offered as way of seriously considering what kind of life we are called to live within the matrix of human interaction.

The word “matrix” sends us off into another direction with movies since a very popular movie by that name caught our attention years ago.  I may be inspired by all of this to provide some sermons in August that could easily be categorized as a series around films.  Let’s see where I can go with that.

In the mean time, be aware and awake.  Your spiritual life is the most valuable “thing” you have, though it is not  a thing at all. You cannot deposit it in a bank, you can’t frame it and hang it, it is not a chunk of technology but everything–EVERYTHING–depends upon it.  Join us in worship this Sunday.  Or, “You take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe,” as  Morpheus warns Neo in The Matrix.  The One is waiting for us, however, in the midst of the holy.  ~See you Sunday.

Pastor Bledsoe’s sermon for Sunday, August 9th:  

A Message From Trinity to Truman, orLife Cinematic

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50th Anniversary of Vietnam War, Worship July 5th, Parking Lot Concert July 11th

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Riverside Baptist Church is a Commemorative Partner with the United States Vietnam War Commemoration that honors servicemen and their families on the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War.  The primary goal of the commemoration is to thank and honor veterans of the war and their families. This Sunday, July 5th, we will be honoring those in our congregation with family members who served.  Gen. Arnold Fields will present our certification as a partner and then we will read aloud the names of those who served.  Three veterans on our list will also receive pins for their service.

Parking Lot Concert is scheduled for July 11th, Saturday, 11 a.m.  - 1 p.m.  Our choir will be singing and food and fellowship offered as we bring outside a little bit of what happens inside our church on a weekly basis.  Be sure to drop by and participate.  Pastor Bledsoe will be present.

Sunday Service July 5th  Pastor Bledsoe will be preaching. The sermon title is, UNTIL WE LEARN WAR NO MORE…WE REMEMBER.  Along with Holy Communion and our Commemorative celebration of Vietnam veterans, this should prove to be a wonderful and meaningful day of worship.  ~ See you Sunday

Riverside Church Cherry Blossoms

Sunday June 28

This Sunday, June 28th, Dr. Bledsoe is preaching from the lectionary, Gospel reading: Mark 5:21-43. His sermon title: A Supreme Love.

Parking is available both in our lot and along Maine Avenue.  We are easily accessible via L’Enfant and Waterside Metro stations.  Why not begin a new week steeped in ancient disciplines of prayer, praise and proclamation of scripture?  ~See you Sunday

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Kingdom of the Small: Church For Sunday June 14

Service for Sunday June 14th:

preaching, Dr. Michael Bledsoe, pastor and recurring adjunct professor, Howard University School of Divinity.

text: Lectionary selection, Mark 4:26-34.  sermon title: Kingdom of the Small.

Also we will hear some words from Cedric Lawson, Field Manager, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. Cedric will be sharing some thoughts about pursuing justice in our communities.

This is also a communion Sunday.    Do not underestimate the power of worshipping together for change in your own life and change in our world.   ~See you Sunday