You could stay home Sunday and watch another round of talking heads. But at this point, why would you?
You could go online and check polls at various news outlets and ideological outposts and forget coming to church for an hour to sing, pray and hear scripture read and expounded upon. But at this point, why would you do that?
Our souls need respite from the turmoil of the world and especially we need access to light, unfettered grace and love, the truth of God-in-Christ, reconciling the world.
Saturday night, turn your clock back one hour and then Sunday morning, bring your soul to worship. You got a soul–don’t give it to the politicos this Sunday. Bring it to Christ for restoration, redemption, renewal and empowerment. In the Name of God, peace to you and all whom you love. ~ See you Sunday!
Do we really need another sham debate in this gruesome election cycle? This is not unlike one more nuclear weapon—for what? To bounce the rubble? What a shameful spectacle the United States has put on for the rest of the world and I’m not talking solely about the politicians who befoul the public square but I am talking about the citizens of this country that put up with this, promote it and behave like craven lunatics.
How many hours in a day do you devote your eyes and ears to the rhetoric of political discourse and news in this country? Take a break. Seriously. For your own well-being, turn off the taps at the t.v., the computer, your smart phone and whatever other device you rely on to fill your mind with the bleak words of a dying culture.
The world has always been somewhat noisy. John the Baptizer was out in the wilderness tweetless for a reason. Silence may be the most underrated power available to us for healing and restoration. Aren’t you sick and tired of all those words chewed on, the cow curd of a debased society tossed up for us every day over and over and over?
There is a Word from the Lord, however, that is restorative and in one hour in a week, in a middle school auditorium (Jefferson Middle School Academy where we worship for the near future and interim) you can access both silence and that Word; contemplation and proclamation aimed at your soul. Isn’t it time for some soul care?
The Word of God severs and dissembles/the Word of God repairs and restores. The Word of God shatters and shakes/the Word of God rattles bone to bone and remakes. The Word of God pierces hearts and minds, unveiling all it finds/the Word of God clothes hopelessness with the raiment of grace. The Word of God confounds the unrighteous and the wicked/the Word enlightens the wise and provides for the weak. The Word of God divides the sea, straightens crooked paths, makes low every mountain, lifts valleys so that the uneven ground is made level and all flesh will behold the glory of God because, as Isaiah said, “the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” [Isaiah 40:1-5]
We need to hear the Word of the Lord. May the Word of God in Christ remove the stigma of your wounding, restore you heart, soul, mind and body. Let nothing terrify you; but in all you face and within all you do, may the Word of Christ so fill you with courage that you withstand and stand. The triune God engrave the eternal name upon your hearts. Stand on your feet and live. Enter the silence. Hear the Word.
~See you Sunday
I have never used a compass to navigate any journey I have undertaken but I am sure I have depended on persons –like pilots–who did use a compass. Even without having used one, I’ve seen one and of course, I know it is important to know where East and West are, North and South, in relation to me and wherever it is I am located.
Some of you are old enough to remember Triptiks, those maps that AA A would print you with details on not only which roads to take in your route to your destination but also warnings on construction and advice on speed traps. Those were useful but of course were overtaken by Mapquest in the dawning internet age and now, of course, GPS systems we carry in our pockets on our phones.
Getting located is something most of us find very important. Indeed, when a loved one or friend seems overwhelmed by circumstances in their lives we will sometimes say, “they seem lost” or “they don’t know where they’re going.” And it is why sometimes we’ll say to our loved ones, be they children or spouses, “come home” since home is that one place where they not only have to let you in (I believe that was Robert Frost’s definition) but it is the one place to be counted on for knowing where you are in the world.
Which all may explain why the Church has hymns like Softly and Tenderly that has the line “come home.” It yanks at our heartstrings. And the Bible has remarkable stories like the one Jesus taught about a young son who took off with his inheritance, squandered it to the point of living and eating with pigs and finally returned home. His father, standing on a porch and seeing him from the distance, ran to meet him in the road, hugged and kissed him and welcomed him home.
Navigating the spiritual life involves all of these things: finding a compass or GPS or map, sensing that one is lost (it is impossible to be found if one has not awakened to the truth that s/he is lost), and making the trip. I hope you’ll join us this Sunday for worship. It is basically the place and time when we who have been and are lost find our way home. We’ll sing “Amazing Grace” and declare that we’ve been found. We’ll rejoice in the sheer joy of being human beings made in the image of God. We’ll embrace like a family reunion and we’ll humbly make our way to God whose light, like a sun rising in the East, confirms the road we’re on leads to a place called faith, hope and love. ~ See you Sunday
The number and variety of grocery stores in our area astounds me. I admit, I generally self-check-out over at a Safeway. But occasionally I’ll go to Harris Teeter for some things. And even less often I’ll stroll into Trader Joes. And then there are those cathedrals of food, Whole Foods and Wegman’s, that are overwhelming by all they offer. I step in there amazed and with my hand firmly on my wallet.
So this week while pushing a cart in one of those stores I wondered how it is that in a land of plenty, of so very much, that we are at the same time a wasteland of violence. We awaken to this each and every day. Back about twenty, thirty years ago Marxism had nailed religion as the culprit. But look, we live in a hedonistic culture that is far from religious. The sacred is a melting glacial island. And yet, with our technology and supposed reliance on science, we are as alienated as any time in our history. People can’t help resolving their slights by aggression and annihilation. We’ve heard of micro-agrressions. We need a discussion about macro-aggressions when people react with a volume of anger and violence that far outdistances the perceived slight or problem. An astute deacon asked me Sunday about how our country, our culture, might begin addressing anger. And she is correct. We desperately need to do so.
There is a remarkable action you can take that will, on a weekly basis, set a straight measure to your steps; guide you beside still waters; set you in the midst of a meadow of green grass; fill your heart with both humility and joy. What is that action? Worship. I know, I know, it sounds trite. But guess what? it is not. It is profound. Not “going to church” but worship. Stepping into a sacred space, joining with others in prayer and song and stopping long enough to ponder the mystery and gift of your life. Enough violence and hatred. More Communion. More Kindness. More faith, hope and love. ~See you Sunday
Come, now is the time to worship. Sunday January 31st, 10 a.m. Let us gather for prayer, for song and praise, for confession and repentance, for declaring that which is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable, standing together shoulder to shoulder and shining like bright lights in a darkened world.
Hebrews 10:24-25: Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another…”
~See you Sunday!