Today was the final Sunday of our sermon series “Draw the Circle Wide.” Pastor Rebecca preached the last two Sundays as I have been on vacation. It was good to be in worship today and bless and commission our VBS volunteers and students and to assist Pastor Rebecca.
This sermon series has been a blessing to my soul both as a preacher and as someone who listened to others preach. In a time that is difficult and the circle seems to be getting smaller it is good to be challenged that our faith requires something different. Our faith is one that asks that we look past a persons skin color, ethnic background, country of origin or any number of ways we try and keep people out.
The parable of the Good Samaritan always challenges our perception of neighbor, of who is acceptable to receive mercy, grace and love. Pastor Rebecca did a wonderful job of drawing in the current crisis at our southern border as an example of how persons are being vilified rather than being seen as neighbor.
To experience the whole service or just the sermon click on this link.
We have had a very full day at church! This weekend it started with a “bit” of water in our basement under the sanctuary. We had already planned a church wide Sunday school and mission lunch in Meredith Hall (underneath the sanctuary.) Fortunately it was found yesterday or cleanup and a fixing of the pumps could happen before today.
Today’s scripture is a difficult one because in the 21st century it is hard to figure out how best to deal with “demon possession.” The scientific and medical understanding today is far beyond what was understood 2000 years ago. Yet, I tend to be intrigued by how God in Jesus can be encountered in this stories which were recorded so long ago. The story of “Legion” paired with the scripture reading from Galatians is a powerful reminder that Christ draws a wide circle and a greater circle then we can imagine.
The General Board of Global Ministry (GBGM) along with the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) called for today to be a day of solidarity for suffering children. You can find their full statement here. We included the prayer woven into the pastoral prayer this morning.
Today’s service included two beautiful musical numbers on call and a wonderful children’s time by Pastor Rebecca. You can find the whole service or just the sermon here.
I am continually challenged in my own life in how I can Draw the Circle Wide and be part of God’s reign in Christ.
It was a wild ride of a morning weather wise in south central Kansas! I don’t sleep well on Saturday night (occupational hazard for me) and so I am usually up and going by 4:00 a.m. or a little earlier. We had had storms, but sometime around 4:20 the tornado sirens went off.
As a typical Kansan I don’t tend to get over anxious…but that early in the morning I pay attention. I haven’t heard the sirens in our area for an actual weather event in a long time. As I was moving to go get Andrew, I heard his feet hit the floor and also then noticed the siren only sounded once!
I went to the facebook feed for KAKE TV to hear the sirens were a mistake. However within a few minutes the sirens went off (not in my area) but south of Wichita. A lot of storm damage before the sun came up and in my neighborhood up the street a transformer blew and many of our neighbors had been without power.
What a way to begin a Sunday. Other than the weather excitement it was a good day to gather and to continue our sermon series “Draw the Circle Wide.” Today’s scripture was from Luke and focused on the woman anointing Jesus at Simon the Pharisee’s home. When Simon is asked….do you see this woman? I came to the conclusion that he didn’t…or that he only saw what he wanted to see, the labels that had been placed on her.
And me? I am not so different from Simon. I can become judgy pretty fast and making assumptions about folk. I am sure that draws the circle tighter not wider. Fortunately, the ripples of grace that come from faith in Christ is there for us all.
The music today in worship was outstanding. You can find the whole worship service or just the sermon here.
I committing my self this week to pay attention to how I “see” people, really see them. It is my hope that by doing so, I can be part of God’s work to “Draw the Circle Wide.”
Today is a day filled with the secular and sacred. It’s Father’s Day in the United States and in the Western Church it is Trinity Sunday. Neither of which I dealt with in my sermon today.
I did offer a Happy Father’s Day to all the Fathers, Grandfathers, Uncles and men who have mentored. I was a fatherless child for a while and I am so grateful to those teachers and preaches and youth group leaders, my grandfather and my stepfather who mentored and supported me over the years. I do not underestimate the gift they gave with their time and love.
Trinity Sunday usually sneaks up on me as it is one of those “theological” Sundays which take a lot to unpack. One of my favorite videos is about St. Patrick and all the “heretical” understandings of the Trinity. You can find this silly and yet provoking theological education here.
You will find none of that in my sermon today. The service continued the sermon series “Draw the Circle Wide.” Today we have Jesus healing a centurion’s slave on his word alone. Jesus is amazed by the faith of this outsider who believed Jesus had the authority and power to heal on a word. You can find the whole service or the sermon only here.
Yesterday was a day filled with joy! It is Pentecost in the life of the church and we celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit immediately began to draw the circle wide and through out the book of Acts, the Spirit shakes us and stuns the early church with a vision of a greater circle, of greater inclusion and a breaking down of boundaries and barriers.
Pentecost, while one of the least celebrated church festivals at least in the secular world, it one of the most profound. The Spirit can not be contained, like the wind and fire, the Spirit and wild and touches everyone.
In worship we brought in 9 new members at the Downtown Alive service and 2 new members including an immersion baptism at our Gathering service. We commissioned children for camp and hosted a picnic that had to be brought indoors because of rain.
The whole worship service or just the sermon can be found here.
Come Holy Spirit!!!!