Category Archives: God on the Move

God on the Move, EASTER!!!!

Christ is Risen! Christ is Risen, Indeed! I love Easter, the flowers, the white and gold paraments, the music including Charles Wesley’s hymn Christ the Lord is Risen Today and Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus. I am aware that not every Easter service includes these musical selections, but when I am pastoring a particular congregation, these two pieces must be done! I am particular that way. Some might say rigid!

For  me, it just isn’t Easter without it. After the long, lean days of Lent, what a joy it is to sing and proclaim the new life given through resurrection. This Sunday at First United Methodist Church, the anthems were particularly lovely. The day is itself, dawned bright and beautiful. I was able to take this picture before the sunrise service.

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I have celebrated Easter in the midst of rain, snow, cold winds and cloudy days. Today’s sky was spectacular! There is one more service today at the Gathering, but I remind us that Easter is not just a day, or a season, it is a life changing experience. You can find today’s worship service here.

Christ is Risen! Christ is Risen, Indeed!

 

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God on the Move: Palm/Passion Sunday

Last year I wrote these words in March:

Holy Week begins. This sacred time invites us into these days of exhilaration, intrigue, theological arguments, exhaustion, betrayal, injustice, trial and execution. That is a great deal of drama to pack in one short week. Yet, often life is like that, perhaps not the extreme ups and downs of being hailed the savior of the world on one day and being crucified and mocked on another, but we know those ups and downs.

Holy Week is a time filled with highs and lows and deep questions about justice and love and a longing for that reign of God that Jesus promised. For me, Holy Week is a reminder of how fast myself and many others can go from the high of exciting parade, to the rage of a violent mob. God moves through love, but sometimes that love is too much to take.

So I enter Holy Week acknowledging my complicity in the evil that often poses as neutrality and thoughtfulness in the world. I acknowledge the sin of my silence, when my voice would make a difference. My own Holy tradition is filled with music that reminds me of those last days and hours of Jesus’ life. Perhaps not “traditional” music, but it is good for my soul:

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At First UMC  are multiple opportunities to move with God through this sacred time. On our website all the special services are listed. Today’s worship service can be found here

In our Christ Memorial Chapel are windows depicting the life of Jesus. These amazing works of art filled with joy each week. In the center lower section is the scene that we remember on this day:

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I invite you to move with me this week through these hard and holy days that we may be ready to have the eyes to see and the ears to hear the Good News of Christ’s resurrection!

 

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God moves us …. to empty ourselves

It has been a very long day. Most people know I never sleep well on Saturday night and last night was no different. Even with my restlessness before Sunday morning, it is always a joy for me to be in worship.

This week we were able to get all the way to Venice, Italy on our walk to Jerusalem. When we first started talking about the 6400 miles from Wichita to Jerusalem we wondered whether or not we could get enough people to track their miles to get there by Easter. Well, we are less than 800 miles away and we still have this week and next to log our miles! We may actually get to walk ALL the way around the sea of Galilee. I think a scenic route is now in order.

This Sunday the scripture was Jesus coming to Bethany and having dinner with Lazarus and Martha and Mary. Mary anoints Jesus and it occurred to me in a way it never had before that she was claiming her authority and place as a disciple of Jesus. She anointed him as Messiah and poured all her faith and passion at his feet. Judas and others would try and deny what was happening and indeed try to change the subject and distract everyone from what Mary was doing. Indeed, Judas would criticize her for it.

Not Jesus, not for a minute. He reminds everyone there of his need to be anointed for burial and for the difficult road ahead. We are just a week from Holy week, I needed to know that God is still on the move even when the world can seem bleak.

We hosted the Bishop’s Gathering for the Wichita area to debrief from General Conference. It was powerful to hear from folks truly affected by the decision and to have time around tables to talk with one another. It made for a long day, but I am grateful to see God on the move in my life and in the life of the church.

You can find today’s worship service here.

 

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God on the Move: Down the Road

It was a very chilly morning, but a wonderful day to gather on the fourth Sunday in Lent. This Sunday we took one of the six special offerings in the United Methodist Church, and my favorite our offering for the United Methodist Committee on Relief. Not one dime from United Methodist apportionments or mission and ministry shares support this amazing ministry. Since 1940 UMCOR has been at work in disasters all over the world. This offering underwrites the administrative costs so that 100% of every gift to disaster relief goes to that disaster.

Following the 11:00 service many of our members helped put together over 100 flood buckets.

Donations came in from our congregation adn others. They will be delivered tomorrow to Omaha, Nebraska where they will go help those who are cleaning up from the terrible flooding through out the state.

God is on the move, through the work of the United Methodist Committee on Relief, through First United Methodist Church, and through you and me. You can find this week’s worship service here.

 

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God on the Move: Over Fences

On this third Sunday in Lent, God is on the move and people are on the move as well. This morning was the inaugural Chisholm Trail Marathon and Half Marathon. A Boston Qualifier and a brand new marathon for Wichita. the Prairie Fire Marathon which is run in October on basically the same course has thousands attend. It practically shuts down downtown and certainly affects worship. This new marathon did not seem to draw as many runners and we were not as aware of it as early as we might have been. Mostly, I think people got to church, but it can be interesting!

We had several opportunities to give to missions today. A mission lunch to help support the team going to Camp Horizon just south east of us was held and we took a special offering for United Methodist Committee on Relief for the Nebraska flooding. Our neighbors to the north are being devastated, over 74 counties and 85 cities are affected in Nebraska alone. It will be a longer term cleanup and response to help.

The gospel reading was difficult and interesting and challenging. We moved as a congregation over 1300 miles and got to Nova Scotia. I hope we don’t end up treading water this week before we get to land again on our walk to Jerusalem. You can find the whole worship service at this link. I continue to be grateful to see God moving in the world, at First Church and in me.

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God on the Move: Overcoming Obstacles

We are on the move! Last week, the congregation logged 746 miles and we made it to Oldenburg, Indiana. A pretty awesome place actually! We are turning in our steps on Sunday and adding up the past week on Monday. If you are interested in participating, you can e-mail your miles to logmysteps@firstwichita.org. I wonder how far we will get as congregation this week? We are walking to Jerusalem, because that is where Jesus is going and we want to be there by Easter.

We are using the walking and moving metaphors to help us see where God is in the world. This week’s scripture has Jesus being encouraged to go a different direction, away from Jerusalem. Obstacles are placed in his path. God moves past all obstacles and helps us do the same.

Today is St. Patrick’s day and in worship I used Patrick life as an example of how God is on the move in amazing ways and moves us past all obstacles. A year ago I reflected on Saint Patrick and you can find my thoughts here.

We all have obstacles and excuses, but God is on the move and God will move them all out of our way. We are called to be on the move with God and with Jesus setting our faces toward Jerusalem and beyond. Today’s worship is uploaded to our archives.

I am praying for a changed heart like Patrick’s and the love to invest into transforming the world with God.

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God on the Move

Today is the first Sunday in Lent. The season began on Wednesday with two services. One was at 12: 15 in our Chapel and the other was at 7:00 in the Sanctuary. Like all our services you can find the video here and always our services in the Sanctuary are livestreamed and recorded. The videos are on our website for up to a month.

Our new sermon series is God on the Move. Working through the lectionary texts, the theme focuses on Jesus moving from one place to the next and finally setting his face towards Jerusalem. Our Creative Worship Team thought joining together to walk to Jersualem with Jesus would be an opportunity for us to move together with God both physically and spiritually.

In our newsletter it stated:

Throughout Lent, First United Methodist Church will be invited to “get moving”. Just as Jesus set his face to Jerusalem, we will also! Each week of Lent we will be invited to log the number of miles walked, swam, biked or ran. Register your miles weekly with the tracker card found in bulletins, at the receptionist desk, in the B2 hallway or in Sunday school binders by calling 316-267-6244 or emailing logmysteps@firstwichita.org.  Be sure to check the 2nd floor hallway of the B building to see how far we have journeyed together! There will be interactive check-in points with photos and story sharing opportunities. On April 13, First UMC is hosting the “Easter Egg 5K” race and each person registered will automatically be counted in our mileage total, so invite all of your friends and neighbors to move with us! The goal is to reach Jerusalem by Easter that is 6,742 miles!

The comforting truth of Lent as we dive deeper into our own self-examination and practices is that we find that we are not alone.  God is still on this journey with us, God is on the move; walking, running, swimming, jogging, biking each mile of the journey as we travel the road to Easter.

We will also have pray walks each Wednesday at 12:15 and we begin in the Chapel. After a short time of prayer, weather permitting, we will walk outside and pray for ourselves and downtown Wichita. If the weather is bad, we will walk inside the church. Embodied moving prayers have a long tradition in the life of church. When we move, we open our minds, hearts, spirits and bodies to where God is moving in us and in our world.

Today in worship we looked at the temptations of Jesus. Traditionally read on the first Sunday in Lent, it was for us a re-visit as we had looked at the temptions in our sermon series on the Lord’s Prayer, Courageous Faith. Temptations tend to move us away from God, but once we know what they are, we can be on the move with God in world. You can find the worship service video here.

I plan on moving with God this week, spiritually and physically. I am looking forward to see where God is on the move in our world.

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