This Week – June 15, 2017

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We open ourselves to God’s Spirit in worship, prayer and study, holding each other
in community and encouraging one another to grow in the Spirit.
We reach out in generosity and compassion to the people around us.

bookSunday, June 18, 2017
10:15 a.m. Worship

Scripture: Psalm 100, Luke 11:2
Sermon: The Practice of Reverence: “We did not make ourselves”

Serving Our Church This Sunday:
Liturgist: Barb Okonek
Greeter: Evan Ramstad

 

Help Needed in the Nursery
There are 3 Sundays this summer where Ashley (our nursery attendant) will be gone due to work & family commitments. They are: June 18, July 9, and July 23. Please respond to this email or call the church office (952-935-3025) if you would like to spend an hour (during worship) with the youngest among us.

Governance Structure
The new structure will be organized into “Teams” (Facilities, Enrichment, Hospitality, Worship, and Outreach). A “Team Interest” form was handed out at the meeting on Sunday. We would like to gather information about your interests, abilities, and strengths. Copies of the “Team Interest” forms are available at church… we’d love to hear from everyone!

flowerpowerFlowers from Your Garden
During the summer months we welcome and encourage folks to help brighten up the Sunday morning worship service by bringing fresh cut flowers from their gardens.

You may sign-up to bring flowers if it’s to celebrate a special occasion that you would like noted in the weekly news and the Sunday bulletin. Otherwise, just bring them!

Thanks in advance to those who will be sharing the beauty and abundance of summertime.

“Sarah Laughed”
Second Sunday after Pentecost
Stories always have many viewpoints. In Genesis, the ancient and elderly Abraham is sitting by a tree and three men appear. Abraham, recognizing them as divine emissaries, invites them to a meal and orders Sarah (his ancient and elderly wife) to make them food. After she has served them, she sits, out of sight, and listens. The four men set about to discuss Sarah’s future pregnancy. Sarah laughs . . . out loud. Wouldn’t you? What a ridiculous idea it was that an old lady should get pregnant. Of course, if Abraham is going to be the father of a great nation somebody has to get pregnant, and in this ancient tale of wandering tribes and tent societies Sarah is the only choice for matriarch. But still she is scolded for her laugh. Perhaps there is ancient embedded wisdom in the Erma Bombeck quote, “If you can laugh at it, you can live with it.”

As old as the old tales are, there isn’t much about human beings that hasn’t been told. Many a sitcom has begun with a spouse bringing unexpected company home for dinner. The saga of Abraham and Sarah is a story that walks between worlds of social class, power and gender. In these motifs we can read a lot that resonates with our contemporary world.

Glennon Doyle Melton is a best-selling author who reflects on such contemporary stories. She facilitates an online community called Momastery. Her quirky take on motherhood, family, politics, religion, and women’s lives has resonated with many around the country, and she will be a featured speaker at General Synod 2017 on Saturday, July 1. General Synod meets every other year and it is the body that steers the work of the United Church of Christ. People from all walks of life, from all over the country and the world gather to vote on resolutions, elect officers and create a vortex of denominational energy. This year we will meet in Baltimore, Maryland, and the theme is “Make Glad.”  Gathered in that one body, the delegates that will make up that Synod each bring their own stories, like Sarah’s, that shine a light on both what unites and divides us.

Looking Ahead
June 15 Church Council Meeting – 7:00 p.m.
June 17 House of Charity – Volunteers Needed
June 18 Book Club – Following Worship
June 20 Tai Chi – 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
June 21 Tai Chi – 12:00 to 1:00 p.m.
June 27 Tai Chi – 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
June 28 Tai Chi – 12:00 to 1:00 p.m.

Worship This Week
Scripture: Psalm 100, Luke 11:2
Sermon: The Practice of Reverence: “We did not make ourselves”

The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. Does that mean being afraid of God makes you smart and cautious? Or do you prefer my usual translation which turns fear into awe and respect and invites us to value what God wishes for us to do? When we begin the prayer Jesus taught us we say: “Father in heaven, may your name be holy.” The word Holy means sacred or special. The theme for worship this Sunday is the practice of reverence. Reverence is a way to combine fear and awe and sacredness. The scripture is Psalm 100, but not the version found in the NRSV which is linked above. The sermon text is verse 3 as found in the felicitous mistranslation done by the scholars who gave us the KJV:  Know ye that the Holy One is God: it is God that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are God’s people, and the sheep of God’s pasture.
The awareness that we did not make ourselves can lead us to reverence. The practice of reverence, toward God and other living beings, and even toward objects, is one of the beginnings of wisdom.
What do you regard as worthy of reverence in your life? How do you display and practice that reverence?
[If you wish to go a little farther in preparation, or look ahead to the worship themes for the next month, read the paragraphs below the prayer].

Prayer
Holy One, you have taught us that all our doings without love are nothing worth: send your Holy Spirit and pour into our hearts that most excellent gift of love, without which whoever lives is counted dead before you. Amen.

binocsLooking Ahead…

This summer I (Alan) will begin using the narrative lectionary for worship and preaching. Here is a link that explains the what and why and how of this list of scripture lessons. The page is designed for preachers and worship leaders but the FAQ’s are helpful. I will not be leading worship all of the Sundays this summer so I will not use all of the proposed readings. I am going to use the Psalms they suggest for June and July. For each of the Psalms I will pick a theme and connect it to one of the petitions of the Prayer Jesus taught us and one of the spiritual practices Barbara Brown Taylor describes in her useful book An Altar in the World.

In her explication of Reverence, Barbara quotes from Paul Woodruff, the author of Reverence: Renewing a Forgotten Virtue. If you are interested in learning more about his perspective on virtue I have two sources for you, chosen to appeal to both sides of our political spectrum: for those of who are red voters, this is a link to a speech Paul gave at Brigham Young University; to those of you who are blue voters, here is a link to Paul speaking with Bill Moyers.
The psalms are: 100, 13, 23, 30, and 150.