Growing as Disciples: Worship

A Place to Call Home

“In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places.” — John 14:2

The scriptures of the Easter Season speak time and again of the family of God, of loving one another as brothers and sisters, children of God.  Several times the word “abide” invites us to reside, to dwell in the presence of the Risen One. On Easter, a messenger tells the disciples to meet the risen Jesus back at Galilee, the place they began together and the place where they lived and worked together during his ministry. So, on Easter and the weeks following, we are invited to explore what it means to have “a place to call home” in our spiritual lives.

Always Room for One More   4/29/18

“As they were going along the road, they came to some water; and the eunuch said, ‘Look, here is water! What is to prevent me from being baptized?’… He commanded the chariot to stop, and both of them, Philip and the eunuch, went down into the water, and Philip baptized him.” — Acts 8: 36-38

The story of Philip and the eunuch (in some ways, an “outsider”) expresses the inclusive love of God for all. All are invited to come home to God because love is simply part of our nature, and love is of God. The invitation to the table this day is as simple as it is every time we make it: when you endeavor to love your neighbor and live in peace with each other, there’s always room for you, no matter whether you think you “fit” or not, no matter whether you’ve been coming to church a long time or not in a long time. Welcome home.

 

Residing in Love                   5/6/18

“As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.” — John 15: 9-10

The word “abide” isn’t used as much in modern speech. Rather, we will more readily use the word “reside” as it is alluded to in the scriptures today. To reside is “to have a home,” “to be present in or belong,” or “to be vested or placed in somebody or something.” When we make our home within Christian community, we invest in belonging–being in a particular place with a particular people–having a spiritual home. This does not require us to all have the same perspectives. It only asks of us to be present to each other with love.

 

Always Blessing, Always Blessed     5/13/18

“I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, and for this reason I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers.” — Ephesians 1:15-16

Ascension Sunday calls to mind the moment at which Jesus ascends into heaven after having been with the disciples for a while after his resurrection. Another parting–yet this time the scene is not an agonizing death on a cross, rather it is filled with wonder. It is while still blessing them that Jesus “withdrew” from them. And then we read that the blessings continued as his followers move to the temple to worship with great joy. Each time we gather to worship and bless God, “remembering all in our prayers,” we too are continually at home in the promise of Jesus Christ’s presence among us.

 

What’s Mine is Yours           5/20/18

“When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them.” — Acts 2:1-2

The culmination of the “Great 50 Days” (Pentecost) comes with the rush of the spirit in wind and fire. As Jesus foretold, the Spirit is shared by all gathered together, in spite of their differences of language and culture. The Spirit makes its home in and through all people. Jesus has promised, “what’s mine is yours!” The early church believed this day was one of the most appropriate days for receiving new members into the Body of Christ. As part of that tradition, we may baptize, receive new members and offer a way for anyone to commit as they are comfortable to making this church their spiritual home.