What text would you choose to preach in an unreached tribal village where there are tensions between different ethnic groups? Perhaps the same one that you'd preach in this country, where there are tensions between different ethnic groups. Join me for a few minutes with Luke 4:14-21.
Racial reconciliation is hard work that takes a good deal of patience and perseverance. I love the line is this song, 'sometime the cold winds blows/sometimes the wolves rush in/ don't think the battle's over/just 'cause you said 'amen.' Wilder Woods, 'Someday Soon' https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HZ_7NMwnsio
What's the next step for a white American Presbyterian Evangelical? God put us here and now, and Acts 2 and Revelation 7:9 among others say running away isn't our calling. A couple of ideas from this pastor, which start with more than a little listening, and a dash of courage.
P.S. Jemar Tisby, author of 'The Color of Compromise' is coming out with 'How to Fight Racism: Courageous Christianity and the Journey towerd Racial Justice' in January 2021. He gives us plenty to think about until then.
'Let a person examine themselves, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup.'(1 Cor. 11:27-29) In the old days, the pastor would provide the exam. Here's a contemporary approach to help us prepare.
Music today: Liz Vice, 'Empty Me Out.' When we recognize we're buried, raised, and glorified with Christ, we're able to pass along a message that's contagious in the best possible way. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sR1MoY3DCu8 Jess Ray, 'Too Good' - Part of the exam involves recognizing our need in receiving the unbelievable grace Jesus offers us. 'It may be too good to be understood, but it's not too good to be true.' https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qihXzKaUN4g
The Lord's Supper: a 'visible sign of an invisible grace.' A great definition for our minds. What about for our hearts? Let's take a look at Luke 22:14-20 and Jesus' desire to be with his disciples.
Music today: John Michael Talbot, 'I Am the Bread of Life' Protestants and Catholics can enjoy this beautiful meditation on what Jesus gives us through his spiritual presence at the table. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uhk42nq1jwE
'Ascension Day: When Jesus started working from home.' Not only is the first meme I've ever seen on the subject, it's the first time I've thought about the subject for awhile. Then again, I'm an American. Let's look at Acts 1:6-11.
In case you haven’t heard, we are starting worship in the sanctuary this Sunday, June 21.
We are really looking forward to seeing as many of you as possible, and after 12 weeks of online-only services, this is a joyful step forward! Still, we are working diligently to create an environment that provides the proper balance of safety and openness. Toward that goal, Session has adopted the following policy for the next few weeks. This statement has some changes from the newsletter update, though much of this remains the same.
We ask anyone who is not feeling well or those particularly vulnerable to the Covid-19 virus to refrain from attending worship until it is safe to do so. We plan to tape the service for the next several weeks and post it to the church website (cupepc.org).
Everyone will be required to wear a mask to enter the church building, and in the hallway leading to the sanctuary, until seated. Once in the sanctuary, mask wearing is strongly encouraged, but not mandatory. Ushers will ask how many are in your group, and if you plan on wearing a mask during the service or not. We ask that you not move around to other groups once seated.
Seating has been arranged for social distancing between groups. Our ushers will guide you to your seats.
We are asking that those not wearing masks sit in the center section of the sanctuary, if possible. This is the section of the sanctuary furthest away from the air circulation.
There will be no nursery care or Sunday school for now. We encourage families with children to bring them to worship (as long as you stay together.)
We will continue to use the pre-packaged communion elements that we used on May 31 for the July and August communion services. (July 5 and Aug. 2) Ushers will ask if you plan to take communion when you’re seated and provide you the elements when they seat you.
Offering boxes will be placed at the rear of the sanctuary for your use. (Online giving through tithely continues to be available.) There will not be a coffee or snack station for now.
Hand sanitizer will be available at several locations. The bathrooms will be available for use, but the drinking fountains will be closed. Bottled water will be available for those who need it.
We are keeping the lower part of the church building closed to limit the amount of space to be sanitized following the service.
Due to the concern of potential spread of covid-19 through singing beyond the 6 foot radius, we are asking those wanting to sing to wear a mask while doing so. We are limiting the amount of singing we are doing in worship in the near future and will continue to monitor this and all other parts of our worship service moving forward.
Friends, we’re walking through unprecedented times together. There are many theories and new information on covid-19 being published daily. Each of us may come to varying conclusions about what the best approach to this should be. (I addressed this in the June 7 sermon.) Our primary goal as a Session is to provide the best environment for our congregation to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever, even if we have different views on the pandemic response. This is a great opportunity to show someone else some grace! The Sanctuary is designed to be a place of safety and security for us physically, spiritually, and emotionally. While we realize not all of us can come together in body for worship, we are working and praying toward the day when, by the Lord’s mercy, it will be so.
Job 23:10 states, ‘God knows the way I take; when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold.’ We still have many days before us – but I’m grateful to God and to you as we continue this journey together. May the Lord refine us and allow us to be used for his wonderful purposes! We hope to see you Sunday – and God bless you!