#RejectedSermonTitles: Time is Wibbley-Wobbley
Time is nonsense.
Ecc 1:1-11; 3:1-7
Humans have created time, like lines in the sand, to help us to keep track of things. This makes sense because we are namers, our job is to name things, explore them and understand them.
We are human, we compartmentalize. Time is human lines in the sand, just like countries, they are human ways of dealing and understanding the world. Tools that are useful, but do not tell the entire story.
But have you ever tried to make time for something, or to spend time on just one thing? Its difficult to do.
If I were God, I would have made life easier, just one human being going from point A->B no complications. Or perhaps stick to 2 humans, Adam and Eve, only having to concentrate upon one relationship only.
But God is timeless. God has allowed us to have complex feelings and complex relationships. the eye is not satisfied with seeing, or the ear filled with hearing. We can be at different places and do different things. We are made into complex beings, because God can step back and free us from time, to be more complicated. We have many relationships at different stages with many different types of people, and we feel complex emotions about all of these relationship and our relationships effect our other relationships.
God allows time to be different. Nowhere in the Bible does it have the timeline or steps to being a Christian. Different people come in different ways. Because God frees us from time and cultures and checklists.
Church is one of the few places where you come, wherever you are to experience God.
Again, we may wish that you are baptized before you take communion, but the reality is sometimes you take communion to get baptized. God is timeless, God is beyond time. Working on all the relationships that influence our experience of God, digging deep into the emotions which are so often mixed. Never are we just sad, we are sad with a touch of anger, or depression that comes from feeling bereft. We are happy, but nervous. We are full of joy and yet miss those we love.
Church is where we gather to practice experiencing God together, and wherever we are, we meet together. What’s more, we open our congregation to invite anyone in…
we know that our own experience of God is enriched by the different places that we all come from
Church is not a social club, or a volunteer group or a corporation. Its not a checklist, its a practice of the experience of God together, its a place to find companionship on the spiritual journey. Church is unique.
Because, God is timeless. Experience of time is as mixed and nonsensical as Ecclesiastes says. God experiences happen throughout the week, in fact we practice God’s presence on Sunday to help to interweave worship throughout our time.
We are practicing it here, every week, God’s presence together. Not because time is a constant stream, but because God is timeless, entering into our lives in different and complex ways–supporting us as complex beings.
Christmas Eve Favorites
My favorite parts of this year Christmas eve service are many…but I’d love to name some
1. The children helping to light the advent candle. I did away with pre-planning a family to light candles (who has time to do that? not me, not them) and have been cycling through the children youngest to eldest–without repeating the previous weeks’ lighters, and reviewing the meanings as the Children’s sermons (they remembered ALL of it!!!!). Christmas Eve I invited all the children up…I believe there were about 10, to come and help to light the candles. Siblings shared holding the stick, and we did not set the church on fire….then I got to explain why we were lighting the Christ Candle and how we were going to share the light. It was awesome.
2. My children were totally distracted, my eldest belted out the carols and my middle child (who has communicative difficulties i.e. words are hard for him) answered back to every single Bible reading I made, plust there was the whining and rustling and near-escapes…but it reminded me of why we were there. Its why *my* family sings “the little Lord Jesus lotsa crying he makes” for Away in the Manger.
3. Communion, where we got to hear the choir sing plus some young adults sang the Christmas Alleluia which is the cool new Christian song (YAY). We took it by intinction (where we dip the bread), which means I got to pass to every single person, it was amazing.
4. Candles at the end, and raising the lights for the last verse of Silent Night
5. Being able to wish EVERY single person there a MERRY CHRISTMAS
#Beauty #life #church more #calvin&hobbes #worship #toughweekweareopenonSunday
For me, Church is a great way to make connections….
The more the church can welcome the stuffed tigers and the rambunctious children, the better we are doing our job. After all, these messy people are the ones who remind us just how beautiful life is….When I was young I used to go to church with Eli. Eli was….a pistol, he always knew how he wanted things done and he threw himself into doing them, running from one end of the church to the other, yelling his announcements at the top of his lungs, jumping up and down in the pew.
He was that child in church.
Two important things about Eli
1. He loved church, he especially loved the “Amens” sung at the end, and would freeze whatever he was doing to listen carefully–what a holy moment
2. He loved church so much, he told everyone, EVERYONE about it, he invited his friends, who brought their parents. This child single-handedly brought more people to the church than anyone else in the entire congregation.
What a testimony to life, connections and worship that can be experienced through the eyes of just one child!
The burning que…
The burning question I have for General Assembly….wouldn’t it be cool to have the Order of Worship online? (or am I missing it), I think it would be so cool to pray what they are praying while I’m many miles away…and maybe even bring those prayers to my congregation as I try to educate them about GA?
How to not only welcome but also integrate children in worship
Ash Weds: Narrative Lectionary Here’s what we’re doin’ tonight!
Ash Wednesday March 5, 2014
Psalm 23: King James Version
Call to Worship
23 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
Repentance: Confession and Creation of the Ashes (writing and burning of our sins)
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:
The Lord be with You
And Also with you
Lift Up Your Hearts
We Lift Our Hearts to the Lord
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God
It is right to give our thanks and praise
Epliclesis Prayer (Jesus you are the good shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep. You laid down your life, to take it up again of your own accord. So you taught long ago, and now the ears to hear and the hearts to understand. Send your Holy Spirit upon these elements so we might be further shepherded into your flock we pray in your most Almighty name. Amen)
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven, give us this day our daily bread, forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom and the glory and the power forever.
Bread & Cup:
(Friends, Christ has set the feast for us, we are invited to come and eat. For on the night that Jesus was betrayed, he supped with friends and he took the most common of foods he gave thanks and broken it and said this is my body broken for you, do this in remembrance of me. And after they were done and were fellowshipping with one another in the same way he took the cup and said this is the blood of my new covenant spilled out for you–for Jesus was shepherd and the lamb, we still don’t know how–and Jesus promises whenever we eat this bread and drink this cup with renew this covenant and remember his death until he comes again. Come let us celebrate this communion with one another.)
Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Prayers and Liturgy by Pastor Katy Stenta who is the solo pastor at a bigger on the inside church in Albany, NY and enjoys reading fantasy, soaking up sunshine, playing with her three sons and visiting her husband at his work, the library.
Children and Church!
“Just tell me the Bible story. I know it sounds simple enough, but it’s amazing how complicated this can get. Honestly, I don’t need gimmicks, flash, fluff. If I want entertainment I’ll ask my parents to take me to the movies. I don’t need a Vacation Bible School that “takes me on an Amazon expedition” or involves surfing, camping or clowns. And please, don’t let some random B-rate Bible cartoon video do it for you. I want you to tell me the Bible story. You. Me. The Bible. That’s it.”
“With the Bible in one hand, and Facebook in the other”
My sermon writing involves
online news articles
catching up on twitter, tumblr, etc
reading all of my favorite people’s posts (I have a great gay rights friend, an awesome scholarly pastoral friend and couple of fantasy Geeks)..to feel “up” on the world
renegotiating my sermon
thinking about illustrations
In the morning I
edit my outline (which usually means completely reordering and changing everything)
listening to conversations of congregants
holding in my heart the status of the church
realizing how the hymns/prayers add nuance to my sermon and trying to jot them in
Preaching and trying to stay focused
Leading Prayer, Praise and Worship, Blessing and Benedicting
Talking more to people 🙂
Going home and collapsing…
It is the most artistic, emotionally engaging and wonderful hour(ish) of my week.
Followed by a nap
Welcoming Young Families IN WORSHIP
Welcoming Young Families IN WORSHIP
YES, YES, YES