Monthly Archives: August, 2018

  1. Online Worship Services : “But This is Difficult!”

    John 6:56-69, Psalm 111:1-10

    “This is difficult,” they said.  “Who can do this?”

    At the end of July I finally read Viktor Frankl’s 1959, Man’s Search for Meaning.  Frankl, an Austrian neurosurgeon and psychologist was, along with his family, deported first to a ghetto, then Auschwitz.  He was later moved to a camp near Dachau, which is where he was when the camp was liberated.  His parents and wife were killed.  After this experience his work shifted to assessing the psychological impact on both prisoners and guards in the camps.  How did some survive and others not?  What mattered?  He did some important work, writing and teaching in Europe and the US.  “Man’s Search for Meaning” begins with a lengthy description of his experience, then a little more analysis.  In page after page of horrors, he writes:

    I shall never forget how I was roused one night by the groans of a fellow prisoner, who threw himself about in his sleep, obviously having a horrible nightmare.   Since I had always been especially sorry for people who suffered from fearful dreams or deliria, I wanted to wake the poor man.  Suddenly I drew back the hand which was ready to shake him, frightened at the thing I was about to do.  At that moment I became intensely conscious of the fact that no dream, no matter how horrible, could be as bad as the reality of the camp which surrounded us, and to which I was about to recall him.[1]

    Frankl realized that no matter how horrible the dream was, waking up would be worse.

    “This is difficult,” they said.  “Who can do this?” 

    I bet there has been a time in your life when you have asked this question.  The couple of times I have it comes as prayer, anguish voiced to God.  Jesus.  Help make this better.  I can’t do this alone.  Be here, fix this, make him well.  What about you?  God, she’s too sick.  I’m too exhausted.  I can’t take the hurt, the betrayal, the loss anymore.  We experience it personally and we see our world.  The first anniversary of the evil rally in Charlottesville last year, you remember those torches that Friday night as all these young white men marched for the white race?  The first anniversary came and went with many more counter protesters in Washington DC, but the fact that even 30 people were willing to parade down the heart of our nation’s capital proclaiming their vile hatred is enough, and we all know means there are many, many more.  We have much work to do.

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  2. Online Worship Services : For We Are All Members of One Another

    Ephesians 4:1-6; 25-5:2

  3. News & Articles : What is Godly Play? A Parent Orientation, August 26

    Godly Play’s Montessori-inspired method for teaching worship education uses storytelling, reflection, art, writing, singing and/or creative play to invite children into the story of God’s people… our story!

    Created by Jerome Berryman, an Episcopal Priest, in 1972 and honed through years of interaction with children in diverse settings, the goal of Godly Play is to teach children to use faith language—parables, sacred stories, and liturgical action—to help them become more fully aware of the mystery of God’s presence in their lives.

    Godly Play is a way of worshipping with young children. While full of developmentally appropriate interactive learning, Godly Play is first and foremost a way for both adults and children to grow in love for God and one another. It provides a way for young children to bring their lived experiences into conversation with God. They do this by experiencing God in the Biblical stories and in the natural creative work of children, play.

     Godly Play is based on the understanding that children have an innate sense of the presence of God. All they lack is the language of faith to help them identify and express it so it can be explored and strengthened. The Godly Play approach teaches classical Christian language in a way that enhances the child’s authentic experience of God so it can contribute to the creative life of the child and the world.

    Godly Play will take place during the 11:00 worship service beginning Sunday, September 9, 2018 and will include children entering kindergarten and first grade.  Following the Children’s Message, this group will go to the Godly Play Room located on the lower level of the Mission Building.

    We will hold an informational gathering on August 26, 8:30 am for parents of rising kindergarteners and first graders. Childcare will be available beginning at 8:15 am.

  4. Online Worship Services : “Bread, or the Bread of Life”

    Psalm 51:1-12; John 6:24-35

    In this passage we see the crowds are trying SO HARD to get everything right. When did you come here, Jesus? What must we do to do what you do? What are the signs? How will we know? They want to get it all right. They want to know who Jesus is, where he’s been, what the right way is to do things. The crowds are people with lots of questions, who really, really, really want to do a good job.

    But Jesus is tricky. He doesn’t provide checklists to the overachieving crowds; he invites them on a journey, he calls them to trust. As John’s Gospel begins the Word becomes flesh, disciples called, Jesus turns water to wine at a wedding, the first of seven signs. The Temple is cleansed, Jesus heals a royal official’s son (sign 2), and heals a paralytic (sign 3). After a longer teaching section, John writes in 6:1, Jesus went over to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. WE, John’s readers, have been a part of the journey on the sea overnight – that happens between Jesus feeding the 5000 that Betty preached on last week and Jesus walking on water with the disciples right after. In verse 24 – really 22 – the scene shifts back to the crowds, back on the other side of the sea, who have gone to sleep and don’t know the water-walking happened. They just know that the guy who fed them yesterday is gone. As they rub the sleep from their eyes, they get in the boat to figure it out, and when they find him they ask what he is doing. Jesus is wary: you’re here because your stomach’s growling. You didn’t understand what these signs were for. He steps back to make the point: “Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For it is on him that God the Father has set his seal.”

    But instead of breathing in that good news, the questions keep coming. This is what thoughtful people do. They go, “Thank you for that, Jesus, but I have other questions. How does all this work? When? What must I do? Most importantly, how will I know when I’ve gotten it right?

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  5. Monthly Newsletter : August 8, 2018

    August 8, 2018 Newsletter

    In This Issue: Concerns & Celebrations, All-Church Family Fun Day, Celebrating Betty, Making Room Capital Campaign, Churchwide Clean-Up Day, Mission Stitches, Community Clothing Sale, Youth Ministry News, In the Library, Westminster School for Young Children, Update from Chris on Staff Transitions, What is Godly Plan, Teacher Training, Adult Learning Opportunities, Summer Book Club, Girls Scouts’ Enrollment, Preaching Schedule, Worship Volunteer Schedule