The Church of the Brethren ministers manual, called “For All who Minister,” defines Lent with these words: “The forty days of Lent are most frequently identified with Jesus’ fortyday fast in the desert, the forty days Moses spent on Mount Sinai, and Israel’s forty years of wandering in the wilderness. The season of Lent focuses on discipline and penitence and is a time for increased reflection on the life, teaching, and sacrificial death of Christ.”
Pastor Audrey's blog
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas everywhere you go!” It was amazing to me how quickly the Christmas season came upon us this year. I was still marveling at the colors of fall and the beautiful leaves of orange, red and yellow all around me — summer was still a not-so-distant memory — and then one day I drove to church and the garland and lights were around the light posts and the Christmas tree was set-up downtown. Christmas decorations seem to be hung up in people’s homes and in stores earlier and earlier each year, which means the time of anticipation for Christmas gets longer and longer. I honestly hope this trend doesn’t make the time of anticipation and excitement less meaningful.
Starting in October, we will have a special worship series using the Living Peace Curriculum put together by On Earth Peace, an agency of the Church of the Brethren. This is a six week study that would encourage us to consider what it would look like if our congregation lived like a peace church led by God, following in Christ’s footsteps, and inspired by the Spirit. Along with these topics in worship, we invite you to join us in a daily Bible study and weekly reflection questions. The Living Peace Gathering group will also be hosting four lunch conversation opportunities in the Fellowship Hall after the 11:00 AM worship (October 11, 18, 25, and November 15) for us to continue the conversation together.
At the end of August you will have an opportunity during worship to participate in a service of anointing. Anointing is one of those things we do in the Church of the Brethren that is unique. I have profound memories of anointing at National Youth Conference held every four years. I was anointed when I was a youth at this conference and that moment initiated my first steps along my path toward ministry.
The first Sunday of May was All Music Sunday. Our two services came together into one service so that we could raise our voices and instruments in common song to our God. Praising God through music is a common topic in the Bible, especially in the Book of Psalms, which is no surprise, given that the psalms are written as an invitation to praise God in all aspects of life. The psalms are rich with heart-felt words of both sorrow and joy and speak to how we can praise God in the midst of both of these.
During the season of Lent, as many of you know by now, Pastor Tim and I have been encouraging everyone to join us on a journey through the Gospel of Mark, reading a little each day until the whole Gospel is read by Easter. Daily readings are accompanied by a few questions related to the days selection of scripture. Some of these questions may encourage personal reflection while others may invite you to enter the scripture as you relate to people’s actions or thoughts.
“Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it” -- Isaiah 43:18-19a
In the month of November we are going to focus on fearlessness in worship. This topic is so timely as we hear about the increase of violence not only around the world but in our own neighborhood and the increase of widespread illness. There are certainly enough voices around us telling us that it is time for us to be afraid. The uncertainty of the future can make us feel like we are out of control.
“We indeed have neither a new church nor any new laws. We only want to remain in simplicity and true faith in the original church which Jesus founded… If we remain in the teaching of the New Testament, we expect this outcome, namely, that the fulfillment of our faith will be eternal life… We cannot testify for our descendants—as their faith is, so shall be their outcome.”
~ Alexander Mack (founder of the Church of the Brethren) from “Basic Questions”
“I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now. I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ.”
-- Philippians 1:3-6