It is said, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test." (Luke 4:14)
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The UCC Lent Devotional for March 23, 2015:
But who indeed are you, a human being, to argue with God? Will what is molded say to the one who molds it, "Why have you made me like this?" Romans 9:19-33
Destiny is hugely important in Christianity. The idea that every person is called by God by virtue of their baptism? That is destiny planning out the path of your days. The idea that salvation is a free gift flowing from the grace of God alone? That is destiny placing ultimate responsibility for humanity’s fate squarely in God’s hands.
We are now in the middle of the Lenten season. Some are food-fasting as part of their Lenten journey; some are on a ‘carbon diet.’ Others are volunteering at our ‘Day Shelter’ for the unhoused in the community; while still others are praying alongside our Lenten devotional booklet. Many are reading Sara Miles’ memoir, Take This Bread. Lent. 2015
The UCC Lent Devotional for March 11, 2015:
"Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, 'I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.' Then the Pharisees said to him, 'You are testifying on your own behalf; your testimony is not valid.'" John 8:12-20
March continues our journey through the Lenten season, the forty days from Ash Wednesday to Easter, in which we are invited to deepen our spiritual lives. How are you preparing for the healing hope of Holy Week and Easter? How are you and God doing these long winter evenings? Where is your hope residing?
This year, February 18 marks Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten season. The forty days of Lent offer us an opportunity to prepare ourselves for the healing blessing of Easter. Our Lenten season is to be a time of deeper spiritual reflection, silence, study, and service, helping us in our soul’s ongoing healing process.
In a recent issue of a newsletter from a NYC Church, those who had attended a retreat, along with groups from other churches, were asked three questions when they arrived back home.
The three questions asked are important ones. They were crafted to help them understand the dynamics of both the retreat they attended and, hopefully, their participation in the life of their faith community now that they were back home. I will alter the questions just a bit, but their focus will be the same. How do we fare as we engage in church life here at Old South?
January 6 marks the beginning of the season of Epiphany, defined as “manifestation, disclosure, revelation.” Spiritually, this season asks us to release some of our old ways of being in order to allow new light to enter our lives. We are invited to explore new awareness, new consciousness, new perspectives that come to us as the light of Christmas grows with each passing day.
The UCC Advent Devotional for December 18, 2014:
"You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” Matthew 3:1-12
Church, can I confess something? I think I might hate the week before Christmas. Because at C-minus one week, all I can see is the wrath to come.
It is the wrath of express shipping on extra candle drip protectors, and office parties that make an audit seem painless by comparison.
It is the wrath of frantic and unpleasant shopping trips that leave me kicking myself for sleeping in on Black Friday … again.
The birth of Jesus in Bethlehem’s stable is a wonderfully celebrative event. That is as it should be. It is what Christmas is all about. But I fear we have domesticated it and sanitized it way too much. We celebrate the Nativity with angels singing, shepherds kneeling, cattle lowing, Magi coming, Handel’s music playing, and on and on. One of my favorite hymns has a verse: ‘The cattle were lowing, the poor baby wakes, but little Lord Jesus, no crying he makes.’ What kind of a baby is that? Thus Jesus was born? Or so we think.
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