We are in the season of Eastertide, these fifty days that stretch out from Easter to Pentecost. Here we are to remember that it is the God of resurrection who rolls away the stones blocking the exits from our deadened ways of life. It is the Spirit that beckons us forward into new possibilities and hope. It is the God of new life that breaks the chains that have held us in worn-out places full of fear.
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The UCC Lent Devotional for April 4, 2015:
"The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed, and they saw the tomb and how his body was laid. Then they returned, and prepared spices and ointments. On the sabbath they rested according to the commandment." Luke 23:55-56
This year, April begins as we are in Holy Week. We are in the midst of a journey that changes us and changes the world. Here we are living out the story of God’s turning the rules of power, privilege, and control upside down. We witness to the fact that Rome and the Jewish leaders wanted no part of the vision of the world that Jesus was introducing. Jesus taught and lived out the inclusion of the poor and dispossessed, release of the captives, sight to the blind.
It is said, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test." (Luke 4:14)
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?
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