Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Word of the Lord

From a parishioner:

For some reason this morning during Morning Prayer, the phrase, “The Word of the Lord” and the response of, “Thanks be to God” got my attention. Interestingly, it led me to a very good, concise explanation of a liturgical service. Even as liturgical churches are known for their dogma, liturgy and tradition, everything they say is actually from the Bible or biblically based. So I’m uncertain whether separating “liturgical” churches from “Biblical” churches is actually fair.

The affirmation by the leader (be they priest, deacon, lay minister or reader) that “This is the Word of the Lord” is much more than lip service. It’s a statement that the Bible is God-breathed – written down by man, but the Words of God. Through the Word, all things on this Earth were created, so that’s a really powerful statement when you think about it. “This is the Word of the Lord” is a statement of pure belief. Likewise, the response by the congregation, “Thanks be to God,” is an affirmation that all there believe the same, and give their thanks to the God who gave them the gift of His Word.

Very cool concepts – now we just need people to actually think about that when they say the words. Imagine what that would do to the spirit level of every person there.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Love Without Limits

The reflection today was by Keith R. Krell, who wrote a sermon called "Love Without Limits" regarding Matthew 5:38-48.  This is highly recommended to anyone interested in reading it - I think all of us learned something this morning.  One of our parishioners was convinced I had chosen the reflection specifically for her (not true, but glad it spoke to her).

In a similar vein, Holy Trinity has decided to do the Love Life: Living the Gospel of Love program sponsored by the Society of St. John the Evangelist during Lent.  For anyone interested in following along, you can sign up at the first link for a daily email that will contain a link to about a 2-minute video, followed by a question.  You're asked to think about that question, contemplate throughout the day, and by the end of the day, write down your answer.
We will have a daily blog on here during Lent with a bit of discussion on what's talked about in the video, and potentially additional information to contemplate.  We would encourage you to either share your answers here as a comment, share them at your favorite social media site with the tag #LoveLife, or come to one of our morning services and share during coffee hour as we discuss what topics, answers and ruminations occurred over the course of the week. 
This will start on Ash Wednesday, March 5, and continue through Palm Sunday.  All are welcome to participate.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Intensifying the Law

Yesterday's gospel and reflection were on Matthew 5:21-37, with the reflection pointing out that Christ did not abrogate any of the laws of Moses, but actually intensified them. 

If we look at the fact that all matter is physically a specific vibrational signature of energy, Christ is pointing out that the energy of thought is equivalent to the energy of matter, and we must, therefore, guard our thoughts as much as we guard our actions against sin.  It's a much harder path to follow than any previous religious law. 

But, it is pointed out that if we follow the two commandments that Christ gave us - to love God with all our heart, soul and spirit; and to love our neighbors as ourselves - and let those thoughts consume both our minds and our actions, it's not such a tough path after all.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Salt, Light and the City on a Hill

The Gospel today included Matthew 5:13-16, and Pastor Karen King's sermon reminded us that we are to be like salt - meaning to provide flavor, to preserve, and to protect the followers of Christ; we are to reflect the light of Christ, shining as a beacon to others that they too may not just be welcomed and warmed in reflected light, but to bask in the light of Christ and reflect it for others; and we are to be the City on the Hill - a place where people can look and aim their feet to reach, that we all attain the City on the Hill that is Christ.

This reminds me of "This Little Light of Mine" - the song that if you start singing among a group of singers, you will have a full harmony gospel song on your hands in no time. :) This works with any group of singers, 'cause harmonies are so easy to come up with for it, it lends itself to the counter-melodies and makes everyone's heart a little lighter. It's a great way to break the ice when you're with a new group.  But what's always interesting with this song is being reminded ahead of time - what the song means. And then let your voice be one of the lights that shines in the reflected glory of God. The harmonies that can be created are utter joy to the ear.

Going back to salt, I figure this can actually be linked with capacity fairly well. If we are to flavor life, to make it attractive to others, we need to realize that not everyone is attracted to the same flavors - some enjoy spice, others sweet; some are as we would describe "salt of the earth" and others as "salty" and still others "old salt". Each of us have personalities that attract different types of people. And for people to feel comfortable, they have to know that their particular personality or flavor or salt will be welcome among the family of God - if only appreciated by a few. :)

What are your favorite ways of being that City on the Hill? How do you flavor your interactions with others? What ways do you use to reflect God's light in your own life to attract others to journey to God?

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Morning Contemplation, February 6

So, this morning it's -14.  Please everyone, stay warm. :)

There is this wonderful collect when we're saying prayers that catches everything you might miss when you're thinking of specifics.   It goes:
For All Sorts and Conditions
O God, the creator and preserver of all, we humbly beseech you for all sorts and conditions of people; that you would be pleased to make your ways known unto them, your saving health unto all nations. More especially we pray for your holy Church universal; that it may be so guided and governed by your good Spirit, that all who profess and call themselves Christians may be led into the way of truth, and hold the faith in unity of spirit, in the bond of peace, and in righteousness of life. Finally, we commend to your fatherly goodness all those who are in any ways afflicted or distressed, in mind, body, or estate; that it may please you to comfort and relieve them according to their several necessities, giving them patience under their sufferings, and a happy issue out of all their afflictions. And this we beg for Jesus Christ's sake. Amen

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Morning Prayer

My apologies for the lack of morning prayer service this morning.  As I am hesitant to walk on the ice, I have been driving to church in the mornings.  Unfortunately, my truck has quit functioning on me.  Please do participate in the Morning Prayer Service at the link.  If you want to give a call at 7:30, I'd be happy to do MP with you over the phone.  Hopefully once we get past this portion of weather cold enough to cause icy streets, or it snows again, I'll be back at church. - Angel

Saturday, February 1, 2014

What Do We Stand *For*?

Today, we're going to highly recommend another blog, this one called Pearls and Grace:  the New Church Lady.  This one, I think is where we can see the difference between how Christians are often perceived, and how Christ was perceived. 

Christ was never perceived as being judgmental, but welcoming and loving to all.  Perhaps we need to stop looking so much at what we're against, and instead, ask the question - what would Jesus do? 

Then do it.