September 22, 2017 - 12:00 am
O give thanks to the Lord, call on his name,
make known his deeds among the peoples.
Sing to him, sing praises to him;
tell of all his wonderful works.
Psalm 105:1-2 (NRSV)
I was discussing this scripture with a friend this week -- particularly the last phrase which The Message interprets as “translate his wonders into music!” We started talking about the many ways that praise and worship are present in a Sunday service. There are the obvious elements -- prayer and sermons and singing and liturgy and the celebration of communion -- but there are other acts of praise that are less obvious, and less ephemeral.
In our context, we see the architecture of the building and stained glass in the windows, paintings by established artists and works by young children, empty crosses reminding us of the risen Christ and wooden pews that have supported generations of worshipers. Each of these is an act of praise, an example of the wonders of God being expressed in artistic creation.
We then started discussing which of these creations was most likely to speak to each of us in a worship service. I shared that -- more often than not -- music is the element that I find most fully connects me to the divine. For my friend, stained glass windows are a piece that deeply connects him with the stories of scripture and the stories of a given church location. But that conversation got me to thinking about other ways that God’s wonders are given artistic expression outside of a church building and designed worship context.
U2 was recently in Kansas City, and I know that some in our community attended and felt strongly connected to the divine through the course of the evening. Sheep Piece, the sculpture by 20th-century artist Henry Moore, is located on the lawn of the Nelson-Atkins, and predates the shuttlecocks by a couple of decades. It has always spoken to me of God’s unification of the urban and the pastoral.
If, as Paul Simon writes, “the words of the prophets are written on the subway walls and tenement halls,” where do you encounter them in your life? What element in creation calls to you of God’s wonders in the world?
September 22, 2017 - 12:00 am
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Friends, in a recent note I invited you to be in prayer and action for those whose lives and families have been impacted by hurricane Harvey. Please let me encourage you to maintain that prayer, and to add to it those who will be affected by Irma. As I wrote at that time, one of the ways that we can help is by assembling cleaning kits that are distributed to flood victims and other people affected by disasters by the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR).
I have met with the pastors of other local UM churches (Central, Country Club, St. John and Red Bridge) and we have agreed to combine our efforts to simplify the creation of these buckets. Each of our churches is responsible for just 3 of the components that go into the buckets. Revolution (and Keystone) will be gathering:
* 12-16 oz. bottles of liquid household cleaner that can be mixed with water (Lysol concentrate)
* Sets of 18 cleaning wipes (Handi-wipes or reusable wipes; no terry cloth cleaning towels)
* Sets of 5 scouring pads (No stainless steel, Brillo pads, or SOS pads and nothing with soap built in)
* You may bring these items to collection stations that will be near the sanctuary. On the Wednesday evening before Thanksgiving, we will assemble the items that have been gathered by all of the churches in a service hosted by Red Bridge UMC. Our goal is 250 kits!
On another note, many of you know that the United Methodist Church as a whole is continuing to discern its response to God’s guidance around many complex issues including human sexuality. The Missouri Conference has designated September 17-23 for all to be joined in prayer for those who are guiding these discussions of our presence in God’s world. I invite you to set aside some time on each of these days to pray that while we may not be of one mind we might be of one heart and one body as we act as the body of Christ in the world. More information can be found at: http://www.moumethodist.org/prayingourwayforward.
September 9, 2017 - 12:00 am
500 W. 40th St. KCMO 64111(816)931-1858sunday mornings at 11:30