"But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God.”
I am a big believer in the power of the story. Not just in the power of creative and imaginative storytelling, but in the power that exists in our individual stories and how they are interwoven with the story of God’s creation and the story of salvation through the love, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In the coming weeks and months, our services will involve sharing some of our stories with each other -- stories of our lives, of our faith, our joys and sorrows and our hopes and dreams.
Being part of the body of Christ means being willing to share your story. But before we share it with others, we have to be able to share it with ourselves; we have to be able to identify our own stories and be comfortable with them before we can share them with others around us. So, I invite you to take some time this week to consider your story by considering (or revisiting) the answers to some of these questions:
▪ What were three formative experiences in your life?
▪ What have been your best and worst experiences in a church setting?
▪ Who are three people who have influenced your faith and how did they do it?
▪ How would you describe the influence of Jesus in your life?
▪ How important is faith in your life and why?
▪ Is there an experience of the Divine for which you have a strong desire?
▪ In the last week, how have you experienced God’s presence in your life?
For most of us, these are topics that are present in our minds, but which we rarely solemnize by articulation in our own words. Note, too, that the answer to the last question might be the most significant and is certainly the most dynamic. The more we question where God is is being revealed, the more we are open to those revelations.
May the peace and love of Christ be with you now and always.
October 6, 2017 - 12:00 am
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
500 W. 40th St. KCMO 64111(816)931-1858sunday mornings at 11:30