Friday, January 31, 2014

Looking Toward Sunday

"God's Secret Agents"

February 2, 2014

There's a meme going around on Facebook that reads, "God sent angels down to earth in the form of dogs with notes saying, 'Don't judge - just love'. They ate the notes, but keep trying to deliver the message." 

Anyone who has ever been loved by a dog has experienced the delivery of that message firsthand. The love of a dog is undoubtedly unconditional - but is it in any way comparable to the love of God? Can it serve as a metaphor for God's love, showing us something about how freely, generously, and unabashedly God loves us?

This Sunday, as Pastor Arlene prepares to travel to NY to train for a new Ministry Dog, we'll be pondering the answer to those questions. Our scripture for the day is 1 John 4:7-12. (You can read it here.) Join us as we playfully consider whether dogs really are "secret agents" of God's lavish, unconditional love. 

See you on Sunday!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Looking Toward Sunday

"Called to Relationship"

Third Sunday after Epiphany
January 26, 2014

This week we'll look at the story of the call of the first disciples as told in the Gospel of Matthew. (You can read it here) Jesus says two key things in his invitation to Peter, Andrew, James, and John that represent the core of Christian discipleship: "Follow me" and "I will make you fishers of people". While these four men will eventually become "laborers in the vineyard", "witnesses to the Christ", "apostles of the Messiah", "leaders of the church", etc., Jesus is first calling the men not into work, but into relationship. They'll be mentored by Jesus ("following") and they'll welcome others into community ("fishing").

As with those first disciples, the invitation to discipleship represents a call to relationship - relationship with Jesus and relationship with others. That's the essence of our vocation as Christians. Anything else we may do or become as Jesus-followers is rooted in those relationships.

Join us as we reflect on the proposition that nurturing relationships is our primary call as Christian disciples.

See you on Sunday!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Looking Toward Sunday

"Pointing the Finger"

Second Sunday after Epiphany
January 19, 2014

This week we're taking a look at John the Baptizer's revelation of Jesus as the Son of God, as told in the Gospel of John. (You can read the passage by clicking here.)

Religious art often portrays John the Baptizer with a pointed finger - not an accusing finger, but gesturing toward something out of the frame, beyond the viewer's sight. That had me a bit perplexed, until I came across a painting that depicted Jesus as the object of John's pointing finger. Then I understood that John's outstretched digit in all those other statues and paintings conveyed the purpose of John's life - which was pointing others toward Jesus.

How well do our lives point to Jesus? Can people see Jesus in our words, our behavior, our lifestyle? Do our lives reflect the love and compassion of Jesus? Is Jesus the object of our attention as he was for John, or are we focused primarily on something or someone else?

Join us as we reflect on those questions and take a look at the role of John the Baptizer - and our own - in pointing others to Jesus.

See you on Sunday!