Easter Sunday: “What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?”

Now on that same day, the first day of the week, two of the disciples were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. Luke 24:13-14

On the evening following Jesus’ resurrection, there are lots of questions to be asked. The disciples have certainly been on a roller coaster of emotions since the arrival at Jerusalem—celebration, love, grief, and hopelessness at the crucifixion. But on this morning, a seed of hope—an idle tale that the tomb is empty. It seems quite natural that by the time evening comes, folks have questions.

In our journeys of faith this Easter, we may find ourselves in a time of celebration or grief, faith or doubt, hope or despair. Where ever we are, Easter still comes. The Risen Jesus does not bring to an end our questions and discussion, but instead, Jesus meets us again and again on our way.

We gather on Easter to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection, to celebrate as a community that continues to engage our faith through discussion and worship. We celebrate the tale told long ago: “The Lord is risen indeed.”

Join us this Sunday at 6 pm. Bring your faith, your doubts, and your questions, and meet the risen Jesus through song, scripture, bread and wine. Stay following the service for a wonderful feast prepared by our own Kenny Lewis! We hope to see you there!

–Kelley

Palm Sunday: “Are you the king of the Jews?”

“Are you the king of the Jews?” He answered, “You say so.”
Luke 23:3

We begin the season of Holy Week with Palm Sunday. It is a day of contrasts and a lot of scripture. We begin with a reading from the Gospel of Luke of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, when the crowds welcomed him and praised God joyfully with a loud voice saying, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” Then we will move swiftly to the story of trials and the word king takes on an accusatory tone. It can be a service that is discomforting, and maybe that is what we need as we start Holy Week. Maybe we need a Sunday where the range of human response to God’s action in the world is laid out—from joy, faith, and hope to anger, doubt, and despair.

Where do you see yourself in this story? How does this story speak to us 2000 years later? And while we see a vacillating human response, how does this story show us God’s constant love, mercy, and grace.

Join us this Sunday at 6 pm as we begin our journey through Holy Week, and stay for supper following the service.

–Kelley

Lent 5 – “You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.”

Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), said, “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?” (He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he kept the common purse and used to steal what was put into it.) Jesus said, “Leave her alone. She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.”

–John 12.3-8

  • What in your life, in your relationships with others, do you take for granted right now?
  • Are you open to change in yourself or your life? What would that change look like?
  • Do you tend to think of God as someone who interrupts your plans or as someone who frees you to live more fully?
  • When are you most attentive to Jesus?

We’re getting closer to that important time, not the end of school (though that is important), but the moment when Jesus enters Jerusalem to cheers and shouts of expectation which quickly turn into a meal where Jesus calls his small group of disciples friends, then gets betrayed by one of them, is arrested, tried and killed. Things are beginning to change and it’s a story meant to change us too; join us Sunday night as we get ready for the journey towards Jerusalem and towards those important days.  Our service is at 6pm and we’ll enjoy a delicious supper after the service.  I hope to see you on Sunday.

Lent 4 – The Prodigal Son

All the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to Jesus. And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, “This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.”

So Jesus told them this parable:

“There was a man who had two sons….”

Luke 15:1-3, 11

These words serve as the beginning of one of the most popular parables of Jesus. Throughout his life, the artist Rembrandt drew or painted various scenes from this parable. Shortly before he died, Rembrandt returned to the parable for inspiration and painted The Return of the Prodigal Son. In the painting the returning son kneels before his father. The son’s clothes are ragged. The father embraces them, and Rembrandt bathes them in a light that then renders all other figures in the painting in darkness. To the right of the father, partially in shadow, is the elder brother watching the scene unfold. Rembrandt’s painting, completed within two years of his death, is considered the height of his art.

Some two hundred years later, Henri Nouwen, a Dutch priest, would view Rembrandt’s painting and would spend hours contemplating the painting. Nouwen described this experience in his book The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming (1992):

Rembrandt is as much the elder son of the parable as he is the younger. When, during the last years of his life, he painted both sons in Return of the Prodigal Son, he had lived a life in which neither the lostness of the younger son nor the lostness of the elder son was alien to him. Both needed healing and forgiveness. Both needed to come home. Both needed the embrace of a forgiving father.

  • Are there times that you feel lost? And how are you found in those moments?
  • Which person do you most relate to in this parable? The father? The older brother? The younger brother?

Come join us as we explore our relationships and gather for worship on Sunday at 6 pm with supper following.

–Kelley

Lent 3 – Parable of the Fig Tree

Then Jesus told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and found none. So he said to the gardener, ‘See here! For three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree, and still I find none. Cut it down! Why should it be wasting the soil?’ He replied, ‘Sir, let it alone for one more year, until I dig around it and put manure on it. If it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.'”

–Luke 13.6-9

  • Have you ever been told you have trouble paying attention?
  • How attentive are you to your closest friends? Your family?
  • Do you ever feel like God demands perfection from you?
  • Do you think God gives you permission to share your doubts, confusion, and fears with God and others? Do you?

I don’t think we’re called to be perfect, only faithful; and being faithful is harder than trying to be perfect.  But being faithful can always start right where you are today; it can always be begun again.  We gather on Sundays to be reminded of what faithfulness looks like and why it matters; if you’ve been looking to be more faithful to God, and looking for God to be more faithful to you, I hope you’ll join us at Trinity Commons on Sunday at 6pm to hear just how attentive God is to you.  We’ll enjoy a delicious, free supper thanks to our friends Dawn Pilleteri and Melissa Hooker.  I hope to see you Sunday.

–Thomas

Lent 2 – Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it!

Jesus said to them, “Go and tell that fox for me, ‘Listen, I am casting out demons and performing cures today and tomorrow, and on the third day I finish my work. Yet today, tomorrow, and the next day I must be on my way, because it is impossible for a prophet to be killed outside of Jerusalem.’”

Luke 13:32-33

I sometimes joke that I wish God spoke a bit louder or maybe used bright neon signs. There are days that I just want the path forward to be clear, and to have some certainty on what I am supposed to be doing. So, when I read this curious scene from Luke, I am a bit envious of Jesus’ certainty and determination. Even though the Pharisees warn him about Herod, and it is clear that Jesus appreciates the danger, he knows what he is to do and where he is to go. We might be tempted to dismiss Jesus’ certainty by saying, “Well he is the Son of God, so of course, he knew what to do.” But if we do that, we ignore that Jesus was fully human, fully one of us. Remember that Jesus would have his time of uncertainty and doubt.

  • In this season of Lent, where do you find yourself in your journey of faith? Are you on a clear path and know what you should do? Or is the way forward uncertain?
  • Are there things in your life that are distracting you or are making it hard to see what God is calling you to?

Join us this Sunday for Holy Eucharist at 6 pm, and we can ponder with these questions together. Following the service, we will have a wonderful supper provided by the EYC from All Saints. We hope to see you Sunday!

–Kelley

Lent 1 – Jesus was led by the Spirit in the wilderness

After his baptism, Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing at all during those days, and when they were over, he was famished.

–Luke 4.1-2

  • Do you get anxious when it comes time to take a test?Is the anxiety about just having to take the test itself or a fear you don’t have the knowledge you need to pass the test?
  • There are many times in life where we feel tested by circumstances we can’t control; when was the last time you had to navigate circumstances that were out of your control? How did you handle it?  What might you do differently next time?
  • Why do you think the Holy Spirit leads Jesus into a time of temptation?Is it helpful to think that we’re told Jesus was ‘led’ by the Spirit?
  • Do you ever think God ‘does’ things to test you? What might your image of God look like if God was less the giver of a test and more someone with you in the midst of times of testing?

So, it’s Lent.  I invite you this year to think of Lent not as much a season for misery and giving up anything you enjoy but as a time to be aware of the ways in which God hasn’t been a part of your life, as well as the ways we generally aren’t attentive to the needs of other people.  Lent, at its best, asks us to see differently and we’re going to see our time in worship and prayer differently this Lent.  Join us Sunday at 6pm for Holy Eucharist and supper, to hear about Jesus’ temptation and find your own opportunity to understand your relationship with God again.  As always, we’ll enjoy a delicious, free supper after the service thanks to our good BSC friend Catherine Cook and her husband Jackson.  I hope to see you on Sunday night.

Epiphany 7 – Love Your Enemies

Jesus said, “I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. Do to others as you would have them do to you.

–Luke 6.27-31

  • Do you have a list of people to whom you hold a grudge? What would it take for you to let go of your grudge?
  • Do you ever feel alienated from others? What groups/people give you a sense of belonging?
  • Who was there for you in a time when you needed help understanding yourself and how you felt?
  • When Jesus asks us to “do to others as you would have them do to you,” what do you think he’s asking you to do?

It’s important to have a sense of belonging, to feel like you’re welcome, included, and cared about.  While the church doesn’t do that perfectly it at least tries to do it in a way that when we fail we know what we’re aiming at.  We hope you’ll come to Trinity Commons Sunday night at 6pm to belong, to hear Jesus speak about belonging, and to find yourself transformed by the sacrament of the meal at the altar and in the fellowship of the meal at supper.  It’s always better when you’re with us, so we hope to see you this Sunday at 6pm.

Epiphany 6 – the Sermon on the Plain

“Jesus came down with the twelve apostles and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea, Jerusalem, and the coast of Tyre and Sidon. They had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. And all in the crowd were trying to touch him, for power came out from him and healed all of them. Then he looked up at his disciples and said….”          

–Luke 6.17-20
  • Where have you found unexpected love and support this week?  Where do you feel challenged to do better than you usually do this week?
  • Do you ever feel like your life is a series of moments where you pretend to be someone you’re not?  What would authenticity and reality look like for you?
  • What does a blessing from Jesus mean to you?
  • Is your life centered on taking care of yourself, or is it grounded in relationships with other people?

This Sunday at 6pm at Trinity Commons we hear Luke’s version of the beatitudes, and frankly, I find it a difficult set of beatitudes to think about.  Jesus comes and stands with us, eye to eye and face to face; and in that directness we find ourselves caught in the love of “blessed are you,” but do we hear the same amount of love when he follows it with “woe to you?”  It’s challenging to hear but not all challenging words and emotions should be avoided simply because their challenging.  Come join us Sunday night to hear what Jesus says in blessing and woe, challenge yourself to grow beyond your comfort zone, and find yourself with a group of us who recognize that while we’re imperfect we’re still loved.  Plus, our music man Kenny Lewis will be providing supper for us.  It’s sure to be a good night. I hope to see you Sunday night.

Epiphany 5 – Catching Fish & Running Marathons

Once while Jesus was standing beside the lake of Gennesaret, and the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he saw two boats there at the shore of the lake; the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little way from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.”

–Luke 5.1-4

It’s the Sunday for the Mercedes Marathon, and if you’re able to come help us provide hospitality to the runners we need you at Trinity Commons at 7AM Sunday morning. I know it’s early but it’s once a year, an excellent way to give back to the community, and it really is a fun time together. We’ll have breakfast and coffee for you; the roads will be tricky (some closed for the marathon) so do your best and thank you for being willing to come serve others.

Sunday night our usual 6pm Eucharist will be across our parking lot and with our friends at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church. Come join us for this combined service and the recognition that our community includes more than we often are aware. I hope to see you on Sunday.

O God, your unfailing providence sustains the world we live in and the life we live: Watch over those, both night and day, who work while others sleep, and grant that we may never forget that our common life depends upon each other’s toil; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.