This Sunday – Advent 1

This Sunday

Jesus said to the disciples, “Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But understand this: if the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.”
–Matthew 24.42-44

  • When do you feel most isolated?
  • Name one significant and important relationship you have in your life?
  • Does the image of God as a liberator make sense to you?  Why or why not?
  • What would God’s presence look like for you today?

It’s the season of Advent and that means we begin a new year in the church by looking forward, to peek at the end you might say.  It’s not really so much an end as it is our longing for the day when Jesus is with us again, so the isolation we feel today becomes transformed by his presence.  Advent is a new opportunity for you to come hear what Jesus says to us and realize you’re a part of the kingdom we long for that one distant day.  When you’re here Sunday at 6 pm with us that distant day doesn’t look or feel so distant after all.  After the service, we’ll have a delicious dinner thanks to the Rev. Eric Mancil and members from Holy Spirit in Alabaster.

–Thomas

 

This Sunday – Christ the King

This Sunday

One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding Jesus and saying, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” He replied, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
–Luke 23.39-43

  • Have you ever taken a trip to a different country?Did you find the adjustment to a new culture easy or difficult?
  • Do you constantly think about the future?  Do you imagine good things or are you obsessed with what may go wrong?
  • Is your faith in Jesus something which could be described as past tense or present tense?
  • Loneliness and isolation can be understood as the chief human problems of our age; what does Jesus as Messiah have to offer us in our isolation from one another?

Success is difficult to measure; one moment’s success can easily slip from our grasp and look like a catastrophic failure, or that’s our fear.  Jesus the Messiah knows all about moments of success and failure and yet calls us to turn our attention away from such slippery concepts as we find meaning, and purpose, and value.

This Sunday at 6 pm we hope you’ll be with us at Trinity Commons and we hear Jesus invite us into this new way of seeing our lives with God and others.  And we’ll enjoy a delicious dinner after the service thanks to our friends from St. Andrew’s.

–Thomas

 

This Sunday – Pentecost 23

This Sunday

They asked Jesus, “Teacher, when will this be, and what will be the sign that this is about to take place?” And he said, “Beware that you are not led astray; for many will come in my name and say, `I am he!’ and, `The time is near!’ Do not go after them.  “When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified; for these things must take place first, but the end will not follow immediately.”
–Luke 21.7-9

  • Have you ever had trouble saying goodbye or letting go of something important to you? What, if anything, helped you?
  • Are you someone who looks forward to going to new places, meeting new people, and having new experiences, or are you more comfortable with the familiar?
  • Where do you hear God inviting you to overcome the fear you have?
  • Where and in what way is God inviting you into building a new future for yourself and others?

Part of the challenge of college life is finding a place where you can fit it, belong, be yourself, and meet people.  At its best that’s what the church is, a place where anyone can find a community of people to support and who support them.  It’s why community matters so much to us, and why we’re continually on the lookout for a place to go.  We want to connect our lives to something more than just ourselves, and grow into the fullness of who we can be…if we’re just given a chance and a little help.  Jesus gives the woman the healing she needs to fully participate in the community she already has and it’s a community which meets her need to connect with God.

If you’re looking to connect your life with the life God invites you into then I hope to see you tonight at 6pm at Trinity Commons for Eucharist and a free supper after the service.  We hope you’ll make the community a better place by being here too so we can all praise God and stand up straight.

We look forward to seeing you!

–Thomas

 

This Sunday – Pentecost 22

This Sunday

Some Sadducees, those who say there is no resurrection, came to Jesus and asked him a question, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies, leaving a wife but no children, the man shall marry the widow and raise up children for his brother. Now there were seven brothers; the first married, and died childless; then the second and the third married her, and so in the same way all seven died childless. Finally the woman also died. In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For the seven had married her.”
–Luke 20.27-33

  • Are you good at asking questions to try and understand what you don’t understand, or are you reluctant to ask the questions you want to?
  • What gives some people authority over others?
  • If you could ask Jesus a question, what would it be?
  • Are there times when faith in God or the doctrines of Christianity don’t make sense?  What do you do with those things which don’t make sense?

We’re getting near the end, not just of the school year but of the church year also. As the leaves fall our attention begins to turn to endings.

Join us at Trinity Commons tonight at 6 pm for our Eucharist and supper, thanks to Joshua Richman, and let’s end strong by being together, asking some questions, sharing some possible answers, and listening to God and one another.  None of us have all the answers, and none of us can do life on our own, nor do we have to.  Come be with us and we’ll begin another week together this Sunday.

–Thomas

 

This Sunday – Pentecost 14

 

This Sunday

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.”
–Luke 15:1-2

Some things never change. When this passage of Luke was written, tax collectors weren’t popular, and they still aren’t. So why is Jesus eating with them? And why does it matter to the Pharisees and scribes so much? I think part of the complaint was that Jesus had been a guest at a Pharisee’s table, and now that he is eating with sinners the Pharisees don’t look as important. Or maybe they are worried that people might see them as sinners too. Or maybe they’re grumbling because they want to be at the table too, but can’t bring themselves to join the “wrong” crowd.

Jesus’ response to their grumbling is a curious one. He starts talking about lost sheep and lost coins. He doesn’t give in to the Pharisees and scribes or send them on their way, instead, he tells them stories to show how God seeks community and celebrates it.

Are there times that you have felt excluded? Or times that you found yourself complaining because someone else had a seat at the table?

Join us this Sunday, September 15, at 6 pm, for Holy Eucharist and to hear God’s call to community and joyful celebration.

–Kelley

This Sunday – Pentecost 13

This Sunday

Now large crowds were traveling with Jesus; and he turned and said to them, “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”
–Luke 14.25-27

  • What motivates you more: hope or fear?
  • What does ‘success’ look like for you?
  • Do you feel most like being a disciple of Jesus?  When do you feel most distant as a disciple?
  • Is it hard for you to remember God in your day to day life?

Jesus calls us to follow him, to do what he does: teach, heal, bless, and share.  Sometimes we do that willingly it comes naturally, and sometimes it’s a bit of a struggle, we’re less willing.  Being a disciple isn’t about just believing all the right things or claiming to have a faith that stands out; it’s simply about what we value and what we can offer.  Being a disciple is a lifetime’s work, it’s not something we do, like climb a mountain, and then we can say ‘that’s it; I’ve made it.’  As we journey on our own road with Jesus, to follow, teach, heal, bless, and share, we’re reminded that we do that best when we can let go of what we think protects us.

Come join us Sunday night for Eucharist at 6pm and our supper after the service; take a chance on a new journey for a new week, risk giving a little bit of yourself as you follow into a way of life which leads you with less and less worry, and more and more fulfillment.

–Thomas

This Sunday – Pentecost 12

downton-abbey-with-cumbria-crystal-6

Jesus said also to the one who had invited him, “When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

Luke 14:12-14

I must confess I am looking forward to the Downton Abbey movie that comes out in September. The TV show is one of my favorites to binge watch on Amazon Prime. If you aren’t familiar with the show, it is set in early 20th Century England when there were still lords and ladies and lots of social rules. Much of the snark and best one-liners happen around the dinner table, which is elaborately arranged with characters seated according to their rank. The “historical advisor” for the show spends hours making sure the table is set properly and that the actors behave according to the very strict social rules of the period.

The strict rules of the world of Downton Abbey came to mind when reading Jesus’ dinner party instructions in this Sunday’s gospel reading. From how folks should be seated to who should be invited in the first place, Jesus seems to be setting some very curious rules about who should be welcomed at the table. Jesus’ idea of a party seems to be less about honoring those with privilege and power, and more about honoring and making space for those that are left out and powerless.

How can you make room for those left out? How can you lift up others around you?

Join us this Sunday at 6 pm as we gather at the Lord’s Table, where all are invited, and join us for supper following the service.
–Kelley

This Sunday – Pentecost 11

“Now Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. And just then there appeared a woman with a spirit that had crippled her for eighteen years. She was bent over and was quite unable to stand up straight. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, “Woman, you are set free from your ailment.” When he laid his hands on her, immediately she stood up straight and began praising God. “

–Luke 13.10-13

  • What holds you back as you get ready to start a new school year?
  • What would being free mean to you?
  • Do you see the Church as a place you can belong?
  • What would Jesus tell you that would help you feel a full part of the community?

Part of the challenge of college life is finding a place where you can fit it, belong, be yourself, and meet people.  At its best that’s what the church is, a place where anyone can find a community of people to support and who support them.  It’s why community matters so much to us, and why we’re continually on the lookout for a place to go.  We want to connect our lives to something more than just ourselves, and grow into the fullness of who we can be…if we’re just given a chance and a little help.  Jesus gives the woman the healing she needs to fully participate in the community she already has and it’s a community which meets her need to connect with God.  If you’re looking to connect your life with the life God invites you into then I hope to see you Sunday at 6pm at Trinity Commons for Eucharist and a free supper after the service.  We’re back for a new school year and we hope you’ll make the community a better place by being here too so we can all praise God and stand up straight.

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