Monthly Archives: September 2010

after-WEAVE

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Last night’s WEAVE was filled with Sarah’s fantastic marinara sauces (one with meat and one with mushrooms) made from tomatoes picked out of her own garden that day. mmmm, she made dinner awesome.

It was also filled with lively discussion of many kinds–from what kids should put in their mouths (Henry was eating a blue balloon) to “what’s your favorite sound” and “what would you put on your tombstone?” (questions from those Meet The Ricklepickles interviews!).  It seems that Silence was many people’s favorite sound, at least in the midst of WEAVE chaos! And Teri shared her favorite joke-tombstone, “I told you I was sick.”

John’s class finished up their discussion of the 7 guidelines Reformed (like Presbyterians) Christians use when reading Scripture. There was animated (and sometimes heated!) conversation about how we interpret life in light of scripture, particularly when thinking of Old Testament passages that seem to condone war and violence and portray a vengeful and violent God, and also how we think about Scripture and Christian ethics in the “minefield” (John’s word) of life.

Next week we’ll be having a Colombian dinner and Ann will be telling us about her most recent trip to Colombia–six weeks this summer as an accompanier helping people who have been living with threats against them because of their work for human rights and justice.  Join us anytime after 5.45 (dinner buffet starts) for an interesting and tasty South American adventure!

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church family–taking it to the streets

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This week the read-with-the-pastors book group discussed Missional Renaissance, which talks about a “third way” of seeing the church (the first way being “a place where certain things/holy things happen” and the second being “a vendor of religious goods and services”). This third way is essentially as a missionary society–that the church is the people, wherever we are. So we’re the church at home, at our day jobs, at the playground, at the grocery store, at school, on the freeway, in the voting booth, at the doctor’s office, at the coffee shop or restaurant, etc, and we are a people partnering with God to love the world into wholeness.
One of the things McNeal says in this book is this:

“The missional church is made up of missionaries who are playing the big game every day. They live their lives with the idea that they are on a mission trip. On mission trips, people focus on the work of God around them, alert to the Spirit’s prompting, usually serving people in very tangible ways, often in ways that involve some sacrifice or discomfort. Life on mission is more intentional and more integrated. While the concerns of life (family, work, leisure) are pursued, they are part of a larger story being played out for the missionary. This story does not require a round-the-world excursion to discover or to pursue. Mission is not something “out there”; it is the defining quality of how missionary life is lived.”

Last weekend we took a first step (haha!) toward living this idea…with the CROP walk! This year we had 20 walkers from RCLPC who literally took the church out to the street.  We also raised $1981!  The Crystal Lake CROP walk raised around $11,000 total and had right around 150 walkers.  This was a great way for us to help people who are hungry, living in poverty or even in homeless shelters.  It was a great way to put our faith into action for 3.77 miles.  And it was an awesome opportunity to join feet with people from several different Christian traditions to show the love of God for the world…out in the world!

Thanks, CROP walkers and donors! Now let’s take what we’ve learned and be part of God’s mission with every step we take!

With the Word online Bible Study

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Isaiah 65.17-25

For I am about to create new heavens
and a new earth;
the former things shall not be remembered
or come to mind.

But be glad and rejoice for ever
in what I am creating;
for I am about to create Jerusalem as a joy,
and its people as a delight.
I will rejoice in Jerusalem,
and delight in my people;
no more shall the sound of weeping be heard in it,
or the cry of distress.

No more shall there be in it
an infant that lives but a few days,
or an old person who does not live out a lifetime;
for one who dies at a hundred years will be considered a youth,
and one who falls short of a hundred will be considered accursed.

They shall build houses and inhabit them;
they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
They shall not build and another inhabit;
they shall not plant and another eat;
for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be,
and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands.

They shall not labour in vain,
or bear children for calamity;
for they shall be offspring blessed by the Lord—
and their descendants as well.
Before they call I will answer,
while they are yet speaking I will hear.

The wolf and the lamb shall feed together,
the lion shall eat straw like the ox;
but the serpent—its food shall be dust!
They shall not hurt or destroy
on all my holy mountain,
says the Lord.

~~~~~~~~~~~

What pops out at you in this vision/prophecy/poetry/prayer? Is there anything that makes you go “hmm….” or “huh?” or “hey!!!!” Are you reminded of any other stories–whether in the Bible, in literature/movies/music/TV, or in your own life? As you read, do you hear any music in your head?

This is a great vision of hope, a poem about what God’s kingdom is like, a vision of God’s future. What do you notice most?  Is anything missing from what you would expect in a vision of God’s future or of the kingdom of heaven?  If you were to imagine the kingdom of God, is this the kind of picture you would paint?  If not–what would be in your picture?

How do you see the Kingdom of God coming (or being thwarted) in our time?  How do you see the church helping or hindering the coming of the kingdom?  How about you personally–how are you a part of the coming of the kingdom, and how are you hindering it?

What do you hear as the good news in this text? What do you hear as a challenge? What might this passage have to say to our community today?

Spirit Space–a future with hope

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Jeremiah 32.1-3a, 6-15

The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord in the tenth year of King Zedekiah of Judah, which was the eighteenth year of Nebuchadrezzar. At that time the army of the king of Babylon was besieging Jerusalem, and the prophet Jeremiah was imprisoned in the court of the guard that was in the palace of the king of Judah, where King Zedekiah of Judah had imprisoned him.
Jeremiah said, The word of the Lord came to me: Hanamel son of your uncle Shallum is going to come to you and say, ‘Buy my field that is at Anathoth, for the right of redemption by purchase is yours.’ Then my cousin Hanamel came to me in the court of the guard, in accordance with the word of the Lord, and said to me, ‘Buy my field that is at Anathoth in the land of Benjamin, for the right of possession and redemption is yours; buy it for yourself.’ Then I knew that this was the word of the Lord.
And I bought the field at Anathoth from my cousin Hanamel, and weighed out the money to him, seventeen shekels of silver. I signed the deed, sealed it, got witnesses, and weighed the money on scales. Then I took the sealed deed of purchase, containing the terms and conditions, and the open copy; and I gave the deed of purchase to Baruch son of Neriah son of Mahseiah, in the presence of my cousin Hanamel, in the presence of the witnesses who signed the deed of purchase, and in the presence of all the Judeans who were sitting in the court of the guard. In their presence I charged Baruch, saying, Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Take these deeds, both this sealed deed of purchase and this open deed, and put them in an earthenware jar, in order that they may last for a long time. For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Houses and fields and vineyards shall again be bought in this land.

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Live into hope!
Hope of captives freed, of sight restored, of the end of greed.
The oppressed shall be the first to see the year of God’s great jubilee.
Live into hope!
The blind shall see with insight and clarity, removing shades of pride and fear…
a vision of God, brought near.
Live into hope!
Hope of liberty, the right to speak, the right to be, the right to nutritious food,
the right to hear God’s word and be spiritually fed.
Live into hope!
Hope of captives freed from chains of fear, want, and greed.
We have been released–to faith, and hope, and joy, and peace.
May it be so.
Amen.