Faith Weekly: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like …’

Jesus offers up a rapid-fire string of parables or analogies in this week’s Gospel reading (Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52). He likens the kingdom of heaven to a mustard seed, yeast, a pearl, found treasure, and a fisherman’s net. Each one is intriguing in its own right.   Which of those parables are most striking to you?

mustard-seed

How would you finish the line “the kingdom of heaven is like ….”?

Do you understand what Jesus is getting at? Especially in the line after Jesus asks that question: “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.”

Vacation Bible School: July 14-18

zacchaeusMeet Zacchaeus, Jonah, Noah and a few other folks at Vacation Bible School July 14-18.

This year’s VBS, from 9:30 a.m. til noon, features stories, music, crafts, games, and, of course, snacks for kids 4 to 11.  The theme is “Peaceful Kingdom” and it is a collaborative effort of Calvary United Methodist, Faith Lutheran, and Grace Presbyterian Churches and will be held at Faith at the corner of Hilliard Road and Woodward Avenue.

Parents can register their children through any of the churches by using this registration form.

 

Faith Weekly: … a sword

Roman swordJust after Father’s Day (and not too far past Mother’s Day) we hear Jesus say this in our Gospel reading for this Sunday (June 22):

“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.  For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household.”

 You won’t find that on a greeting card.

Jesus’ remarks are made in a discourse on discipleship.  He’s trying to let his followers know what they’re getting into.  Biblical scholar R.T. France writes of this passage:  “To agree to follow Jesus is to sign away all rights to a quiet life of self-determination.”

Has your faith ever complicated your life?  Caused tension between you and your family or others?  What does it mean to take up your cross and follow Jesus?

                                                             – Pastor Mark Rollenhagen

Faith Weekly: The Trinity is like …

Bad analogiesThis Sunday (June 15) we focus on the Holy Trinity.  It’s a difficult concept to grasp and perhaps impossible to hold intellectually.  And yet it is at the core of the Christian faith: the three-in-one, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

This little piece of satire pokes fun at our struggle to comprehend and explain the Holy Trinity.  Enjoy it and take a few minutes to read the second reading and the Gospel for Sunday.  They’ll sound familiar: the first includes the words with which we usually begin our worship; the second includes another phrase that I have the joy of reciting each time I baptize someone and that we sometimes use as we begin confession.

This week we ponder, struggle and marvel at the mystery of God and what we mean when we talk about the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

God’s peace,

Pastor Mark Rollenhagen

Summer reading

Interested in a good read that encourageBreath Spaces reflection on connections between life and scripture?  Consider Breathing Space: A Spiritual Journey in the South Bronx, a memoir by Heidi Neumark, an ELCA pastor in New York.

Join a summer conversation about Breathing Space either through Faith’s monthly women’s book group or a larger conversation that will unfold with two gatherings over a meal this summer.

Contact Pastor Rollenhagen for more information.

 

Faith Weekly: Eyes opened

This week’s Gospel reading is fascinating.  Two disciples are walking along the road talking about the terrible events of recent days — their hopes dashed by the arrest and death of Jesus, the one they had pegged as their savior from all that was wrong in the world.eye

As they walk, Jesus sidles up but they don’t recognize who he is.  In fact, he doesn’t seem to have a clue as the events that have transpired.  Yet, the seemingly clueless stranger lays out all they need to know, putting Jesus in the context of their history and faith.  Yet, all of the theological discourse doesn’t open their eyes to recognizing Jesus for who he is.

It’s only in the breaking of the bread, that they come to see.  It is only in the breaking of the bread that they truly encounter Jesus.

Let that thought roll around as we approach Sunday, with three opportunities to encounter Christ in the sacrament of Holy Communion and three opportunities to see things in a new way.

                                                                                                   – Pastor Mark Rollenhagen

It’s cool for cats, too

trevorWhile most of the pets at Faith’s pet-friendly worship service are dogs, a few brave cats turn out, too.  All pets (and people) are welcome at the service at 2 p.m. on the first Sunday of each month, including this Sunday (May 4).

Stop in for familiar hymns, scripture, prayer and blessings for pets and their people.

 

Experience “The Three Days”

IMG_20140416_173849_718

The Triduum — the Three Days that lead to Easter morning — opens with worship at 7:30 p.m. on Maundy Thursday.

We gather around a table in the chapel and remember the Last Supper and Jesus’ commandment to love one another before stripping the altar in the sanctuary in preparation for Good Friday.

That worshp service continues at 7:30 p.m. on Good Friday as we reflect on seven words from the cross and extinguish candles until we leave in darkness.  (No communion on Friday.)

On Sunday morning at 10:30 a.m., the Three Days conclude  with the altar surrounded in spring flowers in celebration of the risen Christ.

 

Be like Jack: Drop in on Sunday

 

Jack at PAWS - cropped

Jack and Kathy, the person Jack brought with him to church.

Be like Jack Benco and come by our monthly pet-friendly service this Sunday (April 6) at 2 p.m. You don’t have to be a dog or a cat — or even have a dog or a cat — to enjoy this worship opportunity, which includes Holy Communion, scripture and familiar hymns..

This Sunday we’ll particularly remember Max, our Music Director Kent Cicerchi’s longtime friend and companion who passed away a few weeks ago.  You don’t have to be a regular to show up Sunday as we give thanks for Max and all pets who bless our lives.

Please enter through the Hilliard Road door near the driveway.

 

Wow! What a weekend!!

What a cool weekend that was as we gathered (March 14-16) with our brothers and sisters in Christ in our neighborhood — the folks from Calvary United Methodist and Grace Presbyterian Churches!

My favorite images: the complete circle of people formed along the outside edges of Calvary’s sanctuary Friday evening, candles in hand, joined together in prayers; the buzz and excited conversations (and laughter and joy) in the groups at Faith on Saturday as we considered our future together in Christ; that full, joint choir packing the chancel at Grace on Sunday morning, a nearly even mix of voices from all three congregations.

Good things are sure to unfold as the new southwest Lakewood ecumenical steering group (with three representatives from each congregation) begins meeting shortly after Easter.  Stayed tuned.