During Lent, Faith offers one Sunday morning worship serving worship that begins at 9:30 a.m.
It also brings to mind the last speech of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., made the day before he was killed and concluding with the phrase: “I’ve been to the mountain top.”
Mountain tops are fascinating. I’ll never forget the snow banks in July on Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic Mountains near Seattle several years ago on a family vacation. Or the beautiful and expansive views. Mountain tops can offer perspective; they can reveal the bigger picture. And that’s an important counter to our tendency to focus only on what’s near and the events unfolding before us.
In scripture, mountain tops are a place of revelation. The revelation that occurs in the Gospel story for this Sunday (Feb. 15) is important to hold onto as Jesus and his followers come down the mountain and head toward Jerusalem.
Given the weather, you’re not likely to see this sign (or green grass) this weekend, but Faith’s monthly Pets Are Welcome (but not required) Service begins at 2 p.m. Sunday (Feb. 1) — inside! Familiar hymns, scripture and prayer downstairs in the pet-friendly chapel area of Fellowship Hall.
Happy New Year! As we enter 2015, here are a few things to look forward to at Faith:
Faith Study Group: The Advent study group that met in homes wanted to continue in the new year, meeting every other month for study, discussion and fellowship. In February, we’ll meet on Thursday evenings, taking a fresh look at Luther’s Small Catechism. In April, we’ll look at the book of Revelation. If you’re interested in participating, let me know.
Mission Trip: We’ll soon be making plans to participate in a mission trip to First English Lutheran Church in Columbus this spring. We’ll join in the with the group from Grand Rapids, Mich., which helped out Faith two years ago. The trip is April 4-11, and people are welcome to come down for the week or just a day or two to help out with building projects and community service. You can learn more about First English at the beginning of this ELCA video.
LOMO Camp: It’s official. Faith will host a week-long, Christian day camp for neighborhood kids in grades K-6, beginning July 19. Watch for news on how you can help. We will definitely be looking for people who can host a college-age LOMO counselor or two or three for the week.
– Christmas Eve at 4 p.m. — An ecumenical, neighborhood service featuring carols and candlelight, offered by Calvary, Faith and Grace at Faith. A full schedule of Christmas Eve services among the three congregations can be found here.
– Christmas Eve at 7 p.m. — Candlelight and communion at Faith.
– Christmas Day at 10 a.m. — Come as you are for a simple service of Scripture, prayer and carols at Faith.
The worship service recognizes that the seasons of Advent and Christmas can be difficult. Many people feel alone after the death of a loved one, a divorce, the inability to have a child, or the loss of a job or their health or another major change in their lives. The outward happiness of the season makes it all the more difficult for those who are struggling.
At the winter solstice – the longest night of the year – we gather reverently and hopefully before God to share the Word that shines light into the darkness of despair, grief, and loneliness. Psalms and prayers for peace, solace and hope are raised, a healing rite is offered, and candles are lit near the baptismal font..
Please let others know about this service. And come on by — for yourself or to support others.
Cookies and refreshments will be offered in the chapel after the service.
This Sunday (Dec. 7) we will collect non-perishable foods to help stock Grace Presbyterian Church’s emergency food pantry. Think tuna fish, peanut butter and so forth — things with a long shelf-life. Please consider picking up a few things while shopping this week and bring them to church on Sunday or any time. On Sunday, we will bless them before sending them over to Grace.
Next Sunday (Dec. 14) we will collect personal care items and paper products to stock Calvary United Methodist Church’s Dry Goods Pantry.
Meeting basic needs is part of the ongoing ecumenical ministry of the West End Christian Association (WECA) — Calvary, Faith and Grace.
Like the evenings of late autumn, our scripture readings grow darker by the week.
We hear this from Zephaniah: “That day will be a day of wrath, a day of distress and anguish, a day of ruin and devastation, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness ….”
And we get that unsettling walk-off in the reading from Matthew: “As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Thankfully, we also hear from the Apostle Paul. Writing to the church in Thessalonica, he says: “But you, beloved, are not in darkness … for you are all children of light and children of the day; we are not of the nightor of darkness.”
If you’ve ever been in a cave or deep down in mine or maybe deep in the woods in northern Michigan or Canada (that’s what comes to mind for me), you know that darkness can be thick, almost tactile. It can feel oppressive as though it’s closing in.
If we fear the darkness and the uncertainty it holds, we can rely on remembering what we’re made of — and who made us – and that the light that is coming always penetrates and disperses the darkness.
Come on by Faith’s monthly pet-friendly service this Sunday (Nov. 2) at 2 p.m. in the pet-friendly chapel in Fellowship Hall for easy-to-sing hymns, scripture, prayer and Holy Communion — and blessings for pets and their people.
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