Using many scripture texts referring to weeping and shedding of tears, Isaac speaks of the sadness and also to the lack of sadness in the mass killing of 50 people at a gay night club in Orlando, Florida.
Joy provided a powerful message based on the story of Bathsheba from 2 Samuel 11:26-12:10, 13-15, giving voice to the many victims of sexual violence. She used Psalm 5:1-8 as a lament, similar to what Bathsheba may have prayed.
What is our response to the prevalence of sexual assault and sexual exploitation in our society? There are no easy answers, but we continue longing, praying and working for justice for all of the Bathshebas. We are called to be Nathans: to stand up to the violence in this world that goes on around us.
Sam shows us that we often wonder who will remember who we are. He gives us the answer.
Deb provides background about her experiences and lessons she tries to teach when leading Study Abroad trips as part of her role as a professor at Campbell University. She began the message by having us meditate on an adaptation of Psalm 139:1-18. Following her comments Deb interviews Morgan, one of her students, about her expectations and growing edges as a result of a recent Alternative Spring Break they both went on to Guatemala.
On this Trinity Sunday in the church calendar, our pastoral candidate Melissa Florer-Bixler spoke about the often erroneous or over-simplified explanations of the Trinity. She used the story from Genesis 18:1-15 of The Three visiting Abraham and Sarah as a way for us to delve into the mystery of the Trinity. Melissa referred to Russian artist Andrei Rublev’s Trinity, which was projected during the message.
God shows up in human lives, finding us and surprising us, like a guest or a friend when we least expect it. We know God not by observing from the outside, but from participating from the inside of God’s life, being folded into God’s life. God is mysterious and ever opening us up to new possibilities, to new surprises.
Our guest speaker this Sunday was John Hilpert. Hans introduced his long-time friend at the outset. John and his wife Margaret are coordinators of the Cedar Cross Retreat Center in Franklin County.
Based on the scripture text from Luke 24:13-33, John led us through a time of exploring more deeply what it means to be in community, just as those on the road to Emmaus experienced a sense of community with the “stranger” who walked with them. The time included an opportunity and encouragement for each of us to “step up” and commit to a deeper form of community, in whatever form that takes for each of us individually.
After we heard the Readers’ Theater present John 20:1-18, Hans spoke to us of how the early Christians were changed by having witnessed the evidence of Jesus’ Resurrection. Also he told the story of how a communist official was not able to convince a group of Russian Orthodox Christians that the Resurrection of Jesus was not true.
Joy Wahnefried did a masterful job portraying Mary and what Mary must have been going through as she witnessed her son growing up and leading up to that time before Jesus’ death on the cross. Before her animated portrayal, Joy read from Luke 1:26-38, and then at the conclusion read from Luke 19:28-40.
Rachel speaks about what we understand as New is actually what God re-news or brings back to what is supposed to have been from the beginning.
Repentance is fruit, the giving of life–like the seeds in fruit make new trees–of one person to another in order that they might flourish. Repentance is communal, it is a way that we relate to one another and follow God as one body.