Sunday, February 18, 2018

Thin Places 02-18-2018

Worship on Sunday, February 18

In Lent we seek the “thin places” where we grow closer to God and God grows closer to us.

╬ Thin Places

Heaven and earth seem to touch.  We have that profound sense that we are a part of something vast and beyond us, yet intimately close.  In certain spaces and times and circumstances, the veil of separateness becomes gossamer thin.  The realm of the mundane and the realm of the divine come ultimately close.  We are drawn vitally close to God, and God to us.  In thin places, all becomes sacred, all becomes an expression of the divine.  Creation itself is realized as “a transparency through which the light of God shines.”   


Below are Readings and the Prayer of the Day.

We are entering into a Lenten journey together, where we will focus on lives lived in closer connection and presence, with God, with one another and with the world God loves!  It’s a blessing to make this journey with you!

- Pr. Brad Highum
bhighum@abidinglove.org


PRAYER OF THE DAY -----------------


God of grace, we hold to your promise that when we seek you with all our hearts, it is you we will find.  Draw near to us as we reach to you.  Amen.

READINGS --------------------------

First Reading:  Ezekiel 3:22-24

22 The hand of the Lord was upon me there, and he said to me, "Get up and go out to the plain, and there I will speak to you." 23 So I got up and went out to the plain. And the glory of the Lord was standing there, like the glory I had seen by the Kebar River, and I fell facedown.  24 Then the Spirit came into me and raised me to my feet and the Lord spoke to me.

Psalm 27:7-11,13-14

7 Hear, O Lord, when I cry to you, be gracious to me and answer me!
8 "Come," my heart says, "seek his face!" Your face, Lord, do I seek.
9 Do not hide your face from me. Do not turn your servant away in anger, you who have been my help.
10 If my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will take me up.
11 Teach me your way, O Lord, and lead me on a level path.
13 I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
14 Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!

Second Reading:  Acts 17:24-28

24 The God who made the world and everything in it, he who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by human hands, 25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mortals, life and breath and all things. 26 From one ancestor God made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, and allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live, 27 and that they would seek God and perhaps feel their way toward him, and find him — though indeed he is not far from each one of us. 28 For 'In him we live and move and have our being'; as even some of your own poets have said, 'For we too are his offspring.'

Gospel:  Matthew 14:22-27

22 Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. 23 And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24 but by this time the boat, battered by the waves, was far from the land, for the wind was against them. 25 And early in the morning he came walking toward them on the sea. 26 But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, "It is a ghost!" And they cried out in fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, "Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid."


Sunday, February 11, 2018

Transfiguration 2-11-2018

Worship on February 11
Our Epiphany focus on The Way culminates in the celebration of Transfiguration …

╬ The Mountaintop

The Transfiguration is a pivotal experience in the lives of Jesus’ disciples and all who travel on the Way.  It profoundly captures the deeper meanings of our whole celebration of Epiphany – the revealing, the “making-known” of God.  The Gospels describe a mystical, mountaintop experience in which certain of Jesus’ followers see him transfigured:  his appearance changes, he looks different to them; they see him in a new light.  It is an invitation to awaken to the true reality of Jesus as the One promised by the prophets – Emmanuel in Hebrew, “God with us,” in the flesh.  And it is an invitation for them – and for us – to be transformed ourselves by that revealed identity.


Below are Readings and the Prayer of the Day.

We are blessed by the mountaintop experience as we prepare to descend to the vale of Lent that awaits us.  Peace to you all as we make our way together!

- Pr. Brad Highum
bhighum@abidinglove.org

PRAYER OF THE DAY ---------------------------
Almighty God, the resplendent light of your truth shines from the mountaintop into our hearts. Awaken us in the transfiguration of your Son to the transformation you seek to work in all of us.  Illuminate the world with your image, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.  Amen.

READINGS ------------------------------------
First Reading:  2 Kings 2:1-13

2 Now when the Lord was about to take Elijah up to heaven by a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal. 2 Elijah said to Elisha, "Stay here; for the Lord has sent me as far as Bethel." But Elisha said, "As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you." So they went down to Bethel. 3 The company of prophets who were in Bethel came out to Elisha, and said to him, "Do you know that today the Lord will take your master away from you?" And he said, "Yes, I know; keep silent." 4 Elijah said to him, "Elisha, stay here; for the Lord has sent me to Jericho." But he said, "As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you." So they came to Jericho. 5 The company of prophets who were at Jericho drew near to Elisha, and said to him, "Do you know that today the Lord will take your master away from you?" And he answered, "Yes, I know; be silent."  6 Then Elijah said to him, "Stay here; for the Lord has sent me to the Jordan." But he said, "As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you." So the two of them went on.  7 Fifty men of the company of prophets also went, and stood at some distance from them, as they both were standing by the Jordan. 8 Then Elijah took his mantle and rolled it up, and struck the water; the water was parted to the one side and to the other, until the two of them crossed on dry ground.  9 When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, "Tell me what I may do for you, before I am taken from you." Elisha said, "Please let me inherit a double share of your spirit." 10 He responded, "You have asked a hard thing; yet, if you see me as I am being taken from you, it will be granted you; if not, it will not." 11 As they continued walking and talking, a chariot of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them, and Elijah ascended in a whirlwind into heaven. 12 Elisha kept watching and crying out, "Father, father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!" But when he could no longer see him, he grasped his own clothes and tore them in two pieces.

Psalm 50:1-6

1 The mighty one, God the Lord, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting.
2 Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God shines forth.
3 Our God comes and does not keep silence, before him is a devouring fire, and a mighty tempest all around him.
4 He calls to the heavens above and to the earth, that he may judge his people.
5 "Gather to me my faithful ones, who made a covenant with me by sacrifice!"
6 The heavens declare his righteousness, for God himself is judge.

Second Reading:  2 Corinthians 4:3-6

3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For we do not proclaim ourselves; we proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus' sake. 6 For it is the God who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

Gospel:  Mark 9:2-10

2 Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, 3 and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them. 4 And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus. 5 Then Peter said to Jesus, "Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah." 6 He did not know what to say, for they were terrified. 7 Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, "This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!" 8 Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them anymore, but only Jesus.  9 As they were coming down the mountain, he ordered them to tell no one about what they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

The Way of the Kingdom Feb 4 2018

Worship on February 4

We continue in our exploration of The Way, 
with a focus on …

╬ The Way of the Kingdom

“The kingdom of God is at hand.”  With this revelation, Jesus begins his evangelism – his proclamation of the Good News – in all four of the Biblical Gospels.  The kingdom of God, or the kingdom of heaven, is central to all of his teaching and ministry.  The rule and reign of God in the world is what he comes to announce and to bring about through a Way of faith and action he calls forth from all who will believe.  He tells us the kingdom of God is at hand, among us, within us!  And his loving invitation is simply to repent, to “turn” and embrace it.


Below are Readings and the Prayer of the Day.

We are called to boldly live into the “already, but not yet” of God’s kingdom.  What a blessing to make our way together!

- Pr. Brad Highum
bhighum@abidinglove.org

PRAYER OF THE DAY ---------


Rule in our lives, Lord.  Rule in our world, so that your Way of justice and compassion, unity and peace might prevail among all people and throughout creation.  Amen.

READINGS ------------------

First Reading:  Exodus 19:1-6

19 On the third new moon after the Israelites had gone out of the land of Egypt, on that very day, they came into the wilderness of Sinai. 2 They had journeyed from Rephidim, entered the wilderness of Sinai, and camped in the wilderness; Israel camped there in front of the mountain. 3 Then Moses went up to God; the Lord called to him from the mountain, saying, "Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the Israelites: 4 You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself. 5 Now therefore, if you obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession out of all the peoples. Indeed, the whole earth is mine, 6 but you shall be for me a priestly kingdom and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the Israelites."

Psalm 145:10-18

10 All your works shall give thanks to you, O Lord, and all your faithful shall bless you.
11 They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom, and tell of your power,
12 to make known to all people your mighty deeds, and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures throughout all generations.  The Lord is faithful in all his words, and gracious in all his deeds.
14 The Lord upholds all who are falling, and raises up all who are bowed down.
15 The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season.
16 You open your hand, satisfying the desire of every living thing.
17 The Lord is just in all his ways, and kind in all his doings.
18 The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.

Second Reading:  Ephesians 4:17-24

17 Now this I affirm and insist on in the Lord: you must no longer live as the Gentiles live, in the futility of their minds. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of their ignorance and hardness of heart. 19 They have lost all sensitivity and have abandoned themselves to licentiousness, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. 20 That is not the way you learned Christ! 21 For surely you have heard about him and were taught in him, as truth is in Jesus. 22 You were taught to put away your former way of life, your old self, corrupt and deluded by its lusts, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to clothe yourselves with the new self, created according to the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

Gospel:  John 3:1-10

3 Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. 2 He came to Jesus by night and said to him, "Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God." 3 Jesus answered him, "Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above." 4 Nicodemus said to him, "How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother's womb and be born?" 5 Jesus answered, "Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. 6 What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not be astonished that I said to you, 'You must be born from above.' 8 The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit." 9 Nicodemus said to him, "How can these things be?" 10 Jesus answered him, "Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things?