Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Maundy Thursday & Good Friday 2018

Holy Week
Celebrating Easter
Maundy Thursday, March 29
7:00 pm: Youth-Led Worship with Holy Communion

Good Friday, March 30
7:00 pm: Worship: Who is This Upon the Cross?

Saturday, March 31
9:00 am: Egg Hunt, Abiding Love Activity Center
Toddlers through 5th grade are invited to celebrate
the season with games, activities and an egg hunt. 

Easter Sunday, April 1
8:30 and 11:00 am: Worship with Holy Communion
Gather in the narthex at 8:20 and 10:50 am for Flowering the Cross.

9:45 am: Easter Brunch
Breakfast casseroles will be provided. 
Please bring fruit or pastries to share. Bring your items 
to the Activity Center kitchen by 9:00 am, Sunday, April 1

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Triumphal Entry 3-25-2018

Worship on Sunday, March 25

"Triumphal Entry"     

The arrival of Jesus and his followers for the Passover celebration evokes a tumultuous response from the people of Jerusalem. The very nature of his entry into the city calls to mind heroic images from their past ... from the promise of the prophets and from their historic struggle against the powers of empire. What brings hope to the people, inevitably challenges and threatens imperial authority.  But it is for this that Jesus has come:  to proclaim God's truth and God's sovereignty at the center of power.  He will fulfill this divine calling, regardless of consequence.  Today we enter into Jerusalem and into the celebrations of Holy Week as Jesus leads us to the cross and beyond. 

Sunday, March 18, 2018

I am the light of the world Mar 18, 2018

Worship on Sunday, March 18

We’ve gone in search of those places where we may grow closer to God and God grows closer to us.  As we continue this Lenten journey, we must not forget “US!”  People and relationships can be the center of some of our most profound presence with the divine.
Image result for rise and shine and give god the glory

╬ “I am the light of the world.”  Jesus says it, and we believe him.  Of course!  The One God sends to reveal the Way, the truth and life for all who will believe is, indeed, the light of God shining in the world.  But then Jesus says something far more challenging.  “You are the light of the world.”  He says that the light of God is within each of us, and God wants that light to shine for the world to see.  We begin to understand ourselves – our calling – to be mediators, channels, vessels of God’s grace … even “thin places” though which God draws close. 

Below are Readings and the Prayer of the Day.

You are light, to me, to our congregation and to the world God loves!

Love and blessings,

- Pr. Brad Highum

Mobile:  512-914-6238

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

God of life, we offer ourselves to you as agents of your grace and goodness in the world.  By the power of your Spirit, be at work in us as you see fit, to share your love in all that we say and do. Amen

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

First Reading:  Ezekiel 36:22-29

22 Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations to which you came. 23 I will sanctify my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and which you have profaned among them; and the nations shall know that I am the Lord, says the Lord God, when through you I display my holiness before their eyes. 24 I will take you from the nations, and gather you from all the countries, and bring you into your own land. 25 I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleanness, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 26 A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will remove from your body the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put my spirit within you, and make you follow my statutes and be careful to observe my ordinances. 28 Then you shall live in the land that I gave to your ancestors; and you shall be my people, and I will be your God.

Psalm 51:1-2,6-12

1 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
6 You desire truth in the inward being; therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.
7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have crushed rejoice.
9 Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit.

Second Reading:  Ephesians 2:13-22

13 Now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us. 15 He has abolished the law with its commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace, 16 and might reconcile both groups to God in one body through the cross, thus putting to death that hostility through it. 17 So he came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; 18 for through him both of us have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, 20 built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. 21 In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; 22 in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God.

Gospel:  John 15:9-17

9 As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. 11 I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete. 12 "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. 16 You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. 17 I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Where two or three gather

Worship on Sunday, March 11

As we explore those spaces and circumstances where we grow closer to God and God grows closer to us, we come to understand the people of God gathered in worship as a “thin place!”

╬ Where two or three gather … 
Jesus promises presence.  “Where two or three gather in my name, I am there among them.”  (Matthew 18:20)  We gather in worship seeking presence with God in the Word and sacraments and prayers of our liturgy.  We celebrate God’s grace in our baptism and the fellowship of God’s table, in song and prayer in offering and reflecting on Scripture.  Worship is a “thin place” where God forms us as people of faith and sends us in mission for the sake of the world.  We gather here to know ourselves “en theos,” in God.

Below are Readings and the Prayer of the Day.

Our weekly and special gatherings for worship are a blessing to me and our whole community, thanks in large part to all of you!

Love and blessings,
- Pr. Brad Highum

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

God of life, we seek you at the center of our gathering here.  Speak to us in your Word.  Refresh us in remembrance of your grace in baptism.  Restore us and renew us in the blessing of your table.  Draw close to us in worship that we may find ourselves in you.  Amen

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

First Reading:  Isaiah 56:1-8
6 Thus says the Lord: Maintain justice, and do what is right, for soon my salvation will come, and my deliverance be revealed. 2 Happy is the mortal who does this, the one who holds it fast, who keeps the sabbath, not profaning it, and refrains from doing any evil. 3 Do not let the foreigner joined to the Lord say, "The Lord will surely separate me from his people"; and do not let the eunuch say, "I am just a dry tree." 4 For thus says the Lord: To the eunuchs who keep my sabbaths, who choose the things that please me and hold fast my covenant, 5 I will give, in my house and within my walls, a monument and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off.  6 And the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord, to minister to him, to love the name of the Lord, and to be his servants, all who keep the sabbath, and do not profane it, and hold fast my covenant — 7 these I will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.8 Thus says the Lord God, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, I will gather others to them besides those already gathered.

Psalm 27:1-5
1 The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

2 When evildoers assail me to devour my flesh — my adversaries and foes — they shall stumble and fall.

3 Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war rise up against me, yet I will be confident.

4 One thing I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple.

5 For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will set me high on a rock.

Second Reading:  Revelation 19:6-10
6 Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty thunder peals, crying out, "Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns.  7 Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready; 8 to her it has been granted to be clothed with fine linen, bright and pure" —  for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.  9 And the angel said to me, "Write this:  Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb." And he said to me, "These are true words of God." 10 Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, "You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your comrades who hold the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy."

Gospel:  John 14:18-24
18 "I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. 19 In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21 They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them." 22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, "Lord, how is it that you will reveal yourself to us, and not to the world?" 23 Jesus answered him, "Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me.”

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Sacred Spaces 3-4-2018

Worship on Sunday, March 4

Our exploration of “thin places” – where we grow closer to God and God grows closer to us – continues with SACRED SPACES … Symbols, Places, Devotions.

╬ Sacred Spaces
Perhaps it is the Sanctuary, here at Abiding Love; perhaps at the church where you grew up.  Places where a sense of the “numinous” – the presence of the divine – comes easily.  Places where re-visiting re-connects you with pivotal times in your life.  Places which have become sacred in your experience.  Sacred space can be a place where you go, or it may be created by what you do when you are there.  Sacred spaces are thin places, maybe for a lot of people, or maybe for you alone.  But we are blessed by them, because God meets us there!

Below are Readings and the Prayer of the Day. 
Where is sacred space for you in your life?  Let’s explore together!

Love and blessings,
- Pr. Brad Highum

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

God of grace, lead us to sacred spaces.  Help us to find you there, and to find ourselves more truly there. We long for communion, heart-to-heart presence with you.  Amen.

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

First Reading:  Exodus 3:1-6

3 Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian; he led his flock beyond the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2 There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of a bush; he looked, and the bush was blazing, yet it was not consumed. 3 Then Moses said, "I must turn aside and look at this great sight, and see why the bush is not burned up." 4 When the Lord saw that he had turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, "Moses, Moses!" And he said, "Here I am." 5 Then he said, "Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground." 6 He said further, "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.

Psalm 46:4-11

4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High.
5 God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved; God will help it when the morning dawns.
6 The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts.
7 The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.
8 Come, behold the works of the Lord; see what desolations he has brought on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire.
10 "Be still, and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth."
11 The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.

Second Reading:  1 Corinthians 13:9-13

For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; 10 but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known.

Gospel:  John 9:1-12

As he walked along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" 3 Jesus answered, "Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God's works might be revealed in him. 4 We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world." 6 When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva and spread the mud on the man's eyes, 7 saying to him, "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam" (which means Sent). Then he went and washed and came back able to see. 8 The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar began to ask, "Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?" 9 Some were saying, "It is he." Others were saying, "No, but it is someone like him." He kept saying, "I am the man." 10 But they kept asking him, "Then how were your eyes opened?" 11 He answered, "The man called Jesus made mud, spread it on my eyes, and said to me, 'Go to Siloam and wash.' Then I went and washed and received my sight." 12 They said to him, "Where is he?" He said, "I do not know."