March 6 Ash Wednesday service 7:00 p.m. Choir Rehearsals 6:00 p.m. March 10 Chimes Articles Due March 13 Prayer Circle 10:00 a.m. Choir Rehearsals 6:00/7:15 p.m. March 19 MLG Meeting 6:00 p.m. March 20 Choir Rehearsals 6:00/7:15 p.m March 27 Prayer Circle 10:00 a.m.
Lenten Journey by Cheryl Burke Lent often draws me inward … not to escape the world, but to reevaluate my participation in the world and to assess what God has to do with me.
I continue to be fascinated by Teresa of Avila’s description of the spiritual journey. She describes seven mansions that one may travel through toward union with God. Her book, Interior Castle, describes the journey.
I envision the journey as a spiral staircase or coiling ramp inward, circling deeper and deeper into the soul relationship with God. Joining the two images looks something like this:
The first turn of the spiral leads us to an awareness of all the ways that we have messed up. We see our temptations, bad choices, failures, and sins. The grace is that a sense of God or a higher power may be grasped, and this awareness is a positive step in our spiritual life.
The second turn is our desire for growth. We want to do better, to get it right. We listen to sermons, read scripture, attend Bible study, pray, and more for our soul to be fed.
The third turn helps us live a more admirable life and to resist some of the temptations around us. We also come to understand that we can’t trust our own strength alone. We are powerless to do what we want to do.
The fourth turn experiences love from its source. This is a place of deep prayer and dependence on God’s love and direction. Here, we understand that God loves us no matter where we are on life’s journey. Our goodness doesn’t create God’s love. God’s love is from the beginning and we just didn’t know it, yet.
The fifth turn may be described as the prayer of union. Deep contemplation and preparation for the presence of God are experienced. God’s love draws us into deeper relationship with God. From that source, we can be a blessing in the world.
The sixth turn leads to increasing favors from long periods of time in the presence of God. And, others are drawn to your connection with God, which leads to “misrepresentation, backbiting and persecution; undeserved praise…and depression…”. You know its not about you, but others can mistake you for God.
The seventh turn is the complete transformation of the soul. Oneness with God is experienced and there is no higher state that is possible.
If you want to go deeper: The Interior Castle by Teresa of Avila Mirabai Starr’s modern translation (Riverhead Books: 2004) or E. Allison Peers’ translation (Doubleday: 1961) are good options.
Mourning the massacre in New Zealand
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. –1 John 4:18
This morning we awoke to the horrendous news of the mass shooting of Muslims at Friday prayers in two mosques in New Zealand. In the Masjid an-Nur mosque (“Mosque of Light”), Christchurch, and in the Linwood Mosque, 49 people were killed and more than 40 are injured. We hold the victims and their families in prayer. As a Christian community of faith, the United Church of Christ stands with the Muslim community of New Zealand, in the U.S., and around the world, particularly those living with the daily realities of racism, Islamophobia and anti-immigrant sentiment.
We condemn this atrocious act of hate and terror and pray for the safety in worship for all communities of faith, especially Muslims today, and that they are free to do so without fear.
We reject the ideology of white supremacy, and any Christian justification of it, that remains prevalent in our country and in other places, an attitude that was cited in the manifesto of the arrested suspected shooter.
We strive to demonstrate our understanding of God’s love for all of God’s children by actively engaging with interfaith partners, including U.S. Muslims and globally, to know each other and to seek God’s justice based on shared principles of love of God and love of neighbor.
We offer our support for American Muslims and urge our members to find ways to express their solidarity with Muslim neighbors in their local communities across the country.
We strive to demonstrate a generous welcome to new immigrants, especially as they often experience rhetoric and acts of hate in many forms, unfortunately including fatal violence.
We commit to continue to work to overcome anti-Islamic sentiment through engagement and education in our churches. We remain vigilant in countering all forms of bigotry based on religion, race or any other category of identity, consistent with the statement of Dr. Mathews George Chunakara, the General Secretary of our partner, the Christian Council of Asia who said, “No matter what faith we adhere or ethnicity we belong to, everybody should be able to live in an atmosphere where peace and security is prevailed and sustained; any act of violence must be prevented with all possible efforts."
And as we mourn with the victims today, we offer this prayer of care and support:
Holy One, called by many names, our hearts are once again touched and broken by events in our communities. You created us from love and call us to love you and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Once again we find ourselves facing the reality that fear is among us instead of love.
We pray for the families and friends of those murdered and injured in Christchurch, New Zealand today. We pray for Muslim communities globally and extend love, peace and comfort in the midst of yet another tragic moment. We pray for healing for the injured and for lives that are torn apart today. We stand boldly as Christians believing that the love that comes from you is greater than the fear that destroys lives and communities. Amen.
In the News!
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Welcome Rev. Dr. David Moffett-Moore Transitional Pastor
Grace and peace! I am honored to accept the call to be your Transitional Minister and look forward to serving you during this transitional period. In the coming months I will have a column in The Chimes on our process and priorities, but this month I thought I would just introduce myself.
I grew up in small towns in central Indiana, one of five children in Methodist parsonages. I earned my Bachelor of Arts at Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana, where my parents met. I’ve been working since I was 11: mowing yards, shoveling walks, delivering newspapers, writing for the local newspaper, working in factories and farms. My first job after college was as a loan collector for a consumer finance agency.
Two years after college, I entered the ministry. I have served 8 churches in three states and two denominations: 15 years as United Methodist and 20 years as United Church of Christ. I was Spiritual Formation Program Director for a Roman Catholic retreat center and worked for Mennonite Mutual Aid. Between being UMC and UCC, I spent a decade in the financial services industry, earning Chartered Financial Consultant, Registered Investment Advisor and Registered Financial Principal designations. I’ve written seven books and have taught Psychology and Philosophy at several regional campuses. I’ve a Ph. D. in Celtic Spirituality and a D.Min. in Spirituality and Psychology.
It’s a second marriage for Becki and I; we’ve been together 23 years. Together we have four grown children in four different time zones. We have five grandsons and one granddaughter, with two more grandsons on the way. Becki has a Masters in Ceramic Art, taught at a Community College in Illinois, and was an Advanced Master Gardener in Indiana – ask about her deer proof garden! She grew up in the shadow of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana.
This is a little bit about me; I look forward to getting to know you in the coming months. We do have work to do, but first let’s get to know each other!
Zion United Church of Christ - 9105 Third St, PO Box 10, Baroda, MI 49101 - 269-422-1590 - e-mail - email@example.com