Midweek Message – 24 May 2017
One more time something has happened this week that is just so wrong, it takes our breath away.
The bombing this week in Manchester was far away, but so evil in its intent and impact, that it has the power to shock us again, and remind us that we are personally affected by the presence of danger in the world.
How shall we respond to that truth?
I have a niece—recently graduated from college–who has just begun a six-month rotation of work in London. She’s been a little disoriented this week by the resilience of the Brits around her. Unlike Americans, they just keep going. In 2005, after the subway system in London was bombed in several locations, most Londoners were back to their regular “Tube” commutes by the end of the same day. In America, we tend to linger a little longer in our fear.
While I might wish for a little more British spirit among us, so that terrorists don’t get the paralyzed-by-fear reaction they hope for, I’m not sure we’re going to change the culture this week. So maybe the more relevant question for us in times like this is,
How do we not lose our best selves—how do we speak and act out of love, not our fear—even when we are afraid and confused?
There is no secret or magic formula for doing this. It’s a matter of remembering whatever it is that calls you to the deepest and most generous source you can find. I have to keep going back to the words of Jesus, and to the people who help me make sense of his words. For example—
Walter Wink, who interprets Jesus’ “turn the other cheek” language to mean: Jesus is not telling us to submit to evil, but not to oppose it on its own terms. We are not to let the opponent dictate the methods of our opposition. Jesus is urging us to transcend both passivity and violence by finding a third way, one that is both assertive and non-violent.”
And Martin Luther King, Jr: “Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars… Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
Someone asked me this week, “How do we pray, after this kind of act?”
It’s a great question. I think my best prayer is that God would help me grieve this tragic act of violence, this loss of life, the way God does. That I would see both the victims and the victimizers through God’s eyes of compassion and truth and thirst for justice.
And in the midst of it all, may you hear again God’s most regularly-repeated greeting: Do not be afraid.
With love and blessings –Kathi
Read more Mid-Week Messages
MESSAGES WORTH PONDERING
May 21st, 2017
Centering: Read the Centering Poem
“Moses” – Chancel Choir
text: Exodus 3:1-6
Sermon: “Where Are Those Burning Bushes”
— Rev. Kathi McShane Read Sermon Listen to Sermon
Offertory: “Future Days” – Ryan Fawcett, guitar/vocals (lyrics)
April 23rd, 2017
Prelude: “Baroque Alleluia & Trumpet Voluntary”
– Dan Hallock & Dave Rodrigues, trumpets
Text: John 20:19-30
The African Choir sings: “Peace, Be Still”
Sermon: “Living With Hope”
— Joshua Sulaiman Listen to Sermon
Bells, Brass, Choirs and Flowers —
a beautiful and joyful celebration! Experience it again:
- New A’Peal Handbell Choir plays the prelude: “Easter Hymn”
- The Chancel Choir sang the “Introit for Easter”
accompanied by brass and organ
- Listen to the Call to be Fully Present from Pastor Kathi
- Listen to the choral anthem: “Easter Hymn”
(Regina Coeli from Cavalleria Rusticana) – Chancel Choir with
Brass Act and Shine Kwon on organ
- Scripture Text: Matthew 27:1-8
- Sermon: “In the Mix: Fear and Joy”
by Rev. Kathi McShane Read Sermon Listen to Sermon
- Listen to offertory: “My Spirit Be Joyful” (J.S.Bach) – Brass Act
- Listen to postlude: “Christ is Risen! Shout Hosanna!” – Shine Kwon, organ
See more Easter Photos HERE
For more Sermons, click here.
Read the latest blog post, “Letting Go” from
Pastor Larry LaPierre – “the Circuit Writer”
STATEMENTS OF FAITH
Precious Pearl ~ On November 5, 2016, Pastor Kathi McShane spoke words of comfort at the Memorial Service for Jim Gilliland… Click to read…
“Why I Am United Methodist: Because Of Love”
– a blog post by Ben Gosden
BOOKS WE’VE BEEN EXPLORING
Join the Tuesday and Thursday Men’s Groups who are reading:
Convictions: How I Learned What Matters Most
by Marcus J. Borg
On the occasion of his seventieth birthday, the renowned scholar Marcus J. Borg shares how he formed his bedrock religious beliefs, contending that Christians in America are at their best when they focus on hope and transformation and so shows how we can return to what really matters most. The result is a manifesto for all progressive Christians who seek the best path for following Jesus today.
With each chapter embodying a distinct conviction, Borg writes provocatively and compellingly on the beliefs that can deeply ground us and guide us, such as: God is real and a mystery; salvation is more about this life than an afterlife; the Bible can be true without being literally true; Jesus’s death on the cross matters—but not because he paid for our sins; God is passionate about justice and the poor; and to love God is to love like God.
In the Shelter, by Padraig O’Tuama
There’s an old Irish proverb: “It is in the shelter of each other that the people live”. In this book much-loved poet, storyteller, theologian, and speaker Pádraig Ó Tuama applies ideas of shelter and welcome to journeys of life, using poetry, story, biblical reflection and prose to open up gentle ways of living well in a troubled world.
The fourth gospel tells of Jesus arriving in the room where the disciples are gathered, full of fear, on Easter Sunday. He does not chide or admonish; instead he says ‘Peace be with you’, which, in the Aramaic of his day, was simply a greeting. ‘Hello,’ he said, welcoming people locked in a room of fear to a place of deep encounter; encounter with themselves, with their fear, with each other and with the incarnate one in their midst.
Interweaving everyday stories with analysis, gospel reflections with mindfulness and Celtic spirituality with poetry, this book explores the practice of welcoming as a spiritual discipline. In particular, Pádraig tells careful stories of welcoming parts of life that are often unwelcome.
When Breath Becomes Air, by Paul Kalanithi
New York Times Bestseller • For readers of Atul Gawande, Andrew Solomon, and Anne Lamott, a profoundly moving, exquisitely observed memoir by a young neurosurgeon faced with a terminal cancer diagnosis who attempts to answer the question, What makes a life worth living?
At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live. And just like that, the future he and his wife had imagined evaporated. When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a naïve medical student “possessed,” as he wrote, “by the question of what, given that all organisms die, makes a virtuous and meaningful life” into a neurosurgeon at Stanford working in the brain, the most critical place for human identity, and finally into a patient and new father confronting his own mortality.
What makes life worth living in the face of death? What do you do when the future, no longer a ladder toward your goals in life, flattens out into a perpetual present? What does it mean to have a child, to nurture a new life as another fades away? These are some of the questions Kalanithi wrestles with in this profoundly moving, exquisitely observed memoir.
The Active Life: Wisdom of Work, Creativity and Caring by Parker J. Palmer
Vital, down-to-earth wisdom for active people who serve others or work for social change. Drawing from the teachings of Chuang Tzu, Martin Buber, Jesus, and Julia Esquivel, Palmer presents a detailed framework for a spiritual life in the active world–for the uncelibate, unsolitary, and unsilent lives that most of us lead.
Other reading during Lent and beyond
Change Your Questions, Change Your Life
by Marilee Adams
In this new expanded edition of her classic international bestseller, Marilee Adams shows how the kinds of questions we ask shape our thinking and can be the root cause of many personal and organizational problems. She uses a highly instructive and entertaining story to show how to quickly recognize any undermining questions that pop into your mind—or out of your mouth—and reframe them to achieve amazingly positive and practical results. The third edition includes a new introduction and epilogue and two powerful new tools that show how Question Thinking can dramatically improve coaching and leadership.
What Did Jesus Ask?
As a teacher, Jesus Christ put many of his lessons in the form of questions. The gospels recorded some 100 others. Some are rhetorical, needing no answer, but most were real questions posed to real people. Many of Jesus’ questions are familiar to readers today, yet the context and the potential interpretations of such phrases will offer enlightenment to many.
Organized by Biblical verse, in “What Did Jesus Ask?”, more than 70 of today’s most prominent spiritual writers, religious leaders and artists offer modern meditations on the questions Jesus asks in the Bible. Their contemplations provide telling context, with both contemporary and traditional interpretations to lead readers on an exploration of their own faith and to shape their own meaningful answers.