Thursday, September 23, 2010

breaking the mold

Originally uploaded by Empirically Grounded
This Sunday, we finish our 3-week journey through the core mission of our worship. We welcome everyone. We share Christ. And we change--ourselves and the world.

As I have been getting ready for Sunday, I've been moved by Martin Luther King, Jr's sermon on one of the scripture passages we're using this week, Romans 12:1-8. In "Transformed Nonconformist" (which, incidentally, is available here on Google Books, as chapter 3 of a sermon collection), MLK calls us to live lives intentionally out-of-step with the majority in our world, and in-step with the amazing work of God's kingdom, which is coming into our world.

Jesus was always doing that kind of thing--catching people off-guard with his new way of life. Fighting against expectations and powers, he carves out a new way of living. And dying.

Which means this "change" we're called to is also a kind of challenge--a challenge against to status quo and for a new way of living.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

What we're about

I'm really looking forward to the next three weeks: we're going to spend them thinking about what we're all about.

I've been thinking and praying on this for much of the summer--I have the sense that something special is happening at the Water's Edge, and that we're called to grow in new ways. But, before we can talk about any external changes, we've gotta get clear on what we're about.

So, in reflection and in talking with some of you, I've come up with three things that are at the heart of our mission: welcoming everyone, sharing Christ and changing (ourselves and the world). Each week, over the next three weeks, we'll think about one of those ideas in worship. Afterwards, at 11, we'll have some extra time to reflect and dream on these ideas together, too. I hope you'll come, and that you'll stay for the discussion at 11, too.

This week, we're talking about welcoming. And I don't mean that lame kind of welcome that's like: anyone is welcome to come as long as they want to do things our way. I mean the kind of prodigal hospitality that might make us rearrange our plans. I mean the kind of welcome that leaves no one in the corner, wondering if they belong.

This week, we're reading from Matthew's gospel, about Jesus' answer to the disciples query about how to be the greatest. He surprises them, I suppose, with instruction to be like children. Humble. Invisible, even.

Then, we're also reading from Romans--some of my favorite verses in that book, with a tough list of expectations for those of us who want to follow Christ. It turns out that as soon as we find ourselves welcomed into God's salvation, we're expected to live differently, daringly in the world. This is good stuff.

So, I hope to see you Sunday!