Tuesday, November 29, 2011

More Than You Asked For... Part 2

Dear ones!

Our friend and fearless leader, Rev. Molly, returns to Water's Edge this week after leading all three services in the Sanctuary last Sunday. Many thanks to Rev. Elbert for helping ignite our passion for the Advent Season (we almost had a real fire when one of the altar candles got a little too happy).

Nancy and Mark Palmer lit our first advent candle: expectation, leading us in a tradition that we will continue each week for the season. If you are interested in lighting a candle, contact kedwards@fumcsd.org

"More Than You Asked for..." is the church-wide theme for this advent. Last Sunday we gathered ideas from the congregation at Water's Edge regarding what YOU are asking for. We received some positive feedback on our "list" of things or gifts concepts/ideas and this Sunday, we'll have that list compiled for all to see and share. We'll add to it those things that you wish for OTHERS.

This week, our advent study continues with some relatively somber scriptures as we are concentrating on 'waiting,' preparing the way of the Lord. Other portions of the season will focus on the more joyous birth of Christ and celebrating/anticipating/preparing for His coming.

Rev. Molly posed this question in our weekly meeting, "What am I spending my time on that is 'preparing the way of the Lord?'" We'll take up that discussion as well as take a look at the invitation God issues in this week's scripture.

If you're interested in knowing more about advent - especially the part about waiting -- visit this site featuring the arch Bishop of Canterbury... a quiet but well-shared lesson about some of our traditions.

Be thinking about your Wishes for Others and come ready, as always, to share at WE!

See you Sunday!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

More Than You Asked for...

Happy Holidays All!

Time to start your engines because this season is going to be short and power-packed. Even though we will have barely digested our turkey and cranberry sauce, we will be kicking off the Advent Season on Sunday.

Advent means many different things to each one of us and we will explore those thoughts and feelings. But this year, the church-wide "theme" for the season is "More than you asked for..." That can be good and that can be cause for pause. Maybe it means you get more of the best stuff you've ever wanted in life: happiness, love, laughter, serenity, understanding... It can also mean more of the stuff you might not have realized comes with your wishes: responsibility, decision-making, leadership... The list goes on!

Speaking of lists, that's exactly what we're going to do for prayer time this week. We'll fashion a way for you to come forward and share your wishes and thoughts on paper. What would you like to have "more than you asked for..."? (We're thinking intangible but if you really want a red Ferrari, no one's going to judge!)

Rev. Elbert will be preaching (Rev. Molly is in the sanctuary 8. 9:30, 11am) and leading us through what can be some tough scripture readings. But, as always, his insight and passion for the Bible will shine though and Advent 1 at Water's Edge will unwrap a season of great love and hope for all of us.

See you Sunday!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Clueless and Humble

Whew! Buckle your seatbelts... it's going to be a bumpy ride across the seed-strewn farmland we plan to harvest again this Sunday! Plenty of "food for thought."

If you were at Water's Edge last week, you know Rev. Molly tackled what can be a very heavy scripture reading... The Parable of the Talents. Armed with her courageous honesty and innate humility, she simply let us know that "It bothers me too." That set our course for a great journey. We explored what it means to use your God given talents... as well as various takes on wealth and want, the haves and have nots.

This week will be another soul-searching quest as well when Rev. Molly leads us through the Judgment of the Nations... the sheep v. goats. Yep. That one. No easy task, but fear not! We will learn together and will also explore Psalm 100, a prayer of thanksgiving... which provides our Hollywood, happily-ever-after ending.

Communion and prayer time will be celebrated after the sermon, giving us an opportunity to tie-in the teachings with our joys/concerns and communion prayers of supplication, thanksgiving and confession. We will be able to individually contemplte, over an individual communion serving, our role in the sheep v. goats scenario.

If you read ahead to Matthew, keep this in mind: the goats and the sheep were both clueless as to what they had (or hadn't) done to be invited into the kingdom. They were goats or sheep long before they came to be judged. And, we're not each called to save all of our brothers and sisters on Earth from sickness, hunger and imprisonment, all the time. We are to help in the here and now, when we can, which allows us to live the life that reflects the gospel. So, bring your confusion, cluelessness and a health dose of humility, and we'll ponder together!

See you Sunday!

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

A Beautiful Attitude

Dear ones! What a treat we are in for this Sunday! Rev. Molly will be back from Mexico -- thank you for your prayers for her safe journey and return -- and we will be exploring The Beatitudes.

Somewhere along this path, I started to see 'Beatitudes' as two words in one: beautiful and attitude. And, if you follow the scripture, and put the spirit of its message into play in your everyday life, that's bound to be the outcome, a beautiful attitude. Verdad? (That's for Molly).

If we are feeling poor in spirit, ours is the kingdom of heaven. If we are in mourning, we will be comforted. If we are merciful, we will receive mercy. The pure in heart will see God. Those who thirst for righteousness WILL BE filled. And the peacemakers will be called Children of God.

What kind of plan is that? What kind of GPS gets you there? Surely not one of Earthly making. As Rev. Molly explained, that's the great news about Jesus: His grading rubric is different from all the other instructors.

His plan is not about having the most toys. It's not about having the most gold. How great we look and our Earthly successes are not on the extra credit list. His plan centers on what we do for others, how we love God, and how we handle adversity. And, as Molly emphasizes, even when we blow it -- we don't stand up for righteousness, we fail at peacemaking -- even then, we are not kicked out of the club. When we fail, that's when Jesus really shortens the distance between His steps and ours. That's when He leans in really close and whispers into our ear "I love you and always will."

Sunday is also All Saints' Day. It is celebrated in many ways, around the globe:
New Orleans
San Diego

We will remember those who have left us by lifting up the names of loves ones, and we also take prayer concerns, lifting up the concerns of those currently suffering. During this time, there will be candles available for lighting and remembering or celebrating... we will light candles and say names aloud.

So pack your attitude... good or bad... bring the names of those you love, in memory or in person... and we'll work on a beautiful attitude, together.