From Pastor Dave Dockweiler
This Lenten Season we will be focusing our educational and worship experiences towards a deeper understanding of the Lord’s Prayer. During our Wednesday services (Soup at 6 Service at 7) we will be zooming in on one portion at a time. Jesus taught his first disciples how to pray using these words and we join in this prayer every single week. But what does it mean, how does it inform our faith, what is it all about? Sometimes repetition deadens the radical nature of these words. So, we are going to take a new look at it. Our Wednesday evening services begin with Ash Wednesday and continue for the next 5 Wednesdays with a meal at 6 and service at 7.
To assist us in our deep dive into the Lord’s Prayer, I also invite you to read “The Lord and His Prayer” by N.T. Wright. His book offers a fresh understanding of Christian spirituality and the life of prayer. It will refresh and stimulate the heart and mind. N.T. Wright is a Professor of New Testament at the University of St Andrews (how appropriate) in Scotland. I have read many of his books and find them wonderfully put together and very approachable. If you’d like a book, they are $10, I will have a sign-up sheet in the Gathering Space, or you can get it on your own (there is also as audio book version available).
If there was ever a reason to come to church, I think this is it! Take a moment to marvel at the fact that for nearly 2000 years people have been praying this prayer. When we take these words on our lips and into our hearts, we join the unbroken chain of disciples leading all the way back to those sitting at the dinner table with Jesus as he taught them. These words are often some of the first things kids memorize in Sunday School, we promise to teach them to our children during baptism, they represent the common ground between all the different churches and understandings of Christianity. This stuff is kind of a big deal. You should put it on your calendar.
Lent offers us a chance to take on a new spiritual habit or to give up something that will help remind us of all that God has done for us. This Lenten season I will making a renewed effort to eat healthy and to monitor my health. We seem to forget that we only are given one body and we’ll need it for our whole lives. I invite you to consider your daily routine. Are there actions that you could cut out to free up some time for a more vibrant prayer life? We add worship services and times of fellowship during this 5-week season which allows you to be more active in your worship of God.
Maybe this season you make an intention to create some new friendships at church, regularly attend our mid-week services or to pray the Lord’s prayer a couple of times a day.
However, you choose to focus on God during this Lenten season, I pray your work is fruitful and I give thanks to God for your diligence in following our Lord!
See you on Sunday
Our New Mission Statement
We have a new mission statement. “Inspiring change by following Jesus.” Our church council members have been working at this for a couple of months. I am so proud of the collaborative effort. We prayed about what God is doing through this place, we debated, and revised. I am so happy with the final product. “Inspiring change by following Jesus” is why this place exists, why this community meets and what we are set on doing.
INSPIRING The angels inspired the shepherds to run to see the new born Jesus, the Spirit inspired the disciples to march with purpose out of the upper room where they were hiding after the death of Jesus and throughout the ages people have been inspired to share their faith with others. Through this inspiration people have been moved with compassion and it is the fuel that moves the church. “Inspiring” also is a means of how we are to function. We don’t use fear to scare others into faith (we know that doesn’t work) we show them what God has done in our lives and we invite them to wonder about what God can do in theirs. Being inspired to do something new is invitational, just like Jesus.
CHANGE Something is out-of-whack in our world, in our communities and within ourselves. One of the founders of the church, the Apostle Paul, wrote that he doesn’t understand what he does, and he does the stuff he hates. Change is hard, it takes time and tons of effort to redirect our efforts at times. We read countless stories in the Bible of Jesus meeting people in the most random places of their lives and offering them something far better. Physical, spiritual and mental healing, reconnecting someone with their community, lifting those that have been ostracized by others-Jesus brings change and we welcome God’s changes in our lives.
BY Here is how this inspired change is going to happen. Spoiler alert, it isn’t because of what we do.
FOLLOWING Jesus asks his disciples to leave their comfort zones. They walked away from jobs, family, friends, a life that they knew-to follow Jesus into one where they didn’t know much, except for the Rabbi. “Following” admits that we don’t know exactly where we are headed or how to get there. It is an act of humble worship and great trust to allow Jesus to lead our community and our lives.
JESUS Our leader, our rabbi, the one who has come into our lives and invited us into something greater. God’s dreams are better then our own, God’s vision for our lives is far more colorful and fun than we could imagine, so come join us in following our amazing God into a world we hardly knew existed.
Well that’s all good and nice, but how do we actually do it? There are three values that we uplift which will make our missional goal a reality.
First, we “worship to deepen our connections.” Using the cross itself as an example, we worship to connect with God (the vertical) and we worship alongside each other to connect with one another (the horizontal). If our worship doesn’t bring us closer to God or others, than we are doing something wrong.
Secondly, we value “education to challenge our understanding of God.” Growth always means some level of discomfort, and we welcome the challenge of seeing God in new ways. We need to push ourselves to see God in places and faces that we would have overlooked without becoming aware.
Lastly, we do what Jesus did. “Service with others to change the world.” Jesus often brought people into his miracles to change the world around them. Changing the world is a big job but doing so means that we begin with God changing our world. We invite God into our lives to give us a glimpse of what God is up to, and what we are being invited into and we join together to get to work making God’s kingdom show up on earth.