In this series of teachings Jesus takes on: anger, adultery, divorce and swearing - not for our day but for the first century. Who knew that some of the issues that we struggle with today were obvious and difficult back in his day? Jesus is trying to apply these ancient teachings to his time and to find the heart of the law for his people. The goal of all of this is right relationship with each other and with God. How do we attain that? What is needed from us to attain the deep reconciliation which is the heart of God? These are questions for us modern people to ponder today as we look at our relationships and our struggles in these areas. Deep anger, lust, relationship disconnect, foul language are all indicators that all is not well. We must first look within ourselves for a desire to resolve conflicts and address our own
hardheartedness. The answer is not always from another but with our own God-instilled vision of restored humanity. It all starts with ourselves and our willingness to work for a reconnection with another, even when that means looking at our own flaws as deeply as we look at the flaws of others. We will explore this in worship on Sunday and re-commit ourselves to being people who yearn for and work for reconciliation. Hope to see you Sunday!!
- Rev. Marlene W. Pomeroy
"Where's Your Light?!"
St Francis is said to have written - "Preach the Gospel everywhere and always - if necessary, use words". Our text in worship this week has Jesus reminding his followers that our faith is like a light - it does no good if it is placed where no one can see it or benefit from it! In a reflection entitled "Where's Your Light?!", we will explore what it would look like for each of us to share something of our faith in our everyday lives - and we will wonder about how that "illumines" the places where we spend our days. Come join us for worship at 10AM in the Chapel and remember to stay after worship for our Budget Forum if you would like a preview of the 2017 Budget that will be voted on next week!
-Rev. John H Pomeroy
"The realm of God is AMONG you... almost"
This Sunday we will be reading the "Beatitudes" section of the Sermon on the Mount. It should be noted that the Realm of God promised by Jesus is not founded in a vacuum that is foreign to life in this world; in fact the Realm of God is named in opposition to the existing realities called out by Jesus. See some articles below for faithful examples of the many ways our community and others have been embodying the beatitudes in their daily lives. May God give us strength to continue living faithfully... every day!
- Rev. Andy Schwiebert
What gets you off the couch and out the door? Needs? Wants? Duty? Fear? It's always good to note what it takes to get us involved and moving. For many of us the rhetoric of the election season and the threats and degradation made to and about certain groups of people has challenged us to get off the couch and out the door this Saturday to join in a March. The purpose of the March is a public witness to the new administration about what we hold dear - basic rights for all; respect and justice for women and people of color and those of different religious backgrounds; profound compassion for all who are in our country. If you look up the Women's March on the internet it will talk about standing together in solidarity for the protection of rights, safety, health and our families and that recognizing diversity as a strength. Read the entire mission statement at womensmarchla.org and decide if you wish to join an FCC group who is gathering on Saturday morning. See article below for more information.
In our text today the arrest and imprisonment of John the Baptist is the event that pushed Jesus into the public arena to preach and teach and heal. That was the impetus for him to gather disciples to work with him to bring about change and transformation of people in his time.
As people of faith today, what makes you want to get "off the couch" and into the public arena to get involved? Our text is all about being called by God and invites some pondering on our part. Maybe we will see you at the March... or at church on Sunday. Or at another upcoming event. You are welcome and invited to participate as God calls you.
- Rev. Marlene W. Pomeroy
The Psalm that is our text for worship this week affirms a relationship with God that some of us may struggle to claim ourselves. How convinced are you of God's presence and activity in your life - it can be a tricky question for us to answer and our response may well depend on how happy or well we feel at any given time. In a sermon entitled "Claiming God" we will consider the challenges of affirming our faith amidst all the ups and downs of our daily lives...we will look at what practices can affirm our faith in ways that respect our concerns, our doubts, our life experience and God's urging that we change and grow! Come join us for worship this Sunday in the Chapel at 10AM!
-Rev. John H. Pomeroy
Isaiah 42: 1-9
This Sunday in the church calendar we celebrate the Baptism of Jesus by John in the Jordan (Matthew 3: 13-17). Another text we read this week is from Isaiah 42:1-9. Both texts remind us of the mission of the Messiah, of the people of Israel and of our mission as followers of Jesus, to "bring forth justice". In times like these, how do we remain true to our mission and calling? Join us this Sunday as we reflect on the theme, "I have called you in righteousness."
-Pastor Andy Schwiebert
This Sunday we will hear and see the biblical Christmas story through word, drama and song as our children act out the Christmas story. Based mostly on Luke's version, with Matthew's Wise Men also making an appearance, we will see the familiar players: the angels, shepherds, innkeeper, the Wise Ones, Mary and Joseph. Through their story we will engage in a a holy encounter with "God-with-us" ...Immanuel. Amidst the joy and beauty of our children who will play the parts in this drama, we will learn anew of the wondrous in-breaking of God into our world and in our lives; like Mary we will ponder these things in our hearts and allow the story to transform our lives.
-Rev. Marlene W. Pomeroy
Mary has made her mark on the history of Christianity. She is the mother of Jesus, bearer of the Christ child; the feminine ideal. But do we really know this Mary? Do we know the woman who sings this song? The Magnificat, taken from the first word of the Latin text "my soul magnifies," is a song of liberation. Simple and direct; eloquent and poetic, the song sings of God's mercy to those who are considered by the world to be lowly. Franciscan Richard Rohr observe that Mary highlights the three "impediments of the coming reign of God .. power, prestige, and possessions." We will listen to Mary's story anew this Sunday in worship and reflect with her on these impediments for fully embodying the renewing and transforming love of God in and through our lives.
-Rev. John H. Pomeroy