Town Hall Meeting and Concert
I blame Pastor Brenda. She’s the one who has encouraged me to embrace sermon series. I’m glad she did. Having several weeks to dig deeper into a topic and look at it through a theological lens has been fruitful for me. I have learned more, and I have grown spiritually because of this practice. I hope you have, too.
You will be receiving this just as we wrap up our four-part look at our Open and Affirming covenant. We are concluding this look with a renewal of covenant during worship on February 2 and a Town Hall Meeting to discuss how we can keep our covenant alive and invigorated. As of the press deadline, the exact format of the Town Hall Meeting hasn’t been decided (that’s up to Pastor Brenda and me), though we know what we hope the product of the Town Hall Meeting will be: some bold and beautiful ideas of how to continue to live into our Open and Affirming covenant.
That afternoon, singer/song writer Bobby Jo Valentine will present a concert in our sanctuary. I love his thoughtful, spirit-infused lyrics and folk-influenced music. I’ve heard him at several church meetings, locally and nationally. I know there’s a football game that afternoon. If that’s important to you, record it. I promise: no football spoilers during the concert.
What Do We Do With The Bible?
On February 9, we will begin a three-part sermon series, “What Do We Do with the Bible?”– though, depending on how you count, it might be a four-part series. I’ll be starting the series with a sermon titled, “By What Authority?” It will focus on what the authority of scripture is for Progressive Christians. Pastor Brenda will preach on, “No, the Bible Doesn’t Say That,” on February 16.
Then we have a special treat. I’ll be preaching at Temple Beth Torah at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, February 21, about “How Christians Read Their Scriptures,” and Rabbi Avi Schulman will be preaching on “How Jews Read Their Scriptures,” on Sunday, February 23 here at Niles Discovery Church. We are hoping we get people from both congregations at both services.
February 23 is the final Sunday after Epiphany. On Wednesday, February 26, the season of Lent begins with
Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent, the season of reflection, prayer, learning, and service that leads to Easter. Since Easter is the holiest day of the church year, this time of preparation is spiritually significant.
Ash Wednesday focuses on reminding us of our mortality with the words, “Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return.” All of us are journeying to our deaths. All of us are journeying home. Behind this reminder is the question, Given that we are journeying to our deaths, how shall we live?
We will take this message to the street and we will offer simple, meditative service in our sanctuary on Ash Wednesday. We will offer “Ashes to Go” to the clients and volunteers at CleanStart (in our parking lot that afternoon). Then we will move “Ashes to Go” to the Union City BART station. Extending the blessing and reminder of the church to the community on the street has been a powerful experience for me over the past two years. I’m glad our Ministry of Spiritual Life Team wants to continue this outreach.
Pastor Brenda will be leading our 7:30 p.m. service in the sanctuary. It will be simple and meditative, and will include music, silence, a video for reflection, and the imposition of ashes, the ancient reminder of our mortality. I hope you will attend this service to begin your Lenten journey.