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Prayer Stations: We Are Called

Prayer Stations: We Are Called

We tried something new at Westfield this morning. Well, at least new to us. Instead of a sermon, I invited the congregation to wander around our sanctuary and into our narthex to eight prayer stations all created around a single theme: who we are called to be. We are a singing church. By that I mean, we sing a lot. As in, all the time. And this morning was no different. We began our scripture readings with a wonderful Mark Miller piece called Draw the Circle Wide. It’s a bit of a Westfield anthem these days–we often sing it at the close of worship. We sing it every time someone joins the church. This morning we sang it in between our scripture readings. The passages all pointed to who we are called to be. We began with Joel: Then afterwards I will pour out my spirit on all flesh;your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Even on the male and female slaves, in those days, I will pour out my spirit. Then, Revelation: Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,‘See, the home of God is among mortals.He will dwell with them;they will be his peoples,and God himself will be with them; he will wipe every tear from their eyes.Death... read more

On Being the Body, Boldly

Scriptures: 1 Corinthians 12: 12-31, Luke 4:14-21 There were problems in Corinth. The church Paul founded there was soaking in conflict. One of the main issues at hand was glossolalia.  More commonly, we call it “Speaking in tongues. Some of the members were speaking in tongues, claiming it was the Spirit moving among them. And others thought that was a load of hooey. Paul, the widely known founder of churches around that area, heard of their troubles and wrote to them to offer some advice.  It was the first time anyone had done church. It was new territory–and like any community endeavor, you’ve got lot’s of opinions and personalities: all out to serve the same purpose, but striving to do it in different ways. So Paul writes to the good folks out at First Church, Corinth and sets them straight: a little encouraging, a whole lot of loving.  Now, it’s only fair to tell you that Paul isn’t my favorite New Testament author. He can be uppity bordering on a jerk, but the man could write, and write he does through this first letter. Some of the most iconic segments of the New Testament come from this letter: “now, we see through a glass, darkly,” or “when I was a child I thought as a child,” or the passage we’ll hear more and more of as we approach Valentine’s day: “Love is patient, Love is kind” or “and now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.” This letter is so chockfull of iconic, formative passages that we forget Paul was writing to... read more

Turning Water into Wine. Again.

Back in January of 2013, I snagged was tearing through my fabric collection looking for just the right colored fabric to represent wine. I had red fabric and purple fabric and shiny fabric and matte fabric. But nothing that was just red and purple enough to do justice for the visual coming together in my head. So, I went to Plan B, which in these parts stands for Plan Betty. Betty M. is our lay moderator and a local business owner and florist. Can we just take a second to acknowledge what a gift it is to have a florist at your disposal when you’re into crafting visual worship? You should go make friends with your florist. I mean right now. Don’t take them flowers. They’ve got those. Maybe Diet Coke? I’ll wait. Anyway, I headed over to Betty’s shop to ask for wine colored fabric and a jug. And Plan B did not disappoint! She scrounged around in the cellar of the shop and came back up the stairs lugging just what I needed. With my closet and her shop, I came up with this: I had largely forgotten about that altarscape in the lectionary years since, until this holiday season, when Greg won Christmas by gifting me with this stunning stole based on that very altarscape. So this year, I decided my Wedding at Cana altarscape would have a repeat engagement. So, I headed back to Betty’s shop, asked for the same fabric and jug, and found myself staring at my chancel Sunday morning thinking, “How am I going to swing this?” You see, we celebrate communion twice a... read more

New Stole Sunday: How Greg Won Christmas

I’ve a confession to make: I LOVE STOLES. I have lots of them–nearly fifty. (I know. I’ve got a problem.) My dear husband, Greg, doesn’t help.  For every gift-giving holiday, he’s got a new, custom stole up his sleeves. In fact, there are over 10 waiting in the wings since I last posted a New Stole Sunday in March of 2014! But this one took the cake. In May of 2015, Greg and I went on a 2 week adventure of a honeymoon in Rome.  And of course, while we were there, we looked up a clergy vestment shop (like you do) to see what we could find. Turns out their vestments were super expensive (or we’re REALLY cheap). In any case, all we decided to take home was some fabric from the discount rack. (Y’all know how I am about fabric!) I’d all but forgotten it, when we opened Christmas presents after Westfield’s 9pm Christmas Eve service. Side note: Everyone knows Christmas gifts aren’t a competition. And EVERYONE hopes they give the best gift. This year was no different for us. The lights on the tree were on and our late suppers from Grill 37 reheated. Greg handed me two packages. “Open this one first,” he said. I ripped through the wrapping to find a canvas print of this: “This is one of my favorites…” he began, a little bashfully. Side note: Greg has so many wonderful traits–he’s tall and talented and loving and supportive. But Greg is not a complimenter. I knew it when I met him; I knew it when we got married. And that’s fine (most days! 😉) So,... read more

sermons

On Being the Body, Boldly

On Being the Body, Boldly

Scriptures: 1 Corinthians 12: 12-31, Luke 4:14-21 There were problems in Corinth. The church Paul founded there was soaking in conflict. One of the main issues at hand was glossolalia.  More commonly, we call it “Speaking in tongues. Some of the members were speaking in tongues, claiming it was the Spirit moving among them. And others thought that was a load of hooey. Paul, the widely known founder of churches around that area, heard of their troubles and wrote to them to offer some advice.  It was the first time anyone had done church. It was new territory–and like any community endeavor, you’ve got lot’s of opinions and personalities: all out to serve the same purpose, but striving to do it in different ways. So Paul writes to the good folks out at First Church, Corinth and sets them straight: a little encouraging, a whole lot of loving.  Now, it’s only fair to tell you that Paul isn’t my favorite New Testament author. He can be uppity bordering on a jerk, but the man could write, and write he does through this first letter. Some of the most iconic segments of the New Testament come from this letter: “now, we see through a glass, darkly,” or “when I was a child I thought as a child,” or the passage we’ll hear more and more of as we approach Valentine’s day: “Love is patient, Love is kind” or “and now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.” This letter is so chockfull of iconic, formative passages that we forget Paul was writing to... read more

Visual Worship

Prayer Stations: We Are Called

Prayer Stations: We Are Called

We tried something new at Westfield this morning. Well, at least new to us. Instead of a sermon, I invited the congregation to wander around our sanctuary and into our narthex to eight prayer stations all created around a single theme: who we are called to be. We are a singing church. By that I mean, we sing a lot. As in, all the time. And this morning was no different. We began our scripture readings with a wonderful Mark Miller piece called Draw the Circle Wide. It’s a bit of a Westfield anthem these days–we often sing it at the close of worship. We sing it every time someone joins the church. This morning we sang it in between our scripture readings. The passages all pointed to who we are called to be. We began with Joel: Then afterwards I will pour out my spirit on all flesh;your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Even on the male and female slaves, in those days, I will pour out my spirit. Then, Revelation: Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,‘See, the home of God is among mortals.He will dwell with them;they will be his peoples,and God himself will be with them; he will wipe every tear from their eyes.Death...

stoles

New Stole Sunday: How Greg Won Christmas

New Stole Sunday: How Greg Won Christmas

I’ve a confession to make: I LOVE STOLES. I have lots of them–nearly fifty. (I know. I’ve got a problem.) My dear husband, Greg, doesn’t help.  For every gift-giving holiday, he’s got a new, custom stole up his sleeves. In fact, there are over 10 waiting in the wings since I last posted a New Stole Sunday in March of 2014! But this one took the cake. In May of 2015, Greg and I went on a 2 week adventure of a honeymoon in Rome.  And of course, while we were there, we looked up a clergy vestment shop (like you do) to see what we could find. Turns out their vestments were super expensive (or we’re REALLY cheap). In any case, all we decided to take home was some fabric from the discount rack. (Y’all know how I am about fabric!) I’d all but forgotten it, when we opened Christmas presents after Westfield’s 9pm Christmas Eve service. Side note: Everyone knows Christmas gifts aren’t a competition. And EVERYONE hopes they give the best gift. This year was no different for us. The lights on the tree were on and our late suppers from Grill 37 reheated. Greg handed me two packages. “Open this one first,” he said. I ripped through the wrapping to find a canvas print of this: “This is one of my favorites…” he began, a little bashfully. Side note: Greg has so many wonderful traits–he’s tall and talented and loving and supportive. But Greg is not a complimenter. I knew it when I met him; I knew it when we got married. And that’s fine (most days! 😉) So,...

The Way I See It