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Some Thoughts from Pastor Alana....

posted Aug 25, 2016, 10:48 AM by First Congregational Church United Church of Christ   [ updated Jun 26, 2017, 10:20 AM ]

 

Matthew 25:40 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

40 And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family,[a] you did it to me.’

 

While we Protestants do not have saints, those who have been canonized by the Roman Catholic Church are exemplary examples of how to be the church.

          A few years back David and I were blessed to be able to travel to Assisi in Italy. We saw the church built there to honor St. Francis. We saw the twenty-eight amazing Giotto frescoes on the walls of that church telling the story of his birth into a very wealthy business family and eventually his choice to turn away from all of the benefits of his family name, business and fortune. And we saw Francis’ actual church, now protected by a huge church that was built around it to honor and protect it. His church was tiny, dark and inviting. It was such a powerful experience being there in that small space knowing that he had been there; and we’re still talking about his care for creation and his care for the poor.

          Francis is celebrated yearly with a feast day on October 4th and this is the time during which many churches offer Pet Blessings. We really must do that this year in October! Let me know if you’d be interested in organizing such an event. We could invite the community and have it in the beautiful church backyard!

          Richard Rohr, a Franciscan himself, wrote this:

“In the Franciscan reading of the Gospel, there is no reason to be religious or to “serve” God except “to love greatly the One who has loved us greatly,” as Saint Francis said. [1] Religion is not about heroic will power or winning or being right. This has been a counterfeit for holiness in much of Christian history. True growth in holiness is a growth in willingness to love and be loved and a surrendering of willfulness, even holy willfulness (which is still ‘all about me’).” 

          This ties in nicely to our recent worship focus to “BE THE CHURCH”. We can memorize Scripture and we can attend worship regularly but being the church to everyone, especially those who are considered outcast to society, is an arduous task AND it is a task that proves to be extremely fulfilling.

          General Synod, the National biennial meeting of our wider church will gather in Baltimore Maryland from June 30- July4th. During this gathering creative worship planners, excellent preachers and speakers, musicians and dancers will share their talents. And a business meeting will be presented along with discussion of Resolutions proposed and being voted on at this Synod. If you haven’t registered to go to Synod you can be part of Synod by visiting this link       http://synod.uccpages.org/

 

Thousands of members of the UCC wider church will gather to discuss and vote on new ways for the United Church of Christ to BE THE CHURCH. All this is done for the love of Jesus Christ. 

I’m proud of our denomination, for all it does and for the things it has refused to do, in the name of Christ.

Just as St. Francis loved Creator and creation we too can devote ourselves to being the church, by being love in the world.

With you on the Journey,

Pastor Alana


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