An Invitation

Cultivating Community through an Immersion into Scripture

by Pastor Joshua

 

This past Sunday, I spoke a little bit about the way Jesus did a little post-Easter cultivation leading up to Pentecost.  Typically, we focus on the “big events” in the Bible and miss out on a lot of the details leading up to these events and through which God works to cultivate.  At least that’s true of me.

I’ve always imagined the timeline looking something like this:

Last Supper – Crucifixion – Resurrection – Ascension – Pentecost

In this way of thinking, it’s easy to think that Pentecost is a spontaneous event that comes out of nowhere.

But there’s a lot missing.

  • After breaking bread with the disciples, Jesus goes to the Mount of Olives to pray.
  • From the cross, he quotes the Psalms.
  • After the resurrection, he appears to the disciples along the way to Emmaus and interpreted “all the scriptures.”
  • When he appears to the disciples (who have locked themselves away in a room) he “open[s] their minds to understand the scriptures.”
  • He spends 40 days with them prior to the ascension instructing them and speaking about the kingdom of God.

When we carefully follow the story from the cross, we begin to see that Pentecost is not something that “just happens” – rather, the moment of Pentecost is the culmination of the Christ’s careful cultivation of the disciples.

It’s no wonder, then, that the earliest formation of the church was centered on prayer, the breaking of bread, and reading the Scriptures together.   These are the practices that build Christian relationships and create Christian community – and this is the way in which God continues to work in the world, even today.

As I was thinking about this, I came across a post by a clergy colleague, Pr Chris Wulff, who serves at Cross & Crown Lutheran in Indianapolis. She offered a wonderful invitation to her church to join her reading through the entire Bible in 90 days, beginning on Pentecost Sunday.

I am accepting her invitation, and extending it you.  Together, let’s dig deep into the Scriptures and try to cultivate the kind of community Christ established among the disciples.

Here’s how you can participate:

Choose a bible.  You can use any translation you like. The translation the lectionary uses is NRSV, in case you want to read the same translation you hear on Sunday morning. If you’re really into translation choices, you may find this helpful.  But don’t get too caught up on choosing the “right” translation. The Bible you have is a great one to use.  (And if you don’t have a Bible and would like me to give you one, just let me know!)

Get a schedule and keep it handy. Since this, in some way, a communal project, the schedule will keep us “on the same page” each day.

Make space for reading.  The amount of Scripture you will be reading in a day will be daunting.  You might find a quiet place where you can read each day. You might also think about setting aside a good block of time each day. Some may find it best to be done in the morning.   Others might wish to break up each day’s passage into sections and carry your Bible with you to read throughout the day.  Go with what works best for you.

Begin and end in prayer.  Remember to say “please” and “thank you.” Before checking the schedule and cracking open the good Book, say a simple prayer asking God to help you keep focus and guide you through the reading. After you have completed the reading, say a prayer giving thanks.

Reflect on and talk about what you read. It’s easy to treat these kinds of devotionals like a checklist. Find a way that works for you to reflect on the passage and talk about it with others who are also participating.

Worship in the Park

TPAParkCard TPA Park on June 22nd!

Art of the Passion: Call for Artists

St. Paul’s invites proposals from artists to be considered for a place as a featured artist in the 2015 Art of the Passion.

Art of the Passion seeks to invite the community into a deeper reflection of the cross through creative interpretations of the Stations of the Cross. In past years, the exhibit has brought together the work of 14 creative & talented artists in a single, meditative gallery focused on Christ’s Passion.

In 2015, the Art of the Passion will expand to include the Stations of Light – a second gallery highlighting the biblical scenes from after the Resurrection.

Artists interested in being featured in one (or both) of these galleries should submit a proposal of their work and preferred stations by September 30, 2014.

The exhibit seeks to include a variety of media and represent a diversity of faith perspectives.  All styles are mediums are welcome and creativity is encouraged.

Artists interested in submitting a proposal may apply online, make inquiries by emailing arts@stpauls39.org, or leave a message at (765) 654-5933.

The deadline for proposals is September 30, 2014.

The featured artists, as well as the dates that the exhibit will run, will be announced November 1, 2014.

2 Corinthians

This series will provide an in-depth study 2 Corinthians and invite participants to engage in self-identified ministry actions.  Topics will include the leadership in ministry and the church as a community centered in Christ and made alive through acts of compassion and witness.  

Each session will begin with a brief “check-in” on previous actions, followed by a 45-60 min exploration of a particular passage.  In the last 30 minutes, we will identify concrete actions that each person can take in the days to follow.  

Holy Week

Community Lenten Breakfasts

2014 Lenten Breakfast Series

Sponsored by the Clinton County Ministers’ Association
Breakfasts begin at 8AM every Saturday in Lent.

DATE                                LOCATION

March 8                              St. Matthew UMC, 1951 Wilshire Dr

March 15                            1st Christian Church/Disciples of Christ, 58 S Columbia St.

March 22                            T.B.D.

April 5                                St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 2029 S State Rd 39

April 12                              Harmony Hall, Wesley Manor, 1555 N Main St

 

Member of St Paul’s begins Diaconal Formation

 

Learn more about the formation and ministry of diaconal ministers at:
www.thelda.org/

Gallery Hours, January 12 – 18

The He Qi art display at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church will be open to the public during the following day & hours:

Sunday, January 12:  The gallery will open following morning worship (which begins at 10:30 a.m.) and remain open through 1:00 p.m.

Tuesday, January 14: The gallery will be open from 3 p.m. -6 p.m.

Friday, January 17: The gallery will open immediately following the presentation by artist He Qi (7:00 p.m./Doors open at 6:30 p.m.) and remain open during the following reception until 9 p.m.

A limited number of the newly published “Art of He Qi” and select posters of artwork will be available for purchase.

 If you have a small group that would like to visit the exhibit or would like to visit at another specific time, please contact the church at office@stpauls39.org.

 

TNBS Returns!

Glasses on Open Bible ca. 2001Tuesday Night Bible study will return to its weekly schedule on Tuesday, January 14.  What, exactly, we will be studying is still up for grabs.  Got a suggestion?  Let us know in the comment box below!

He Qi Exhibit to open Sunday, January 12th

Due to inclement weather, the gallery featuring the art of He Qi was unable to open this past week.  Beginning this coming Sunday, the gallery will be open for public viewing on each week following Sunday morning worship until 2pm.  Additional days and hours to be determined.  Select posters and the recently published book, The Art of He Qi, will be available for purchase during gallery hours.

Meet the artist:  He Qi will also be speaking about his life and art at St. Paul’s on Friday, January 17, at 7pm.  Doors open at 6:30p.  Following the event, a light reception will be provided and the gallery will remain open to visitors until 9pm.