I hope this week was filled with love. Know that as we continue to journey in these challenging times that I continue to hold you all in prayer. Be gentle with yourself as you venture into new spaces. Even spaces that you have been before may feel foreign or strange as the world and her people have changed or gone. I have noticed how different the city feels as we start to open back up. I have started reminding myself that we have been irrevocably changed, when I start to look for the missing people and places. But through it all, I know that God is with us. We hope to see you on Sunday for Children and Adult bible study and worship. SoulFood Fellowship is also this weekend! There is always so much to do here at The Park, and for that we give thanks to God!
As I venture to always be honest with you, I will name that this week’s scripture is one that I struggle with. It is a scripture that even if you haven’t read it before you probably know. And why I don’t like it, is that it has been used by the patriarchy to place human sin solely on the female experience. It sets precedent for theological differences to be battled out on the female body while equal participants in the action are pardoned. I struggle with it because it seems both ridiculous and far too real. But just because I struggle with this scripture doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t study it together. In fact, it may mean that we should study it more. How has this story impacted your understanding of gender roles? When reading this story what parts seem true to the God you know and love, and what parts seem to promote a human agenda? See if you understand what I mean as we read together this week’s scripture in Genesis:
When they heard the sound of God walking in the garden in the cool of the evening, the man and the woman hid from God’s presence among the trees of the garden. 9 God called to the man: “Where are you?” 10 “I heard you walking in the garden,” replied the man. “I was afraid because I was naked, and I hid.” 11 “Who told you of nakedness? Have you eaten from the tree whose fruit I forbade you to eat?” 12 The man replied, “It was the woman you put beside me; she gave me the fruit, and I ate it.”13 Then God asked the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman replied, “The snake tempted me, so I ate.” 14 Then God said to the snake, “Because you have done this, you are accursed: lower than the cattle, lower than the wild beasts, you will crawl on your belly and eat dust every day of your life. 15 I will make you enemies of one another, you and the woman, your offspring and hers; Her offspring will wound you on the head, and you will wound hers in the heel.”
[Genesis 3:8-15 (ILB)/ Génesis 3:8-15 (NVI)]
When reading this passage, what questions came up for you? Maybe they seem silly like what form was the snake in before it was punished? or Why can’t we talk to animals anymore? Maybe your questions are around the human form? Or maybe you have questions about the history of scapegoating (I know I do!). Whatever questions come up know that they are valid, and that God can take them. Also, just in case you need to hear this, we are all responsible for our own actions, your nakedness and your body are not sinful, and God knows your heart.
Friends, don’t let others use you to deflect their own actions. The Blame Game is not a game God is interested in. Be true to you and to the just God we serve. And always know that the questions you ask scripture are heard by God and held tenderly as you work through your answers together.
Simple Prayer: O Lord, Help me know that I am created in your image and love. Amen.
Disciples Center Volunteers Needed
Would you like to help us advocate for living wages, affordable and accessible health care, food security, immigration, and other important issues?
Would you like to influence lawmakers and legislatures to pass fair and inclusive laws?
Would you like to advance the cause of social justice in our nation?
If so, the Disciples Center for Public Witness needs your help!
We are looking for volunteers to attend advocacy meetings on our behalf.
What’s required? Your time, interest, and the ability to listen and take accurate notes. Then, send those notes to us once a month.
Children and Youth Ministry Update
from Kelsey Creech, Resident Seminarian
This past Sunday, all the children heard the story of young Samuel hearing the call of God in 1 Samuel 3:1-20. Our younger children spent time reflecting on this story, sang and prayed together, and shared about their lives and exciting plans for the summer. Our children, feeling tired after a long week of school, spent some time in embodied prayer. We moved our bodies comfortably to center ourselves and roll out some stress from the week as we prayed for whatever was on our hearts. It was a centering and jam-packed week for Children’s Worship!
This Sunday, the older children will meet once more with Rev. Stephanie. They’ll read Genesis 3:8-15 in our Inclusive Language Bible and spend some time talking about the vulnerability of Adam, Eve and God in that story and the violation of trust it tells us of. Our younger students will read “Adam and Eve” in their Tiny Truths Illustrated Bible with Mr. Trevor. They’ll pray, sing, and say goodbye with a blessing.
Once more, Happy Pride! I hope you are enjoying this season as we transition into Summer and celebrate identity and love.
Well, it isn't food for your stomach (though when we are able to meet again in person, we will share a brown bag lunch right after church), but it is food — almost a banquet — for your soul.
SoulFood Fellowship is a gathering of The PARK members and friends who get together from near and far after worship on the third Sunday of each month. We engage in conversation that is bound to get you thinking and talking. We discuss and reflect on books, articles, documentary films, or plays —in light of our faith, Bible Study, and concern for social justice.
Right now we’re focusing on Juan Gonzalez’sHarvest of Empire: A History of Latinos in America. Don't worry if you haven't read the book. It is a slow read that calls forth loads of discussion and reflection on our country, racism, colonialism, and what God requires of us. We would love to have you join us and share your perspective, experience, hopes, and concerns.
Join Rev. Stephanie at the 2021 Disciples Virtual Gathering! Registration is now LIVE! Join Disciples from across the US and Canada for this one day, live event on August 7. Featuring Bible study, workshops and worship as we celebrate that NOTHING can separate us from the love of God.
Pandemic of Love is a mutual aid community of care that was started in response to the COVID-19 epidemic. It humbly began on March 14th, 2020 by one person and was intended to help her own local community. But, like an epidemic, the act of love and kindness spread quickly and is now a beautiful movement helping those in need throughout the world.
What is a mutual aid community? It connects people in need with patrons who can help with that need. This is a tangible way for people to give to each other, quickly, discretely and directly.
What’s the catch? There is none. Kind people are introduced to kind people which results in an act of kindness and human connection.