What a week! I hope you have found time to be outside this past week. God’s creation is in full bloom, and I hope you are too. This week we are gathering online again to celebrate all that God is doing in our midst with Bible Study, Worship, and Children’s ministry. We hope that you will join us for everything.
This week as we end this month of reverence, I wanted to invite you into a time of Lectio Divina. Some of us have done this together before but, especially as we think about how we give reverence to something, I wanted to give you these tools to engage with scripture in a new way. Lectio Divina has been around for centuries, and it is a way of engaging scripture deeply. Fr. Christopher Jamison, former Abbot of Worth Abbey in Sussex, England in his book Finding Sanctuary writes of three key features of lectio:
The first is that “the text is seen as a gift to be received, not a problem to be dissected…Let the text come to you.”
The second is that the lectio tradition “teaches us that in order to receive what the text has to offer we must read slowly.”
The third is that lectio is “a way of prayer. Before reading pray that God will speak to you through the text. During reading, allow the reading to evolve into meditation and then into prayer and finally contemplation. When the reading is concluded, keep some phrase in mind and repeat tit throughout the day so that prayerful reading becomes prayerful living.”
This Sunday is Trinity Sunday. The Trinity is what we use to describe the relationship between God, Christ, and Spirit and the works that all three do both together and individually. We all have a different understanding of how each of them are at work in our lives, but to be able to see it with more depth and nuance, I think it’s helpful to turn to scripture. The how of Lectio is quite simple. First you pray for God to open your mind and Spirit to receive the message. Next, read the scripture slowly. Let the words fill your mouth as you say them out loud. Next, reflect on what you heard, felt, thought. What are you curious about? Then, read the passage again. Have you been able to hear the answers to your questions? You close lectio in many ways, but I like to do two things. One I think of the next steps – the actions – that this scripture is calling me toward. And finally, I pray a prayer of thanksgiving for this time with God and that God continues to speak and inspire from this text. So, with that in mind, I invite you into a time of Lectio Divina for our Trinity Sunday text from the book of Romans.
12 Therefore, we are under an obligation, my siblings—but not to the flesh or to live according to the flesh. 13 If you live according to the flesh, you will die, but if you live by the Spirit, you will put to death the evil deeds of the body and you will live.
14 Those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 For the Spirit that God has given you does not enslave you and trap you in fear; instead, through the Spirit God has adopted you as children, and by that Spirit we cry out, “Abba!” 16 God’s Spirit joins with our spirit to declare that we are God’s children. 17 And if we are children, we are heirs as well: heirs of God and coheirs with Christ, sharing in Christ’s suffering and sharing in Christ’s glory.
[Romans 8:12-17 (ILB)/ Romanos 8:12-17 (NVI)]
What questions came up for you as you read this text? Where did you feel God calling you? Who in your life came to mind as you read this text? What might God be calling you to do next?
Friends, the wonders and awe of God floors me every day. Our scripture continues to call me into community and relationship in new ways and reminds me that this work is never done alone. I am so grateful for the journey we are on together. See you Sunday!
Simple Prayer: O Lord, May I know you deeply in every way you show up. 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
Last Sunday the older children and I read Acts 2:1-11. We talked about Pentecost, compared it to the Church’s birthday and pondered at the entry of the Holy Spirit and bizarre nature of the new language abilities she enabled in those present. We talked about the Holy Spirit and the Holy Trinity and identified together the ways we feel the spirit active in our lives.
The younger children, Mr. Trevor, and I read the ending of “The Holy Spirit” in our Tiny Truths Illustrated Bible. We found out what the special gift God had left us was – the Holy Spirit – and spent some time cherishing that divine gift together.
Mr. Trevor brought his puppet, Saffron, to our Sunday School Class, and we had an impromptu puppet show as each child brought their favorite puppets to share as well. The spirit moved, and what a deep joy was found in the goofiness of our puppet shows.
This Sunday, the older children and I will meet at 10 AM to read Romans 8:12-17. We’ll talk about the difference the text makes between the spirit and the flesh and consider together whether we see the same distinction. We’ll talk about Paul’s declaration that we are “co-heirs” with Christ and wonder what it is we will inherit.
Since last Sunday, some of our younger children asked about who Paul was, this Sunday, the younger children, Mr. Trevor, and I will meet at 10:30 to read “Paul” in our Tiny Truths Illustrated Bible. We’ll talk about Paul’s story and how God can turn our lives around in an instant! As always, we will pray, sing, and say goodbye with a blessing.
What a delight it is to be with the children of The Park and to revel together in the knowledge that we are all God’s children!
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.
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.