What a rainy week here in New York. I hope you have stayed dry but allowed the rain to offer the nourishment and renewal that we all deserve. But it’s June and that means that we have new Bloom curriculum and this month we are Blooming with Pride! Happy Pride month, y’all. May you always know that you are loved and feel valued for your wholeness. We hope to see you this Sunday for worship and bible study and make sure you have our Bloom gatherings on your calendar as well (this month we have a game night!)
This week we are focusing on another one of Paul’s letters. The church in Corinth was one that Paul was in contact with often. Calling them into faith and teaching them to be the Disciples that God calls each of us to be. Though in this portion of the letter he uses the metaphor of letters of recommendation to describe the work of Discipleship. As we read this week’s scripture together, I invite you to think about two things. The first is, what is Paul naming as the work of disciples in this passage? The second is what metaphors do you use to talk about your call to faith? Let us bring those questions to the third chapter of Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians:
Am I beginning to brag again? Or do I need letters of recommendation to you or from you, as others might? You are my letter, known and read by all, written on your hearts. Clearly you are a letter of Christ which I have delivered, a letter written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of flesh in the heart.
The great confidence we have before God, we have because of Christ. It is not that we are entitled of ourselves to take credit for anything. Our sole credit is from God, who made us qualified ministers of a new Covenant, a covenant not of a written Law but of Spirit. The written Law kills, but the Spirit gives life.
In my head I think of the call to be God’s disciples like a dandelion blown into the wind, but I really like the idea that we are the letters of recommendation for Christ. It’s a heavy responsibility to carry, being the walking, breathing, acting understandings of God’s love of this world. I don’t know that I would always be who I would pick, but that is the point, isn’t it? That each of us are uniquely called and loved by God so that we may be living testaments of God’s just and expansive love. Paul tells us that we need to live into this call. Not just on paper, not by obeying man made laws, but written on our hearts by the Spirit of the living God.
Friends no matter what language you use to talk about your faith or relationship to God, may you always know that you are loved by God, and may others see your life as a love letter sent to them.
Simple Prayer: O Lord, May I be a letter of your love for generations to come. 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 Romans 8:12-17. We talked about who Paul was and I explained the context of Paul’s letter to the Church in Rome. The children asked questions about the passage which led to a lively discussion between them and Paul, wherein I played the role of Paul, as we tried to piece together what this passage teaches about bodies, spirit, and salvation.
The younger children, Mr. Trevor, and I then met at 10:30. We spent almost ten minutes of our time together in prayer as our children had many joys, concerns, celebrations, and stories to bring and share with God. After this, we read just the beginning of “Paul” in our Tiny Truths Illustrated Bible. We read about Saul, but we have yet to learn who Paul is. We’re looking forward to hopefully discovering that this week!
I will be away this Sunday to focus on a Biblical Hebrew Intensive which I am enrolled in at the moment. This week, Rev. Stephanie and Mr. Trevor will lead Children’s Worship.
Rev. Stephanie and the older children will meet at 10 AM to read 2 Corinthians 3:1-6. They’ll check in, talk about the scripture, and have the opportunity to pick her brain as they exegete this text.
Then, the younger children and Mr. Trevor will meet at 10:30 to read the second half of “Paul” in our Tiny Truths Illustrated Bible. They’ll find out how Saul became Paul, talk about Paul’s story and how God can turn our lives around in an instant! As always, they will pray, sing, and say goodbye with a blessing.
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.