What a glorious day outside! I hope you find time to enjoy the sun and experience God’s grace through the beauty of all that surrounds us! I hope you enjoyed the holiday on Monday and didn’t catch anything (or body) on fire! 😉 Also, you’ll be glad to know that Emily and the girls have returned home and everyone is happy and healthy so all is good at my house. Yay!
Events This Week
- Tonight is the closing potluck at Debbie Hagen’s house for the Northwest Earth Institute Class
- Tomorrow is our Laundry Love BBQ at 6pm. Stop by and lend a hand or come say hi!
- And Next week is Peace Playhouse!
Preparing for Sunday
This Sunday we will be considering the ways that we grow up into an "authentic" faith. I think that authenticity is one of the key characteristics of a "participatory" church because it marks an inward transformation that cannot be duplicated or faked. What helps you to grow in that kind of authenticity if your faith with Christ? What are the ways that help you to make space for connecting with God? Especially now, with the summer in full effect (hey, it’s officially after the 4th!), how do you find pathways to Christ?
I am struck by the apostle Paul’s writing about what we Quakers might call a convincement in Philippians 3. Paul had to work through the "obstacles" that kept him from an authentic experience with Christ:
“Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of those who mutilate the flesh! For it is we who are the circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and boast in Christ Jesus and have no confidence in the flesh—even though I, too, have reason for confidence in the flesh. If anyone else has reason to be confident in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, a member of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless.
Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ. More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God based on faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us then who are mature be of the same mind; and if you think differently about anything, this too God will reveal to you. Only let us hold fast to what we have attained. (Phil 3:2–16 NRSV)
How about for you?
- What are those things that are counted as loss for you, those things that become barriers to being open to a deeper, more inward communion with Christ?
- Are there things that stand in the way of your true and authentic self before God and others?
- Are there practices that help you to be open, trusting, and patient inwardly?
I like the Britain Yearly Meeting’s Advices and Queries (online here) for spiritual reflection and meditation. The first one speaks to this week’s topic:
Take heed, dear Friends, to the promptings of love and truth in your hearts. Trust them as the leadings of God whose Light shows us our darkness and brings us to new life.
May we be drawn closer to God’s Light this week and find new life together as a community.
I look forward to seeing you either before or on Sunday.