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Daily Lectionary – March 16, 2020

Morning Psalms 119:73-80; 145

Evening Psalms 121; 6

First Reading Genesis 44:18-34

Second Reading 1 Corinthians 7:25-31

Gospel Reading Mark 5:21-43

21When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered around him; and he was by the sea. 22Then one of the leaders of the synagogue named Jairus came and, when he saw him, fell at his feet 23and begged him repeatedly, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live.” 24So he went with him.

And a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him. 25Now there was a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years. 26She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. 27She had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28for she said, “If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.” 29Immediately her hemorrhage stopped; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. 30Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my clothes?” 31And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, ‘Who touched me?'” 32He looked all around to see who had done it. 33But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. 34He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”

35While he was still speaking, some people came from the leader’s house to say, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the teacher any further?” 36But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the leader of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” 37He allowed no one to follow him except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James. 38When they came to the house of the leader of the synagogue, he saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. 39When he had entered, he said to them, “Why do you make a commotion and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping.” 40And they laughed at him. Then he put them all outside, and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him, and went in where the child was. 41He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha cum,” which means, “Little girl, get up!” 42And immediately the girl got up and began to walk about (she was twelve years of age). At this they were overcome with amazement. 43He strictly ordered them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.

 

Jesus heals both the daughter of the synagogue leader and the woman who sneaks up behind him. We can imagine doing the same. All over the world there are people praying for something: praying for life, praying for a cure, praying for an end to illness, praying for an end to heartbreak. Sometimes it feels like the people of Jesus’ day were the lucky ones; they were the ones who could invite Jesus to their home or grasp at his cloak. Maybe we think that we could get what we needed if we had the same opportunity. But it’s not just the physical presence of Jesus that makes a difference. Here’s what Jesus says: “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease” and “Do not fear, only believe.” Jesus commends faith and belief. This isn’t just a simple equation, however. This doesn’t mean that we always get an end to our illness or our heartbreak based on same innate capacity for belief. Jesus assures us that the healing we ultimately receive is a gift from God. Faith and belief have their object in Jesus Christ. The same God who came as Savior to Israel is the same God who assures us of his Spirit and makes a way through death on the other side of the cross. This is the one who hears our prayers. How will he not answer?

Gracious God, in the compassion of Jesus you come to us in places of pain and suffering. Be present to us again where we need it—in anxiety and hopelessness, in hardship and struggle, in illness and pain. We put our faith in you, trusting that, in Jesus Christ, you work all to the good of those who love you. We wait for you, Lord, trusting that you will work through our prayers on behalf of those who are silent, or who do not know you, in the confidence that you love them, too. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Daily Lectionary – March 16, 20202020-09-08T16:05:16-05:00

All Church Retreat 2020

 

Here’s your special invitation to join our church family on retreat. 

                          “On the road again” in May 2020

MONTREAT, North Carolina –

M is for mountains.  Lots of them all around.  Great for hiking or viewing and finding inspiration in the wonders of creation.  The stream flowing by, the children’s park, that cozy chair overlooking the lake – all of these in the unique freshness of spring in the forest will do your soul good.

O is for out-of-town with friends and away from the stresses and strains.  Oh, how nice to have God-time and personal time!  And, yes, there is childcare!!!

N is for now, the time to sign up.  A $50 deposit by February 11 guarantees you a place for all the fun during the May 15 – 17 church retreat.

T is for theme:  “God’s beautiful world” will speak to the nature we’ll explore and to the environment we must protect.   Laurel and early rhododendron will dot the woodland as we roam and reflect on earth’s pleasures and perils.

R is for room in the Inn.”  (Sounds absolutely biblical.)  You’ll have comfy accommodations to fit your preferences, and we’ll share social and gathering spaces.  $150 for a family covers lodging and three meals, with single rooms even less.  Count in travel cost and meals out and you’ll see that the Fellowship Team is making our retreat so very affordable.

E is for each other.  We see each other on Sundays, but to really know one another takes time and opportunity.  Across the dinner table, on a walk, bargain hunting at the Tobacco Barn, touring Biltmore House, sharing a coffee while the kids sleep – such moments move us from acquaintance to appreciation and affirmation.

A is for Arts and Asheville.  Just 16 miles west of our retreat is the lively and charm-filled arts capital of the South.  No city of its size gets better press today, and for good reason.  What’s not to like!  You’ll have afternoons to explore and enjoy.

T is for teamwork.  Our congregation’s potential to serve more effectively is bolstered by a balanced diet of worship, work and play.  Come be part of all three!  Time together makes our ties stronger.

Dates: May 15-17

Cost: $150 for a family unit, which includes room for two nights, pizza supper Friday night and breakfast both days.

Accommodations: The rustic Inn will be the center of our activities, with rooms to suit your personal needs as well as meeting and social spaces for our group.

Deposits due: Please have your $50 into the office by February 11 to reserve a place and help us with planning.

Who has signed up: Check the growing list in the Commons and pay attention to the weekly announcements for more revelations.

Transportation: Whether carpooling or driving separately, the four hour ride to the woods of Montreat will help renew our appreciation for the garden of nature which surrounds us.

Program: Yes, there will be times of worship and learning, but we’ll have plenty opportunity to just “hang out” or explore sites of interest in nearby Black Mountain or the best of Asheville’s art and food scene.

Contacts: Leanna Granillo, Laura Goins and Jeane Jones can answer your questions and testify to the fun we’ll have together.

All Church Retreat 20202020-09-08T16:05:16-05:00

Camp AIM 2019

Camp AIM 2019 will be the first 2 full weeks in June, so the dates this year are:

Week 1:           June 3-7

Week 2:           June 10-14

For more information contact Roger Rollins at:

My email:  rrollins255@gmail.com

My cell:  706-260-5999

Sincere thanks to all of you who have been blessed through your participation with these children in years past.  And thanks to all of you who will volunteer for the first time this year.

These children range in age from about 6 to 18.  All of them are victims of sexual abuse.  How this can happen is both a mystery and a tragedy that I do not even pretend to understand.  After admiring Peggy’s leadership and participation with Camp AIM for many years, I decided 3 years ago that although I had no skill or understanding of how to fix these damaged kids, at least I could fix food for them.  I discovered that the quality of the food they were being given was poor and that the kids were not as fully prepared to take advantage of the Family Support Council’s excellent program as they could be if they were properly nourished with a healthy and sufficient quantity of food, particularly in the mornings when they start their classes.  Since then, with the financial help of the church and the physical help of all of you, each child gets a hearty breakfast and lunch.

The difference is amazing.  Once the kids realized that they were going to be fed and loved on by caring adults they didn’t even know, their early morning class sessions began to be more energized.  From the first day of camp, there is a group sense of knowing that they are in a safe and nurturing place.

Camp AIM has been a powerful experience for me, and I recommend it for your participation.  We are responsible for 10 days worth of breakfasts and lunches.  I need volunteers to help prepare and serve food, pick up donated food and clean up afterwards.  I have a fairly organized schedule of each day’s meals from previous years.  There’s a lot to it, but everything actually goes quite smoothly once it kicks off.  Each meal requires about 3 volunteers in some capacity.  Many of you already have or will volunteer for more than one meal, so we may not need an entire army, but we certainly need a good-sized platoon.

At this point, what I need most is several more volunteer names, email addresses and phone numbers, and what your schedule will allow you to do.  Several of you have told me to fit you in wherever you were needed.  Once I have a more complete list, I will send out the daily schedule with proposed meals and all of the required volunteer slots via email.  Each of you can then reply to me with exactly what you’d like to do and when.  This opportunity will probably be announced again during church in coming weeks, but all of us need to confirm schedules, so a timely response is really appreciated.

Respect for confidentiality requires that this is an all-adult project.

Thank you in advance for helping.  Without question, you’ll fall in love with these kids and be grateful for the opportunity of making a difference in this small way.

 

With gratitude, Roger.

Camp AIM 20192020-09-08T16:05:18-05:00

Chalking the Doors By: Rev. Will Scott

Chalking the Doors

I had never heard of this tradition before, but I stumbled across an old Epiphany custom in the Book of Common Worship (BCW) called, “Chalking the Doors.” Epiphany, you’ll remember, is the end of the Christmas season when we mark the time the wise men came to visit the child Jesus, bringing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. (It’s on January 6, this year a Sunday.)

If you have any Epiphany traditions at your house, I’d be interested in hearing them. The holiday seems to get lost as we cut off Christmastide at the New Year. Now is the season for getting your life in order, setting goals, making resolutions.

Epiphany invites us to stay in the Christmas story a little longer, recognizing that the events of Christmas and the presence of God-with-us matter throughout the year.

What does this have to do with chalking the doors? This tradition is a kind of house blessing. You go outside to your front door and write the year and the letters C, M, and B divide by crosses. It looks like this: 20 + C + M + B + 19. C, M, and B represent Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar, the names tradition gives to the wise men who visited Jesus. It also abbreviates the phrase Christus mansionem benedictat or “Christ bless this house.”

I’m not sure this is very Reformed (I’m pretty positive it isn’t). But maybe it can remind us all that God-with-us is with us throughout 2019. So rather than “Happy New Year” I say, “Happy Epiphany.”

The following is a prayer from the BCW that accompanies the practice:

God of doors and homes,

bless this home this year and every year.

Bless all how come and go through this door,

both those who live here and those who visit.

May all who enter through this door

come in peace and bring joy.

May all who come to this door

find welcome and love.

May the love and joy of this home overflow

and spread into the community and the world.

And may Jesus the Christ watch over us all. Amen.

 

Peace,

Chalking the Doors By: Rev. Will Scott2021-03-11T11:43:24-05:00

Journey to Bethlehem By: Rev. Will Scott

 

Are you travelling for Christmas this year? Or did you just get home from a Thanksgiving trip? Maybe it’s appropriate that we travel so much this time of year remembering, as we do, Mary and Joseph journeying to Bethlehem, racing against time to find a safe place to welcome baby Jesus.

In the coming season of Advent we are waiting for Jesus, too. Each day of the calendar is like another step towards the manger: another step towards feasts with family; another step towards gifts of love; another step towards the announcement of angels: “I bring you good tidings of great joy.”  The season has its share of detours—a monthlong cavalcade of parties and obligations, office functions and community events. But, in the end, all roads lead to Bethlehem.

The journey is not unlike a labyrinth. It’s like a maze with twists and turns, but always returning to the right way, and always ending up in the center. In Christian history, the labyrinth was a way that cathedrals could offer pilgrimages for people—journeys with God—even though many could not travel far away. The labyrinth symbolizes that we are all on such a pilgrimage.

This is how we would like to represent our Advent journey this year. Our liturgical arts team has created a labyrinth to help guide our prayers and preparations for Christmas. We hope you will join us on Sunday, December 2 at 5:00 PM in the fellowship hall. There we’ll enjoy food and fellowship, and then an opportunity to explore the labyrinth, led by the Rev. Julie Johnson, a spiritual director with extensive training in the spirituality of labyrinths. The labyrinth will be available for use in the sanctuary during the week; but with special resources available on Tuesday evenings in December. Come find the center of our journey as we prepare for God’s gift to us in Jesus.

Peace,

 

 

 

Will

Journey to Bethlehem By: Rev. Will Scott2021-03-11T11:44:46-05:00
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