March 1, 2015

Worship

Join us as together we praise our Creator on Sunday mornings. [Scroll down to view older posts.]

PUCC Lenten Journey – Day 10, February 27

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Praying by Mary Oliver

 

It doesn’t have to be

the blue iris, it could be

weeds in a vacant lot, or a few

small stones; just pay

attention, then patch

a few words together and don’t try

to make them elaborate, this isn’t

a contest but the doorway

into thanks, and a silence in which

another voice may speak.

 

*****

 

What is prayer like for you – your images, successes, struggles?

How can you try old and new ways of praying this Lent?

 

Know that you are being prayed for this season!

Winter—Spring Concert Series

winter - spring concert series
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Winter—Spring Concert Series

winter - spring concert seriesThursdays – Saturdays starting in March | 7:00pm | Historic Sanctuary           

#WCS2015 is an 8 week concert series that features live performances of original work by Jay-B and local artists. As part of the Jay-B Saffold Project, the winter concert series seeks to provide performance opportunities for artists; while creating awareness and support for the independent arts community in Saint Louis. Spotlight Lounge invites you to join us for family-friendly music, dance, comedy and more.

 

This event starts in March and we are still looking for performers as well!

For more info visit Spotlightlounge.org or contact Jay-B Saffold: Jaybnation@gmail.com 3149540274 | spotlightlounge.org               

Jay-B’s Spotlight Lounge, Inc.

Holy Week 2015

holy Week 2015
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holy Week 2015

Sing with us at Holy Week Services!

Essen, Germany, the church choir sings on the occasion of the change of concerts Hochschulchoere
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Choir Call

Essen, Germany, the church choir sings on the occasion of the change of concerts HochschulchoereIf you would like to sing with the choir but can’t come on a regular basis, please consider joining us for Holy Week and Easter. We will present special music on Good Friday (April 3) and Easter (April 5). We’ll rehearse this music on Wednesdays from 6:30-8:00 p.m. beginning March 18. If you’d like to sing with us, simply come to choir rehearsal on Wednesday evenings. You are most welcome!

PUCC Lenten Journey – Day 9, February 26

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iGod – ideas and images of God

 

“There is the essence of God and there are the attributes of God. The essence is impossible for us to understand. We can begin to understand the attributes. In fact, part of a Sufi education is to understand those attributes in yourself. God has said, ‘My servants will find Me as they see Me.’ This does not mean if you think of God as a tree or as a mountain that God will be that tree or mountain. If you think of God as merciful, or loving, or as angry or vengeful, that is how you will find God.” – Sheik Muzaffer Ozak

 

Lent is a perfect time to think about God in old and new ways.

 

On Ash Wednesday, we sang the Doxology after the Offering with these words -

 

Praise God whose many names abound;

Our Judge, our Rock, Our Holy Ground,

Our Home, our All, Earth’s Majesty,

Love, Spirit, Light and Mystery.  Amen.

 

Do you have images or ideas about God that you’d like to share?

 

kevin@parkwayucc.org

 

PUCC Lenten Journey – Day 8, February 25

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One spiritual discipline for Lent is reading scripture in old and new ways.
 

I find that the Psalms speak to all circumstances and situations in our lives. They are the poems and hymns of our ancestors in faith. You may have a few psalms that seem to speak to you directly. I have always found Psalm 139 to be one of the psalms I appreciate most. It fits well during this season of Lent as we work to know ourselves better – even as we acknowledge and appreciate how well God knows us and loves us. Each line is filled with meaning and covenant promise/fulfillment. 
 What do you think of Psalm 139? 

Do you have a favorite psalm? Which one? Why is it significant for you?
 Let us know… kevin@parkwayucc.org


Psalm 139:1-18  (NRSV: New Revised Standard Version)

O Lord, you have searched me and known me.

 

You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from far away.
You search out my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways.
 Even before a word is on my tongue, O Lord, you know it completely.
 You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.
 

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is so high that I cannot attain it.
 Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence?
 If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.
 If I take the wings of the morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me fast.
 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light around me become night,” even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is as bright as the day, for darkness is as light to you.
 For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; that I know very well.
 My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
 Your eyes beheld my unformed substance. In your book were written all the days that were formed for me, when none of them as yet existed.
 How weighty to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!
 I try to count them-they are more than the sand; I come to the end-I am still with you.

 

PUCC Lenten Journey – Day 7, February 24

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I receive several daily devotions. Mike Piazza’s is consistently the best one. This entry from yesterday is powerful. It calls us to faithfulness and accountability during this season of Lent. You may want to sign up to receive his daily devotion…. http://progressiverenewal.org/category/liberating-word/

You may also want to be a part of a workshop that Mike is leading in our Missouri Mid-South Conference on Thursday, June 4 in Columbia as part of our Conference Annual Gathering… CAG — more details to come …

 

What action(s) might you take right after you read and ponder this piece below?

Yesterday, as we do every year on the first Sunday of Lent, we read the story of how Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tested for 40 days and 40 nights. Those who created the lectionary (a calendar for which scriptures are read when in most churches) obviously thought there is a parallel between Jesus’ 40 days of fasting and struggle and what we should be experiencing. 

Unfortunately, fewer and fewer of us seem to seriously engage the Lenten struggle. That is a shame and, perhaps even, dangerously tragic. You see too many of us refuse to willingly participate in the struggle, and that refusal is leading to disastrous consequences. I probably should offer an example.

 

Most of the folks who read this are progressive Christians. (I ran off the conservatives long ago.) We don’t doubt that climate change exists, and we acknowledge that human activity, at the very least, has exacerbated the danger. We worry about our children and grandchildren: Will they be able to breathe? Will the depleted ozone layer expose everyone to increasing levels of skin cancer? Will rising sea levels make coastal cities extinct? On and on goes our list of worries.

 

It is all so overwhelming that our routine defense is simply to shut down and not think about it at all. As a result, those of us who acknowledge the reality and dangers of climate change don’t modify our behavior or lifestyle any more than climate change deniers. They deny, so they don’t feel the need to slow their consumption, or recycle, or drive less, or change their behavior in any way. We believe, and that leaves us so overwhelmed that we, too, do little or make token changes to ease our consciences.

 

Now, I get how debilitating anxiety over global issues can be. We cannot worry about all that is wrong in the world all the time. It would drain and immobilize us. However, for Lent, we can choose to take issues such as global warming and be ruthlessly honest about how we contribute more to the problem than to the solution. We can repent, and we can seek to live differently.

 

If we don’t let the Spirit lead us into the wilderness of honest self-examination during Lent, when will we?

 

Blessings,  

Rev. Michael Piazza 

The Center for Progressive Renewal

progressiverenewal.org

 

 

PUCC Lenten Journey – Day 6, February 23

9fc6a4d1-aca4-421d-99a7-0810c04f111b
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9fc6a4d1-aca4-421d-99a7-0810c04f111bOur Hebrew Scripture Lesson from yesterday was Genesis 9:8-17

(see below)

 

As we grow from children to teens to young adults to older adults, Bible stories speak to us in different ways. We should ask more sophisticated questions of the texts. For example, the way we think about the story of Noah’s Ark at 3 years old should be quite different from how we think about it at 13 or 30 or 55 or 97.

 

When we were young we likely got excited about the animals and the rainbow, not thinking too much about more than that.

 

As we matured, we started asking different kinds of questions:

 

How was Noah able to build that ark? Were there others that tried to build one too? What did Noah’s relatives, friends and neighbors think about all of this? Were there dinosaurs on the ark? Did the animals all get along? What did they eat – especially the ones whose diets consisted of some of the other animals? How did arctic animals and desert animals co-exist on the ark? Who cleaned up their waste? What happened to the ark after it landed on dry land? How did one family repopulate the world? Why did God promise not to destroy the earth again by flood – in order to leave open the possibility that God would destroy it in another way? How many other versions of this story exist in other cultures and traditions? Is this story of Noah’s Ark true?

 

At any age along the way, we might also ask ourselves:

 

Does it matter if this really happened? If the story isn’t true (as in ‘factual’), where is the truth in the story? What can we learn about God, self, one another and creation through this story? How do I relate to people who take this Bible story literally?

 

**

 

Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, “As for me, I am establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the domestic animals, and every animal of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark. I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.”

 

God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.”

 

PUCC Lenten Journey – Day 5, February 22

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re-lentWe hope to see you this morning for worship at 9:30am Traditional or 11:00am Informal …
It’s the first Sunday of Lent! We are on our way to Holy Week and Easter.
One of the things we will be doing this Lent is living into the list above. 
Take a look at it and choose a few to focus on this season.
As you work on your identified priorities in the days and weeks ahead, you will surely have some struggles and successes. Please consider letting us know about them by reaching out to me. We’d like to build community by sharing our stories.
Thank you!                   
kevin@parkwayucc.org  

PUCC Lenten Journey – Day 4, February 21

smiling pope
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smiling popeLaughter is good for the body, mind and spirit. Find old and new ways to laugh this Lent. Joy is just one of the many gifts we are given. 


The chauffeur . . . 

 

The Pope had just finished a tour of the East Coast and was taking a limousine to Logan Airport. Having never driven a limo, he asked the chauffeur if he could drive for a while. Well, the chauffeur didn’t have much of a choice, so he climbs in the back of the limo and the Pope takes the wheel.

 

The Pope proceeds onto 128, and starts accelerating to see what the limo could do. He gets to about 90 mph, and suddenly he sees the blue lights of the State Troopers in his mirror. He pulls over and the trooper comes to the window.

 

The trooper, seeing who it was, says, “Just a moment please, I need to call in.” The trooper calls in and asks for the chief. He tells the chief that he’s got a REALLY important person pulled over, and asks for her advice.

 

“It’s not another Kennedy is it?” replies the chief.

 

“No, Mam!” replies the trooper. “This guy’s more important.”

 

“Is it Deval Patrick?” replies the chief.

 

“No! Even more important!” says the trooper.

 

“Is it the PRESIDENT??” replies the chief.

 

 

“No! Even more important!” replies the trooper.

 

“Well WHO is it?” screams the chief.

 

“I don’t know Mam,” replies the trooper, “but he’s got the Pope as his chauffeur.”