January 30, 2015

Worship

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

10 Reasons to Join Parkway’s Choir

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Give in to your Inner Diva! Ten Reasons to Join Parkway’s Choir

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  1. Flexibility and convenience: We practice Wednesday nights 6:30-8:00pm, but choir is forgiving if you need to take a night off. Plus there is child care! Or Youth Night. Wow! How ’bout that, you parents. (Parents of youths can save gas by hanging out and singing instead of making two round trips.) We also take the summer off!
  2. Premium Parking: Because we meet at 8:45am for practice before 9:30am service, choir members always can get front row parking.
  3. Professional: Parkway has a wonderful professional choir director—we are made familiar with a wide variety of worship music and learn lots about ensemble singing. She knows so much. And never wastes our t
  4. Expand your prayer life: Did you know “He/she who sings in church prays twice!”
  5. Increase your Bible knowledge: Learning Church music is Bible Study. Psalms, hymns, OT, NT, etc. and Spirituals. (my personal faves.)
  6. No dress code: We wear robes, so you can come to church in PJs if you want and no one will know.
  7. Laugh with us: We have a wonderful group of comedians, mostly tenors, but all voices can play. Much laughter before and after (never during) our work on our music. Choir is fun.
  8. We are family: The choir is a special Christian community within a community. We have love, love, love. Almost always.
  9. We need you: Several of our key voices and their owners are in England for several months—we need more singers.
  10. All are welcome: There are no auditions and no critics. Any gift is welcome. Come join and help us scatter joy.

Singing can have some of the same effects as exercise, like the release of endorphins, which gives the singer an overall “lifted” feeling and is associated with stress reduction. It’s also an aerobic activity, meaning it gets more oxygen into the blood for better circulation, which tends to promote a good mood. And singing necessitates deep breathing, another anxiety reducer.

 

Interested? Contact us. Or simply join us on Wednesday evenings from 6:30-8:00pm! You are most welcome!

January 2015 Worship Notes

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January 4 | 9:30am & 11:00am | Communion | Give-a-Meal
Scripture: Isaiah 60:1-6; Matthew 2:1-12
Message: Drawn to the Light
Theme: What attracts your attention? What is it about Jesus and the Nativity story grips us and draws us throughout the year? When do others see the light in us?

January 11 | 9:30am & 11:00am
Scripture: Psalm 29; Acts 19:1-7
Message: Hearts and Lives Changed
Theme: John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus. John baptized to open people’s hearts & lives…They were ready when Jesus came and baptized with the Holy Spirit—and the Spirit baptizes over and over again…to continually change/renew us.

January 18 | 9:30am & 11:00am
Scripture: 1Samuel 3:1-10; John 1:43-54
Message: Get Up and Go
Theme: Samuel is called multiple times—he gets up and goes to find voice. Jesus calls the disciples—they listen to him and follow him…We can’t just hear the call, we need to get up and go—again and again. We may be called to familiar places by a voice we know well…or we may be called by other voices to different places.

January 25 | 10:00am One Family Worship
Scripture: Jonah 3:1-5, 10; Mark 1:14-20
Message: Say It Again
Theme: Jonah was not aligned with the culture/people of Nineveh. There is a desire to be aligned with like-minded/hearted/spirited that hear a similar call. Jonah teaches us that God invites us to tell others where they could be more faithful, that’s a call not to deny, deflect, delay…

Christmas Moment – December 25, 2014

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[Highlight: Love is entering in … feel it – believe it – share it!]

 

The Risk of Birth by Madeleine L’Engle

This is no time for a child to be born,
With the earth betrayed by war & hate
And a comet slashing the sky to warn
That time runs out & the sun burns late.

 

That was no time for a child to be born,

In a land in the crushing grip of Rome;
Honor & truth were trampled by scorn-
Yet here did the Savior make his home.

 

When is the time for love to be born?
The inn is full on the planet earth,
And by a comet the sky is torn-
Yet Love still takes the risk of birth.

 

***

Nativity in the Gospels  (Luke 2:1-20)

In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. 

In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for see-I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, 

‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, 

and on earth peace among those whom he favors!’

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.’ So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.  

 

Merry Christmas!

 

 

2841 N Ballas Road | Saint Louis, Missouri 63131
314-872-9330 | www.parkwayucc.org

 

 

Advent Moment – December 24, 2014

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Advent Moment – December 24, 2014… Parkway UCC

 

 
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[Highlight: Open the door wide and turn on the light.]

 

Once upon a time, there was a man who looked upon Christmas as a lot of humbug. He wasn’t a Scrooge. He was a very kind and decent person, generous to his family, upright in all his dealings with other people.


But he didn’t believe all that stuff about God becoming human, which churches proclaim at Christmas. Why would God want to do anything like that?


So when his family left to attend midnight services on Christmas Eve, he stayed home. Shortly after the family drove away, snow began to fall. He went to the window and watched the flurries getting heavier and heavier. Some time later, as he was reading his newspaper by the fire, he was startled by a thudding sound that was quickly followed by another.


Then another.


When he went to investigate, he found a flock of birds huddled miserably in the snow. They had been caught in the storm, and in a desperate search for shelter had tried to fly through the window. I can’t let these poor creatures lie there and freeze, he thought. But how can I help them? Then he remembered the barn. It would provide a warm shelter. He quickly put on his coat and boots and tramped through the deepening snow to the barn. He opened the doors wide and turned on the light.


But the birds didn’t come in.


Food will bring them in, he thought. So he hurried back to the house for breadcrumbs, which he sprinkled on the snow to make a trail into the barn.


To his dismay, the birds ignored the breadcrumbs and continued to flop around helplessly in the snow. He tried shooing them into the barn by walking around and waving his arms. They scattered in every direction – except into the warm, lighted barn.


They find me a strange and terrifying creature, he said to himself, and I can’t seem to think of any way to let them know they can trust me.

If only I could be a bird myself for a few minutes, perhaps I could lead them to safety.

Just at that moment, the church bells began to ring. He stood silently for a while, listening to the bells pealing out the glad tidings of Christmas.


Then he sank to his knees in the snow. “Now I understand,” he whispered. “Now I see why You had to do it.”


-Author unknown

 

 

2841 N Ballas Road | Saint Louis, Missouri 63131
314-872-9330 | www.parkwayucc.org
 

 

 

Advent Moment – December 23, 2014

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[Highlight: Wisdom and love from a grieving family in Sandy Hook, CT]

 

On the morning of December 14th, 2012, Jesse McCord Lewis walked out of his house and down the driveway towards his father who was waiting to drive him to school. Along the way, Jesse stopped to write a message with his finger in the frost on his mother’s car: “I love you.” Just hours later, Jesse was gone. He was one of the 26 victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Newtown, Connecticut.

 

This list below – “Ways to Choose Love” – will surely help us to make some good choices today. Please share this list and your intentions to live love with others. This isn’t just an idea for Advent 4: LOVE….

 

1. Choose to replace an angry thought with a loving thought (even if you don’t feel it in your heart – it will almost instantly make you feel better and set your mind on a different path)

 

2. Love yourself unconditionally for one day.

 

3. Trust yourself – and say it in your mind when you start to doubt yourself.

 

4. Be brave – act boldly.


5. Speak your truth gently.


6. Be kind instead of right.

 

7. For one day, be judgment free – (even with yourself) – accept you are worthy, accept your body, your hair, your abilities, your wisdom.

 

8. Treat someone as you would like to be treated. Practice a soft answer – which turns away wrath.


9. Send love and blessings to the car that just cut you off.

 
10. Listen in created stillness to the answers you already know.

 

11. Call a friend who is sick.


12. Set your intention for the day (remember) to be kind, compassionate, grateful.

 

13. Be kind to yourself.

 

14. Choose faith over fear.

 

15. Write out positive affirmations (‘All is well’ for example) and post them where you can see them throughout the day.

 

16. Smile at someone and say hello – instead of brushing shoulders and not acknowledging them.

 

17. Leave a treat for a teacher or postal worker or ….

 

18. Take dinner to a family in distress.

 

19. Take magazines, books, dvds to a hospital.

 

20. Take food to a food bank or volunteer for a shift in a soup kitchen.


21. Smile and laugh with your children.


22. Be present.

 

23. For 15 minutes, work on a project that’s been hanging over your head.

 

24,.Write down three things you are grateful for – you may even start a journal.


25. Really listen to someone.

 

26. Be mindful of what goes on around you – listen to birdsong, really taste your food.

 

27. Be aware of your thoughts.

 

28. Look for the good in a day.

 

29. Look out the window and notice the beauty of the trees.


30. Fix yourself a cup of hot tea just the way you like it.

 

31. Be still. Listen to your inner wisdom.

 

32. Be aware of synchronicities that occur in your life.

 

33. Share a compassionate act you did with someone close to you. Try to do this often. It will set the tone and intention for being compassionate every day.

 

The Jesse Lewis Choose Love Foundation collaborates with professional educators to bring lasting meaning to Jesse’s murder by developing school-based educational programs to change our current culture of violence to one of safety, peace and love for everyone in our world.This is the single guiding principle, the sole purpose and motto of our work: Teaching Others to Choose Love.

 

 

2841 N Ballas Road | Saint Louis, Missouri 63131
314-872-9330 | www.parkwayucc.org

 

 

Advent Moment – December 22, 2014

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[Highlight: God sends Jesus for all the people.]


Remember, it’s not just for you that Christ comes. He was born for the whole world. The circle in the logo of the United Church of Christ is a globe; is the earth. Pick a country you don’t know. Pick one you can’t pronounce. Pick one you never thought about and pin its name on your Christmas tree or other prominent place in your home. Look it up. Read its history. Find books by its authors. Go online and listen to its language. Hear its music. Look at images. What about their foods – fruits, vegetables, recipes? Be reminded by this that Jesus did not share your passport, and he never even heard the English language. 

 

- UCC Daily Devotion

 

2841 N Ballas Road | Saint Louis, Missouri 63131
314-872-9330 | www.parkwayucc.org

 

 

Advent Moment – December 21, 2014

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[Highlight: Fear, Joy and Love can be close together — this on the day we switch to LOVE (Advent Week 4) from JOY (Advent Week 3)]


“Do Not Be Afraid”

or

“Sunrise at the Desert Retreat House”

 

When I was a parish priest, one of the members of my congregation decided that I didn’t smile enough, so whenever she saw me she’d look me straight in the eyes and tell me to “smile.” At first, I would just slap a big smile on my face when she told me to do so, but after a while her campaign began to annoy me, so one day I asked her: “Why do you always want and expect to see me smiling?” She told me that Christians (especially priests) are supposed to be happy so they should look like they are.  

 

I think I was so annoyed with that well-meaning parishioner’s efforts to get me to smile all the time because I don’t for a second believe that we should always be happy- joyful, yes, but not always happy.  


There is a big difference between being happy and being joyful.

If you look at the biblical texts in both the Hebrew Scriptures as well as the New Testament, you almost never see the word “happy;” but the word “joy” is used consistently. In fact, Saint Paul tells one of his congregations:

 

Rejoice in the Lord always, I say it again, rejoice!

 

Christians in those early days were being persecuted, tortured, sent to be chewed up by lions. Was Saint Paul telling the people that they should always be happy? “Have a big smile on your face when they throw you into the lion’s den?” I hardy think so. Instead he was telling them to be joyful – in all circumstances of life (even when life is at its worst), be joyful.

 

We experience “happiness” when we feel content, when life seems to be working out for us- the job is going well, there’s enough cash in the account, everyone is healthy.  But, of course life doesn’t always work out that way. From time to time every single one of us has personal problems, relationship problems, financial issues, health issues. On top of that we live in a world that is often very scary and quite chaotic at times- terrorism and torture, beheadings and Ebola flood our minds on a day to day basis. 


Some may think that the opposite of joy is “sadness,” but the fact is that opposite of joy is “fear.”  As I see it, there are plenty of times when I might not feel happy, plenty of reasons not to have a big smile, but I honestly believe that I can indeed always be joyful because the bottom line is that I do not need to be afraid of anything in life, come what may. In fact, I don’t even have to be afraid of death. 


At this time of year I call to mind the beautiful poetry of the Christmas story. Shepherds are sound asleep in the Bethlehem hills as a baby is born in a manger. Suddenly the skies are lit up by angelic spirits dancing in the cosmos waking the shepherds from their slumber. The sleepy-eyed shepherds are filled with fear and dread and so the angels sing a love song to them- a song to calm their fears:

Do not be afraid, we bring good news of great joy!

 

The angels do not tell the fear-filled shepherds to be happy- they tell them to be joyful because of the good news that “God” abides, love abides, and in the end, love will win the day.


You certainly don’t have to be a Christian to hear the song of the angels. They dance their cosmic dance and sing their tender song of love to all humankind -to all our sleepy, fearful hearts. They tell us that we don’t ever have to be afraid in this wilderness of life: “God” abides, love abides, and in the end “love” will win the day.

 

I just realized that I am not smiling right now, but I am in fact very joyful! 


I say it again, rejoice!

 

- Paul Kowalewski

 

2841 N Ballas Road | Saint Louis, Missouri 63131
314-872-9330 | www.parkwayucc.org

 

 

Advent Moment – December 20, 2014

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[Highlight: Celebrating the last day of Joy – Advent week 3]

Isaiah 55:12-13 (The Message)

“So you’ll go out in joy,
    you’ll be led into a whole and complete life.
The mountains and hills will lead the parade,
    bursting with song.
All the trees of the forest will join the procession,
    exuberant with applause.
No more thistles, but giant sequoias,
    no more thornbushes, but stately pines-
Monuments to me, to God,
    living and lasting evidence of God.”

 

When was the last time you found yourself

Whistling,

Tapping,

Humming,

Smiling,

Skipping,

Snapping,

Dancing,

Clapping,

Giggling?

 

Why not do these things more often!?

 

Joy to the World!

Joy to you!

Joy to the World through you!

 

2841 N Ballas Road | Saint Louis, Missouri 63131
314-872-9330 | www.parkwayucc.org
 

 

 

Advent Moment – December 19, 2014

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[Highlight: Move over, “Keep the Christ in Christmas” as we say, “Keep the Christ in Christian”!]

 

Keep the Christ in Christian!

Feed the hungry.

Shelter the homeless.

Welcome immigrants.

Forgive others.

Embrace outsiders.

Share with those in need.

Advocate for the marginalized.

Confront those abusing power.

Value the religions of others.


- unknown

 

2841 N Ballas Road | Saint Louis, Missouri 63131
314-872-9330 | www.parkwayucc.org

 

 

Advent Moment – December 18, 2014

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[Highlight: Snow is a covenant of love… and snow is in today’s forecast!]


Simply Love Us by Mary Luti

“But after me comes one who is more powerful than I,
whose sandals I am not worthy to carry.” – Matthew 3:11

John the Baptist says he isn’t worthy of the one who is coming, but it’s not
because the One who is coming is a powerful big shot. It’s because the
power of the One who is coming is love, and he is coming to love us.

If John feels unworthy, it’s because he is unworthy. When it comes to
the heart of the matter – love indiscriminate and unaccountable – no one is worthy. Thus the question of worthiness is forever the wrong question. Love does not require worth; love bestows it.

Sometimes we work hard for the kingdom as if it were all up to us.
Being driven by holy duty is not bad, but the One who comes offers
something better – life and work that spring from the unending
well of worth bestowed. God wants us to be loved, and to know it.

Loved like that, we can rest as well as toil, keep still as well as
speak, let go as well as commit. Loved like that, we can welcome
without anxiety, wait without control, love as we are loved.

Love is first, love remains, love is all in all.

There comes Another. “Amidst ten thousand losses and swirling joys”
we wait. For the one who truly loves us, simply loves us, only loves
us, loves us, loves us.

PRAYER: Advent, by Patricia Van Ness

Amidst ten thousand losses and swirling joys
At this very instant
On this sacred Earth
I wait.
Come to us,
Beauty, Wisdom, Goodness, Peace,
Solace, Grace, Counsel, Love.

Through the open archway this cold night
Air, rich as gold, flows.

Fine snow glistens on our faces.
Each flake,
Every exquisite crystal blossom
Is a covenant of your love
Told a thousand thousand times. Amen

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mary Luti is Interim Senior Pastor, Wellesley Village Church, Wellesley, Massachusetts.

2841 N Ballas Road | Saint Louis, Missouri 63131
314-872-9330 | www.parkwayucc.org