the United Church of Christ/Disciples of Christ of St. Augustine
Lent is often known as a time of giving something up in order to make room in our lives for spiritual pursuits. Rather than just 'giving up' in Lent, this year, the scriptures invite us to consider all that Jesus is 'up to' and all that he asks us to be up to as his followers.
What pursuits are you up to, in your life which call you to be your best self?
What pursuits are we up to as the church?
Worship with us at 10:00 a.m. each Sunday
Join us for a Souper Supper each Wednesday at 6:00 p.m.
February 14, 6:00 p.m.
"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume, and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven..." -Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21
As we begin this Lenten season, we contemplate the essence and the substance of our lives. Do we spend time reaching for "must haves" that our culture says we need? Or are we storing up the things that bring us closer to the reign of God, the good things--- the treasures-- that fill us and others with well-being of mind, body and spirit.
Sunday, February 18th
"In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him…. 'You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.'" Mark 1:9-15
On this 1st Sunday of Lent, the series brings us to the moment when Jesus comes up out of the waters of baptism to hear, "You are my beloved." We are called to come up out of the depths of whatever seeks to keep us under and know that we are beloved of God. Come up, for now is the time to be fully who you are created to be for the sake of the world.
Sunday, February 25th
"If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me." Mark 8:31-38
Jesus was very clear that following him might not be a smooth ride. He was bound to choose the just way, not the easy way, through life. TO take up the cross was to lose one's life-- to let go of certain expectations of safety and acceptance in order to stand for the Gospel message of love. How are we to take up the causes of Jesus- justice, righteousness and mercy-- in our day?
Sunday, March 4th
"Jesus answered them, 'Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up…' But he was speaking of the temple of his body."
The story of Jesus' response to the temple being made into a marketplace was profound and may have been another step toward his ultimate demise on the cross. He refers to raising up a new temple in three days -- something his disciples later remembered as a foretelling of his resurrection. How might we raise up as the Body of Christ and be a holy temple -- a holy dwelling place of God-- in the world?
"Light UP" Sunday, March 11th
"For those who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God." John 3:14-21
Verse 16 is probably one of the most infamous and oft-quoted scripture in the Bible. What follows that verse is important for our Lenten journey. God did not send Jesus to condemn the world, but to offer it saving light. As believers in that light, we are called to be those who will continue to light up the world through our lives so that the world might see the hope it years for.
Sunday, March 18th
"And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself."
"When nothing else would help, love lifted me!" says the old Gospel song. To be lifted up is to be drawn into the love of God Jesus drew all kinds of people to him during his short tenure on earth, drawing no boundaries for who was invited into that love. As his hour to die drew nearer, he spread the message that all things would be enveloped in his love even after he was gone. What uplifting message will we pass on to others?
Sunday, March 25th
"So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him….Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it; as it is written: 'Do not be afraid, daughter of Zion. Look, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey's colt!" John 12:12-16
Make no mistake, the powers-that-be in Jerusalem sat up and took notice at the actions of Jesus and his motley crew of palm-waving followers on that morning. It was a show of the "power" of love and justice for the "least of these," in stark juxtaposition to the military might of the Roman rulers. I t was a non-violent action featuring a man sitting on a donkey - an action that has offered hope throughout the ages. Will we sit up and take notice of the injustice in this world and work to eradicate it in ways that honor that first Palm Sunday parade?
Easter Sunday, April 1
"When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back." Mark 16:1-8
Three days had passed. The women went to the tomb to anoint Jesus' body, according to custom. No doubt the journey to the tomb was heavy. Perhaps the approached with heads lowered in defeat and grief. But then they looked up and it changed their lives. The barrier that they thought would be there was gone and what they discovered instead was life. Will we look up? Will we look up from our complacency, apathy, fear and depression about "the way things are" and be filled with the promise of new life and hope yet again?