Series: Spiritual Affective Disorder

lantern-3-smallDoes the winter have you down already? Feeling in the dark?

Maybe it’s time to let in a little Light!

No laughing matter, Seasonal Affective Disorder impacts anywhere from 10-25% of the adult population in the United States, in forms ranging from mild to severe. The lack of sunlight, combined with prolonged time indoors away from the cold, can impair a person’s mood, energy level, and functioning.

Similarly, the lack of spiritual engagement and activity can leave us feeling lethargic, listless, and unhappy with ourselves and the world around us. Living lives that are overcrowded and busy, or uncertain and even disturbing, causes a kind of “Spiritual Affective Disorder.”

Now, at the turn of the year, we will explore everyday activities that can bolster our practical and spiritual lives, infusing light, hope, faith, and activity even into the midst of the cold and dark of a New England winter. By deepening our spiritual practices, perhaps we can bring a re-ordering to this dis-order, shed a little light on the situation, and navigate both the season and the life of the Spirit in ways that generate hope and health.

Each week, we will also be invited to use a take-home spiritual practice to try throughout the week. The try-this-at-home aspect of this series seeks to deepen our spiritual lives, and gives each of us the opportunity to reflect on which spiritual practices might nourish and sustain us.

Join us for worship this January and February season, and treat yourself and your Spiritual Affective Disorder to some light and love.

Sermons & Actions in this series: 
January 8 – Flip the Switch
Try at home: find time each day to light a candle and reflect (on) the Light.
January 15 – Charms to Soothe
Try at home: listen to some music that feeds your soul (some suggestions provided).
January 22 – Lighten the Mood
Try at home: do something just for fun!
January 29 – Make My Day
Try at home: make someone else’s day with a random act of kindness.
February 5 – Altars, Altars Everywhere
Try at home: create an altar or sacred space in your home.
February 12 – Leave Room for Dessert
Try at home: fast from excess so you can give more– clean out a closet or buy a little extra and donate something (non-perishable offerings received at church 2/19)
February 19 – Walk This Way
Try at home: move your body! Dance, walk, snowshoe, or ski. Join us after church today for a group walk!
February 26 – Get Up and Do Not Be Afraid
Try at home: make or find a motivational poster, mantra, or motto for yourself.

 

Sermon: The Only Constant

tradition-main“The Only Constant”

(December 4, 2016) During the time of the Prophet Isaiah and the time of John the Baptist, the people heard a voice crying out to prepare God’s way. Maybe it’s not that this voice, this call is constant, but that the deeper longing is constant: the longing for a God who dwells with humanity. The longing for God-With-Us. (Matthew 3:1-12; Isaiah 40:1-11)

Sermon: Reclaiming Tradition

tradition-main

“Reclaiming Tradition”

(November 27, 2016) When King Josiah and his people discovered the Word of God, buried in the Temple, they knew it was time to recommit to the faith of the past. Sometime, the Word of God is hidden in the rubble of old traditions and crumbled lives, and it’s up to us to dust it off, reclaim it, and let it reclaim us. (2 Kings 22: 1-10; 23:1-3)

Series: Tradition!

tradition-mainThe seasons of Advent and Christmas are filled with tradition—the traditions of ancient peoples, the traditions of the Christian church, the traditions of our own families. In our worship and life together this season, we will dig deeply into those traditions, and explore the life and love they carry. How did the Hebrew people preserve and teach their traditions throughout a long history of yearning for God, of drawing close and falling away?  How was Jesus the fulfillment of the traditions of his people, and what does it mean when traditions are born into something completely new?

And then there are the traditions that we learn, or make, or keep. Maybe your family has a special practice or an honored prayer. Maybe you decorate with particular ornaments or sing specific songs. Maybe there’s a family recipe, a treasured heirloom, a part of the holiday or the celebration or the worship service that is everything Christmas to you. How do these traditions carry the weight and the importance of all our rich history? How are they little fulfillments of God’s promise and presence in the birth of Christ?

This season, let us explore together the gifts of our traditions, and let us look for the ways in which God is bringing something new to life in the midst of the old, old story. Let us be shaped by the stories we learn and teach, and by how they are made new again. Are we ready to see a tradition be re-born among us? How does the ancient truth find new life each generation through the passing down and the celebration of Tradition?

Sermons in this series: 
November 27 – Reclaiming Tradition
December 4 – The Only Constant
December 11 – Sacred Foundations
(December 18 will be the children’s pageant)
December 24 – Old Truth, Newly Born
January 1 – Start a New Tradition

Sermon: I Wanna Be Reaching Out

outside-my-world-perspective“I Wanna Be Reaching Out”

(November 13, 2016) Poet, singer, and songwriter Leonard Cohen reminds us: “there is a crack in everything; that’s how the light comes in.” We see in our community, our nation, and our world many places of brokenness, many cracks and many places in need of love and light. May we as the people of God be those who bear the light, who carry God’s love, to all the broken places of the world. (Luke 21:5-19Isaiah 58:5-12)

A Prayer for November 9

14910528_10211362027667959_70667894929844823_nAt our Bible Study last week, I was challenged to write a prayer for after the election. This is what I came up with. What would you pray?

Prayer for November 9

Hope of every tomorrow,
Healer of shattered dreams and fragmented peoples,
boundless Lover of all the unknowns,
the undecideds,
the too-close-for-comfort and too-close-to-call,
the contested and exhausted,
those who lose no matter who wins,
the poll workers, pundits, and politicians too:
Today we begin to build ourselves into a people again.
Today we decide if Love knows a party,
if Grace can spring up where yard signs were planted.
Today, we need you. Maybe more than we did yesterday.
Maybe more than we know.
For what we have done: forgive us.
In what we have said: help us forgive one another.
With your grace and lovingkindness, heal the rifts and wounds, the anger spilled like bloodshed, the distrust sown like weeds.
Beyond any grudges, and broken hopes, and fears for the future that we harbor, help us glimpse a wider vision.
Encourage us to cling not to ideologies, but to one another,
in common peace,
in shared humanity.
Grounded in your Love which knows no end, may our hearts beat together in your song,
the rhythm of another new beginning.

Worship Series: Outside My Own Little World

outside-my-world-perspectiveThe world “out there” can be daunting, and it often feels easier to stay within the safety of our own perspectives and safe havens. But unless we open ourselves up, shift our perspectives, and take a good, reflective look, we risk living lives that are unexamined, unchallenged, and closed off to one another and to God. That’s the last thing we want!

This worship series will encourage us to open up and let others in—other people, other perspectives, the Holy Other. Beyond the stifling safety of “our own little worlds,” there is God’s far-flung, abundant, beloved, messy creation! There, we are called to live deeply in relationship with one another, to make a difference in our lives and in the world, and to be transformed into the image of Christ by God’s grace.

The title and theme of this worship series come from a song by Matthew West. You can view the official music video to catch a piece of this vision. But of course, we hope you’ll come join us for worship, as we together break beyond our safe little worlds!

Sermons in this series:
October 9 – I Try to Stay Awake
October 16 – What if There’s a Greater Purpose (Laity Sunday)
October 23 – Give me Open Hands and Open Doors
October 30 – Break My Heart for What Breaks Yours
November 6 – Look Me in the Eye
November 13 – I Wanna Be Reaching Out
November 20 – Start Living Right Now