Exploring Our Life Together: Reading Scripture

Following the Prayers of the People and an anthem from the choir, we often have a moment for the public reading of scripture. We see this tradition in the early church in Paul’s advice to Timothy (1 Timothy 4:13) which is similar to the example of Jesus (Luke 4:16-20) and other rabbis. A portion of scripture is selected and read aloud before it is explained and discussed. Some church traditions follow a calendar, called a

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Exploring Our Life Together: Prayers of the People

Most of the time, we think of prayer as a private, quiet conversation with God. Following the Passing of the Peace, we share a moment together with the Prayers of the People when concerns and celebrations from the congregation are collected and shared. There are times when our public prayers reiterate tragedy and uncertainty, such as health concerns, natural disasters, and loss. These types of life circumstances are also those for which we have the

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Library Collection

I love books. I use an app called Libib to track my books and it is, by far, the best way that I have tried to organize myself. (I don’t get a commission on this, btw.) Easy-to-use app with barcode scanner and a website for entering ISBNs or doing manual entry. Automatically imports book descriptions and the search functions look up all fields, so even if your book is about something that isn’t in the title, it

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Exploring Our Life Together: Gloria Patri

The Gloria Patri, or “Glory Be” hymn is an English translation of the Latin text, “Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto. Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in sæcula sæculorum. Amen.” This short prayer has been used by the Latin-speaking church since its inception as a way to declare in unison its primary convictions. It expresses a trinitatian theology, which was an essential piece of early European thought, the eternal presence

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Review: The Soul of an American President

What interested me in this book is the tendency for Eisenhower to be adopted by both Republican and Democrat leaders and a somewhat mythological figure from recent American history. As the authors point out, there are military and political biographies of Eisenhower but no detailed account of his personal faith. As a pacifist and critic of jingoism and militarism, I have an uneasy relationship with the General, yet I also admire the statement in his

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Review: Rescuing Jesus

Review: Rescuing Jesus

Rescuing Jesus: How People of Color, Women, and Queer Christians are Reclaiming Christianity, by Deborah Jian Lee (Beacon Press, 2015), is a book that has been on my radar for a while that I was finally able to pick up from my local library and spend the time reading. It follows the stories of characters who are struggling to identify within their Conservative Evangelical worlds and also integrate their themselves on the basis of race,

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Exploring Our Life Together: A Lord’s Prayer

Of all of the elements that combine to form our liturgy, the most familiar may be the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer. This prayer is used by many denominations and is part of popular culture and media. The words are lifted from Matthew 6:9-13 (which has a parallel in Luke 11:2-4) which is part of a series of teachings from Jesus about living one’s spirituality.  In the context of Matthew 6, the disciples ask Jesus

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Exploring Our Life Together: Responsive Readings

As part of our Call to Worship, we practice a Responsive Reading, where the Lay Leader and Congregation alternate reading a short paragraph. A selection typically parallels a portion of scripture or thought that fits with the overall theme of the morning. Sometimes we use song lyrics because of their cadence and rhyme to help stick in our minds and connect with the morning’s message. Speaking together has a unifying effect that helps us to

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Exploring Our Life Together: Song (2)

Last week’s article focused on why we sing together, but there are many different options of what we can choose to sing. Throughout much of Christian history, music has been vocal chants and psalms, while our liturgy will typically use hymns and praise songs for our group singing. Martin Luther and the Wesley brothers, who composed many new hymns as part of their evangelism, leaned heavily on melodies and musical structures that were already enjoyed

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Exploring Our Life Together: Song

Music is all around us- in the car, under commercials, in stores, and whenever we get a song stuck in our heads. Music is one of the few universal human behaviors that exists in all cultures and expresses the breadth of our diversity. Music has a unique evocative power, which is why the Church has turned to music for expression from their earliest gatherings.  In 110, the Roman governor Pliny the Younger sent a report

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