2021 Message series
We have all been thrust into a world that we are still only beginning to understand. The way we have done things, thought about things, and approached some of the most fundamental parts of our lives is going to need to change in the coming days and years.
As followers of Jesus the Christ, our call is to love. Our ethic is love. Love is our source, and love is at the heart of our identity. And yet, to live as if this were true — body, heart, and mind — will require some significant transformation.
In many ways, the kind of learning required is really UNLEARNING. The critical and difficult task of re-examining our assumptions, our patterns of behavior, our fundamental values, and the systems that we have put our faith in will be essential. To look again through the lens of the God of love is an act of ongoing courage.
We aren’t interested in throwing out the baby with the bath water. We need, more than ever, to re-examine what lies beneath the surface so we can ensure it will help us to build what is most needed for the world right now. The good news is that we won’t be facing these challenges alone. The unlearning that is before us will be best done in community.
January / February: What God’s Love Really Looks LIke
The Season of Epiphany: Making Love Visible
The season of Epiphany in the church is all about the ways in which God reveals God’s self to us as a people. In these early weeks of the year, we will begin by exploring what God’s love looks like and the curious, surprising, and powerful ways that it is revealed. As we do so, we will engage in the sacraments every week, as we try to have tangible ways of making sense of this love and nourishing ourselves for the journey. We will also read smaller chunks of Scripture each week (starting Jan 10) Lectio Divina style to allow ourselves to be immersed in the words and hear them more fully.
January 3 — UNLEARNING FOUNDATIONS
John 1:14-18 (The Message)
Remembrance of Baptism
We begin with the crucial story that we are loved… no matter what. The incarnation was God’s plan from the beginning: Emmanuel, God with us. God’s arrival is not because of our sin, but because of a great LOVE for us.
January 10 — MAKING LOVE VISIBLE
Ephesians 3:9-11 (The Mirror Bible)
The first initiative of God was Christ, the desire for the goodness and truth and love of God to become VISIBLE. This initiative was first revealed in creation and then in the person of Jesus of Nazareth.
January 17 — LOVE LIVES IN COMMUNITY
John 14:10-11 (The Mirror Bible)
The very essence of the love of God is linked to the Trinity. The love shared by the Father and the Son — by the Creator and the Begotten one — gives birth to the generative Spirit. Love keeps growing more love. The community of the divine is absent of hierarchy but all about oneness — relationship. You see one and you see the other.
We invite you to download and print this week’s Message Notes with the scripture and reflection questions to do when prompted during worship or on your own.
January 24 — LOVE DOESN’T CLING
Philippians 2:5-7 (The Mirror Bible)
The love of God was so great that it did not cling to anything — including the very nature of divinity itself. The revelation of Christ and the emptying of God into human form was an ultimate act of love itself. Not even clinging to the outcome that led to death.
January 31 — LOVE REDEEMS ALL THINGS
Philippians 2:8-11 (The Mirror Bible)
This love was willing to go ALL the way to death. The revelation was that nothing could separate us anymore from the love of God. No sin, no brokenness, and not even death. This is ultimate salvation from our separation. The way was made for UNION.
February 7 — LOVE HAS A DESTINATION
John 17:20-23 (The Mirror Bible)
Renewal of Baptism
The desire of God has always been for us “to be capable of receiving the fullest measure of God’s goodness and glory” (Duns Scotus). Our destination is union with God, the Kingdom of God, Heaven. This is the “place” we are headed.
February 14 — LOVE SEEKS PERFECTION
Perfection for Jesus was about being perfected in love. It was about being complete.
Wednesday, February 17 — ASH WEDNESDAY, The Beginning of Lent