Message from Pastor Karyn for April 2015

There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, on baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.
— Ephesians 4:4-6

I have been thinking about connections a lot lately. How relationships form, how faith grows and how God is tied to it all.

A month ago, a group of women gathered at Sugar Creek to talk about vocation. Sounds like a pretty dry topic and yet, through worship, conversation, sharing, learning, dancing and silence connections were made with one another and God and this seemingly dry topic became a dynamic vehicle of connection.

Last summer we began to invite some of our younger members to take a role in worship leadership, risking the possibility of mistakes during worship, and yet, what we have found is a group of members finding a way to use their gifts to enhance worship and connect with people they may never have connected with otherwise.
Christmas Eve the choir tried something new and those who worshiped with us that day were connected to God and one another in a way we hadn’t been before as the joy of Christ’s birth overflowed.

This fall the Strategic Plan was “unveiled” and full of ways that we as a congregation want to connect more with each other and our community.

Small groups have been gathering for the past 4 weeks and diving deeply into the image of the suffering servant, trusting each other with sacred conversation and holy listening.
More people are visiting the sick and lonely, more people are talking to people they don’t know at church, more people are taking initiative in ministry and Christ is present, the Spirit is moving.
It is hard not to think about connections when all around me I see ways that this community of faith is growing stronger and closer to one another and God.

Lent and Holy Week is not unlike planning a wedding—the time and energy put into it, the discipline given will make for a joyous celebration.
Holy Week, with services each day, calls us to the greatest of disciplines: time, silence and reflection.

As I write this, Holy Week is a mere 10 days away. It is the high point of the Christian year. This Lent we have been reminded over and over again of what God and Christ gave up so that we would know we are loved and freed and saved and brought into community and healed. We have been called into greater discipline with our faith practices of repentance, giving and prayer. Holy Week offers us a time to bring all of this together as a final preparation for the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus.

You all know that Tracy, my sister, is getting married in May. We have been preparing for this day since her engagement in October of 2013. Just this morning she called me to talk through the hair, makeup, clothes and florist visits she had yesterday. I have dutifully planned out my time and money as I do the tasks set before me for the wedding. The details are coming into place, the discipline of planning the wedding is soon to come to fruition as we gather on the beach on May 16 to celebrate the love Tracy and George have for each other.

Lent and Holy Week is not unlike planning a wedding—the time and energy put into it, the discipline given will make for a joyous celebration. Holy Week, with services each day, calls us to the greatest of disciplines: time, silence and reflection. I encourage you to make the time to worship with us each evening of Holy Week, to take the time to contemplate all that Christ has and continues to do for us so that we know God’s love for us. Each day will center around a different event in the last week of Jesus’ life and offer a specific ritual action. Each day will help us all grow closer to God and to one another as we consider what it means to follow this one who is willing to give up all for each of us.

Come, connect more deeply and know that you are loved.