In the last few years I have...well...I've become a coffee snob. It's something I'm not proud of...well, maybe I am proud of it right at that moment I take that first sip of fresh ground and brewed coffee. Like, I don't want to complain about other coffee, but making fresh coffee from well roasted beans is just SOOOOOO good.
And then, a couple of weeks ago, this happened: I begged a friend to help out with a project early on a weekend morning and bribed him with coffee. He responded, "Good! because you've NEVER offered to make coffee for me before." He was serious, and I was thrown back. I wanted to argue, no way could that be true, I make coffee all the time and offer it to....oh, no one. He was right, I made it for me and me alone.
I've got a habit of repeating myself. It's not that I'm trying to do it, but when I have a realization it's something that I say over and over again. Maybe it's how my thought process works, but I find myself reflecting on these realizations and they work their way back into conversations.
Lately, my phrase has been: "I can promise you one thing... things will not be perfect."
I've said this to people who are transitioning leadership of different ministries around this church. I've said it about my own shortcomings in ministry. I've said it about dealing with kids. And to each and every person I say it, I mean it 100%.
Today is Ash Wednesday, an important day in the life of the church and an important day in my own life as well.
In 2003, I sat in an Ash Wednesday service in the upper room of our student center at my college. It was a nice, contemplative service, but I was wrestling with questions of the future, my own worth, what God was calling me towards. I was surrounded with people from the campus ministries group I was very active in, people who were an excellent support network to ask those questions around. I left that service wiping tears from my eyes, with not much of an understanding as to why. A week later, I met a group of people on a traveling music ministry and ended up joining with that ministry the following year.
In 2006, I had just started seminary, I had just started teaching, just started in ministry at my home church. We held the Ash Wednesday service in the small chapel, a room that we also held VBS song time in, a room that I was familiar with my whole life. Our senior minister was on sabbatical and I had been asked to lead the service. In that room were people that had known me for decades, my parents, people I worked together with so often. The act of leading prayers of repentance, the act of putting ashes on their foreheads, I tend to think these were some of the moments that affirmed my gifts and call, starting the steps of leaving professional towards ministry.
We've been reading so much of the history* (well, what the writers want you to think is the history) of the Israelite people. History isn't really that...um...moving, so it's kind of nice to see an actual story!
But don't think of this story as removed from what we've been reading. It is a separate story, one that may have had a different author, but it fits into the larger story of Israel. And the biggest connection I draw your attention to is the fact that Ruth, the hero of the story, is not an Israelite.
Did you notice that? Maybe you noticed the odd things, like threshing floor, or untying sandals, or Naomi setting up her daughter in law with another family member and that's odd. But did you notice that she was not an Israelite to begin with?
Hello all, a couple of housekeeping things first. We had our first in-person meeting of the Bible Book Club Study this last Monday, and it went really well. We were smaller in numbers, just six of us, but we had some very good discussions over the origins of the Bible, questions that the Bible sought to answer, and what these first five books of the Bible have to do with the next chapters. My hope is to have a recap up on Storify.com/FvCCGladstone soon, but we shall see how that goes.
I hope that you found the reading list for this next section (http://www.fairviewcc.org/bible-book-club-study---session-2.html) we are reading both Joshua and Judges for the post Exodus narratives. Our youth have also been reading along with us in Sunday School. I really enjoy being able to share the work of our whole church with the youth and the work they've done is on display in the education wing. This last week, we covered the first part of Joshua and I set down to determine what part to read.
I understand people are finding us on here, and that's great! We'd love to hear from you about the blog, so please do comment here or on Facebook. We're looking forward to Monday, when we'll have our first in person meeting about this study.
Remember, this study came about as a chance to read the larger texts and see the big ideas. There's no way we could get a whole book of the bible covered in one night if we focused on the details of each verse. So we're looking for more large themes and broad ideas.
This week, we've gone on to the readings in the book of Exodus. I hope Genesis has been a good read for you, many different stories to give us the answers to some of the fundamental questions. How did we get here? Why do we disagree? How is God a part of our lives?
This week, enjoy reading in Exodus. It focuses on one story, the story of Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt. But there is a fundamental story in the beginning. In Exodus 3, Moses meets God in the burning bush. God calls Moses to speak prophetically to The Pharaoh, "Let My People Go!" However, what is Moses' response to God? "Who am I to appear before Pharaoh? Who am I to lead the people out of Egypt?"
enesis 25:19-chapter 50
One of my earliest memories of church is learning about Jacob and Esau when I was little. Being a twin myself, I was excited to hear a story about twins! But I did NOT love the way the story ended.
It seems like the overarching tension of the last half of Genesis is a lack of patience. It seems like these good-hearted people are really quick to forget or ignore God's promises. Jacob bamboozles Esau. Jacob accidentally marries the wrong woman (what!). Rachel and Leah do all sorts of things because they don't have the patience to wait on what God is doing. Joseph's brothers have their own ideas about how things should go down, and side-step God's plans for their little brother.
The Bible Book Club Study Group will publish a guide for the reading material. We will also have some brief reflections and questions. If after, or during your reading of the selected books and chapters, you have questions or wish more clarification of this study please place your comments or questions here. Click on comment link above.
To see this months reading material click here.