Summer/Pentecost Highlights Newsletter - click here.
Summer/Pentecost Mission Opportunities - click here.
The Dynamics of Faith, the Challenge of Freedom,
and the Gift of Friendship Summer Sermons
During the summer months, Guy Sayles’ sermons will explore the key words which summarize our church’s mission: freedom, friendship, and faith.
In June (beginning June 10), the sermons will reflect on the dynamics of faith. We’ll discover that faith involves listening and responsiveness, adventure and risk, trust and confidence. Faith includes, but is more than, “beliefs.” It’s not just the ideas we have and the truths we affirm; it’s a way of living that keeps us connected to God, hope, and love, even in time of uncertainty.
In July, drawing on the Book of Exodus, we’ll learn about the challenge of freedom: What is authentic freedom? What keeps us from feeling free? How do we claim it for ourselves? How can we help others to experience it? What is the relationship of freedom and responsibility? Exodus tells the story of God’s liberation of the Hebrew slaves from bondage in Egypt, a story which helps us to hear God’s demand, spoken to everything which enslaves us: “Let my people go.”
In August, we’ll consider the gift of friendship—with each other and with God. Recent studies confirm what many people know from their own experience: Americans feel increasingly isolated and lonely. We have an unmet yearning to be more fully known and more deeply loved. But, many of us don’t know how to make and sustain meaningful and life-enriching relationships. We’ll learn what the ways of Jesus have to teach us about mutual and enriching friendships.
Spiritual Practices for Summer/Pentecost: Two-by-Four
Summer is a time for children to take a break from schoolwork, for families to take a vacation together, for outside play, for fun in the sun. Summer is about rest and renewal. It also seems to me that summer break has much in common with the biblical practice of Sabbath-keeping.
In her book, Keeping the Sabbath Wholly, Marva Dawn focuses on four phases of practicing the Sabbath life: ceasing, resting, embracing, feasting.
Ceasing does not just apply to physical work, but also to our addiction to do something productive. Ceasing is recognizing that we are not God, and that if we are not productive for a brief time, the world goes on. So we can also cease our persistent anxiety and worry.
Resting is wholistic. It is not just physical, though naps are always good; it is also spiritual, emotional and intellectual. Sometimes we work too hard at our play and so never really rest. True rest involves spending time with God to rest in God’s loving presence. The prophet Isaiah writes, “In returning and rest is your healing; in quietness and in trust is your strength” (30:15).
Then, there is the more active aspects of Sabbath-keeping: embracing and feasting.
Embracing, Marva Dawn says, “begins in reconciliation with God and continues in reconciliation with our sisters and brothers—even our enemies. Moreover, Shalom denotes being at peace with ourselves, health, wealth, fulfillment, satisfaction, contentment, tranquility, and—to sum it all up—wholeness.” When we embrace wholeness in the life God offers, we will be committed to generously sharing love in unselfish and unexpected ways.
And finally we feast! We feast on music, the beauty of creation, with deep love, and of course, with great food. We party with family and friends. We worship with extravagant joy and unending gratitude.
The practice of Sabbath-keeping connects us more deeply with God and with community. But it also renews our souls and give us what we truly long for, and can only be filled with the deep love of God.
So this summer, think about how your “break” fills you with the abundant life that Jesus offers, and practice the art of community, joining together each week for worship and feasting on the word of God.
Spiritual Practice: Two-by-Four: (1) Spend two hours alone with God each week. Pray, journal, find a quiet place to reflect, worship, read, breathe. (2) Do four unselfish and unexpected acts of kindness and generosity each week. Listen, serve, pay attention, be creative in meeting needs or just being kind.
You are encouraged to share your experiences with these practices by emailing
Summer CenterPeace for Adults:
Wednesdays in the Chapel
Wednesdays, June 13 - August 8
12:00 - 12:30 p.m. - Chapel - Lunch $5
We Have Been Set Free: Stories of Freedom, Friendship and Faith
Join us for 30 minutes of prayer, music, scripture and testimony as we connect our stories of freedom, friendship and faith with the inspirational stories of other faithful Christians who publicly lived out these values in challenging times. These include people like St. Francis of Assisi, Hildegard of Bingen, Martin Luther King Jr., Dorothy Day, and more. Wednesdays in the Chapel provides a peaceful space in the middle of the week to reconnect with friends, to refresh our spirits, and to reflect on our own story and call. Lunch will follow in the Dining Room for a cost of $5. For more information, contact