Reflection: Beatitudes #5

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“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall be shown mercy.” Matthew 5:7

For this week’s reflection, we offer the reflections of Elizabeth Shuba for our fifth beatitude following the 10.25 service. We hope her processing of what it means to be merciful inspires your own processing.

So it seems that this includes our more difficult relationships and not just feeding a stranger.  That by mercy he may also have been talking about forgiveness.  Of those that have hurt you and of yourself for hurting others.  Forgiveness: maybe the most difficult of the human condition.  We often hear, “I forgive but I will never forget.” I contend that in order to forgive you must, to a certain extent, forget.  When it comes to hurts with the people we love, how can you forgive them if you are reminded of their transgressions every time you see them?  There must be some suspension of hurt.  If you choose to keep the person in your life you must tuck that hurt in the corner of your mind.  It will never truly go away. It will serve to protect you with that person.  If you are able to dull the ache of the hurt, it may even enrich the relationship. Often this takes work on the part of both people.  The most difficult mercy, is that which navigates a hurt with a loved one that you know will hurt again.  One not allowed to heal because of the repetition of behavior in a relationship you can not run from.  This is where grace marries mercy.  It may take a lifetime, but this is the work we are here to do.

To see more of Elizabeth Shuba’s blog, click here. We think you’ll enjoy it quite a bit.

Reflection Service: 10.25.2015

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Join us for an hour of quiet and stillness as we focus on the fifth beatitude: “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” Silence is the predominate posture for the reflection service, with readings and songs interspersed. With the order of the service below, periods of silence will occur between each element that is listed.

We meet at 5:30pm, Lancaster Theological Seminary’s Santee Chapel, 555 College Ave, Lancaster, PA 17603. Questions? Call, text or email Jennifer (jennifer@TOClancaster.org // 717.682.2781) or Erik (erik@TOClancaster.org // 717.575.1087).

Welcome

Reading: Matthew 5:7

Song: The Detachable Head

Reading: “For the first time in my life I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth – that Love is the ultimate and highest goal to which [humanity] can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of [humanity] is through love and in love.” (Viktor E. Frankl)

Waypoint: Mercy

Reading: Matthew 5:7

Waypoint: Forgiveness

Reading: Matthew 5:7

Song: Redemption Day

Reading: “Teach me to feel another’s woe… To hide the fault I see… That mercy I to others show… Is that very mercy shown to me.” (Alexander Pope)

Closing

Benediction

Song Lyrics

Redemption Day (S Crow)

I’ve wept for those who suffer long
But how I weep for those who’ve gone
Into rooms of grief and questioned wrong
But keep on killing

It’s in the soul to feel such things
But weak to watch without speaking
Oh what mercy sadness brings
If God be willing

There is a train that’s heading straight
To heaven’s gate to heaven’s gate
And on the way child and man
And woman wait watch and wait
For redemption day

Fire rages in the streets
And swallow everything it meets
It’s just an image often seen
On television

Come leaders, come you men of great
Let us hear you pontificate
Your many virtues laid to waste
And we aren’t listening

What do you have for us today
Throw us a bone but save the plate
Oh why we waited til so late
Was there no oil to excavate

No riches in trade for the fate
Of every person who died in hate
Throw us a bone, you men of great

There is a train that’s heading straight
To heaven’s gate, to heaven’s gate
And on the way, child and man
And woman wait, watch and wait
For redemption day

It’s buried in the countryside
It’s exploding in the shells of night
It’s everywhere a baby cries
Freedom

Reflection: Beatitudes #4

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“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”      Matthew 5:6

Too often, people equate righteousness with boring prescripts of faith. We would like to suggest that God’s righteousness is experienced in many ways. Jesus gives a very tangible, measurable result in this particular beatitude. So perhaps if we turn it around, we might see it a little differently. Those who are filled/satisfied/at peace, have longed for something that is good/right/of God.

Some questions as you contemplate what this beatitude means:

  1. What do you think being hungry for righteousness or goodness means?
  2. What situations cause you to resist goodness? For example, I strive to be a generous person, but when I am with someone who is stingy I find myself withholding what I have, fearful that I will be taken advantage of. What about you?
  3. How do you experience the result of this beatitude – feeling full, satisfied, content?
  4. If you don’t experience this regularly, how might you practice contentment?

We encourage you to write and share your thoughts and ideas. And as always, we would love to hear from you!

Order of Worship, 10.18.15

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We are continuing our series on the Beatitudes. We meet at Lancaster Theological Seminary’s Santee Chapel (555 W James St, 17603) at 5:30pm.  If you have any questions, please reach out to Jennifer (jennifer@TOCLancaster.org // 717.682.2781) or Erik (erik@TOClancaster.org // 717.575.1087). We hope to see you there!

Prelude  Jesus, Lover of My Soul   (Wesley/Parry)

Welcome

Call to Worship

Song : Closer to Fine 

Reading : Matthew 5:1-10

Recap of the beatitudes thus far…

Condition : Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness…

Result : For they shall be filled.

Communion

Song : Behold the Lamb 

Closing & Benediction

Postlude

Closer to Fine  (Indigo Girls)

I’m trying to tell you something about my life
Maybe give me insight between black and white
The best thing you’ve ever done for me
Is to help me take my life less seriously, it’s only life after all
Well darkness has a hunger that’s insatiable
And lightness has a call that’s hard to hear
I wrap my fear around me like a blanket
I sailed my ship of safety till I sank it, I’m crawling on your shore.

(chorus) I went to the doctor, I went to the mountains
I looked to the children, I drank from the fountain
There’s more than one answer to these questions
pointing me in crooked line
The less I seek my source for some definitive
The closer I am to fine.

I went to see the doctor of philosophy
With a poster of Rasputin and a beard down to his knee
He never did marry or see a B-grade movie
He graded my performance, he said he could see through me
I spent four years prostrate to the higher mind, got my paper
And I was free.

(chorus)

I stopped by the bar at 3 a.m.
To seek solace in a bottle or possibly a friend
I woke up with a headache like my head against a board
Twice as cloudy as I’d been the night before
I went in seeking clarity.

(chorus x2)

We go to the bible, we go through the workout
We read up on revival and we stand up for the lookout
There’s more than one answer to these questions
pointing me in a crooked line
The less I seek my source for some definitive
The closer I am to fine
The closer I am to fine
The closer I am to fine

Behold the Lamb  (Getty, Getty, Townend)

Behold the Lamb who bears our sins away,
Slain for us – and we remember
The promise made that all who come in faith
Find forgiveness at the cross.
So we share in this bread of life,
And we drink of His sacrifice
As a sign of our bonds of peace
Around the table of the King.

The body of our Saviour Jesus Christ,
Torn for you – eat and remember
The wounds that heal, the death that brings us life
Paid the price to make us one.
So we share in this bread of life,
And we drink of His sacrifice
As a sign of our bonds of love
Around the table of the King.

The blood that cleanses every stain of sin,
Shed for you – drink and remember
He drained death’s cup that all may enter in
To receive the life of God.
So we share in this bread of life,
And we drink of His sacrifice
As a sign of our bonds of grace
Around the table of the King.

And so with thankfulness and faith we rise
To respond, – and to remember
Our call to follow in the steps of Christ
As His body here on earth.
As we share in His suffering
We proclaim Christ will come again!
And we’ll join in the feast of heaven
Around the table of the King

Reflection: Beatitudes #3

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“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”     Matthew 5:5

This is one of the most quoted beatitudes, and perhaps the most misunderstood. So we think a little context is needed before we offer reflection questions.

Often people think of being meek as weak, passive, submissive. The greek word for meek can also be translated as gentle, benevolent, or humane. It suggests not so much a lack of response but rather a different way to respond.

Keep in mind that the vast majority of people hearing these words in 1st century, Roman-occupied-territory would have been surrounded by, if not living in, extreme poverty with the constant threat of punishment if not obedient to those in charge. Acting weak, passive, or submissive would have been expected in order to stay alive. Is Jesus asking his audience to lay low and stay out of trouble?

Many scholars suggest that Jesus isn’t suggesting passivity, but rather countering the power, dominance, and violence that surrounds them. “Claim your humanity, and the humanity of those around you.” These words are revolutionary words against a system that says otherwise.

We would like to suggest that meekness requires both humility and courage. For those of us who don’t shy away from confrontation, humility helps to respect the humanity of the one we confront.

For those of us who rarely speak up, courage helps to speak up when one’s humanity (including our own) is threatened.

The second part, the result, is to inherit the land. One way to think of this is as a sort of homecoming. The promise isn’t about replacing the Roman soldiers. And it isn’t a distant promise. This is a “put your feet in the soil and know you belong” kind of promise. Imagine for those listeners what that would mean. Jesus is stirring things up. “This land is yours too. You are home.”

So with that said, here are some questions to reflect on this week:

What do you think it means to be meek in your day-to-day life?

How comfortable are you with where you are and who you are? Do you truly know your value? Have you “inherited the land” in which you dwell, meaning you feel connected and content?

If you would like to speak with Jennifer (jennifer@TOClancaster.org) or Erik (erik@TOClancaster.org), please reach out. We would love to be in conversation with you!

Order of Worship 10/4/15


Worship Gathering OutlineDate: 10/4/15

Theme: Upside Down pt. 3 “blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth”
Welcome
Reading: Matthew 5:1-10
Song: Down with the Shine (Avett Brothers)
Message:

Intro – where we’ve been so far
Condition – blessed are the meek
Result – for they will inherit the earth
Conclusion

Song:Mamma Who Bore Me (“Spring Awakening”)

Closing
Benediction (stand)

Music

*****

Down with the Shine (Robert William Crawford, Scott Yancey Avett, Timothy Seth Avett)

Down with the shine, the perfect shine
That poisons the well, and ruins my mind
I get took for a ride every time
Down with the glistening shine

It’s in with the new, and out with the old
Out goes the warm, and in comes the cold
It’s the most predictable story told
It’s in with the young, out with the old

Down with the shine, the perfect shine
That poisons the well, and ruins my mind
I get took for a ride every time
Down with the glistening shine

A belly full of high-dollar wine
A fat hand, a fat wallet too
Things change and get strange
With this movement of time
It’s happening right now to you

Down with the shine, the perfect shine
That poisons the well, and ruins my mind
I get took for a ride every time
Down with the glistening shine

It’s a real bad time to bring up the truth
Though we’ve searched we found no
Fountain of youth
Not in Spain, no where near anywhere
Close to here

There’s nothing good because nothing lasts
And all that comes here, it comes here to pass
I would voice my pain but the change wouldn’t last
All that comes, it comes here to pass

Down with the shine, the perfect shine
That poisons the well, and ruins my mind
I get took for a ride every time
Down with the glistening shine

I get took for a ride every time
Down with the glistening shine

 

Mamma Who Bore Me (Duncan Sheik, Steven Sater)

Mamma who bore me
Mamma who gave me
No way to handle things
Who made me so sad

Mamma, the weeping
Mamma, the Angels
No sleep in Heaven
Or Bethlehem

Some pray that one day, Christ will come a’-callin’
They light a candle and hope that it glows
And some just lie there crying for Him to come and find them
But when He comes they don’t know how to go

Mamma who bore me
Mamma who gave me
No way to handle things
Who made me so bad

Mamma, the weeping
Mamma, the Angels
No sleep in Heaven
Or Bethlehem

Read more: Spring Awakening – Mamma Who Bore Me Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Reflection: Beatitudes #2

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“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”   Matthew 5:4

Continuing our series on the beatitudes, Jesus offers these words on loss. The Message says it this way: You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.

We live in a culture that doesn’t like to struggle or suffer or hurt. We also like to think we are in control. We want quick fixes. We want instant gratification.

Mourning acknowledges what we have lost, and what we cannot control. When we mourn, we are vulnerable. Jesus teaches that when we confront our loss, we will be comforted.

Is there someone or something you need to mourn? Consider taking time this week to think about a loss that might require some time and attention. Sit with it when you are able.

If you would like to talk with someone, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Jennifer or Erik. Contact information follows. Be comforted by the One who is right there with you in your loss. And let us know if we can be there with you also.

Jennifer Potter // jennifer@TOClancaster.org; Erik Ewing // erik@TOClancaster.org