Springdale News for Sunday, January 15th Second Sunday after Epiphany Race Relations Sunday
This Sunday, just in advance of the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., many Presbyterian (and many other) churches recognize Dr. King and consider the broader issue of race and racial reconciliation in our society - and how the gospel speaks to these issues. This Sunday's sermon, titled "Where Are You Staying?" will examine race and racial reconciliation, in church and society. The sermon will be based on the gospel text for the day, John 1:29-42:
The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him and declared, “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’ I myself did not know him; but I came baptizing with water for this reason, that he might be revealed to Israel.” And John testified, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God.” The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, “Look, here is the Lamb of God!”
The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, “What are you looking for?” They said to him, “Rabbi” (which translated means Teacher), “where are you staying?” He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon. One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated Anointed). He brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas” (which is translated Peter).
Throughout the history of our faith, we Christians have struggled with any number of issues regarding change - particularly, issues that have required us to reassess theological positions that we've held as the norm, but which new or additional information has caused us to reconsider and revise our understandings. This continual testing and reassessment of the faith goes back to the very earliest days of the church. If you've got a moment, read Acts 15:1-29. The first of Jesus' followers were members of the Jewish faith, and after professing Jesus as Lord, continued to live in accordance with Jewish regulations and observances. However, as the church spread into the Gentile world, many questions arose regarding whether a Gentile believer in Jesus first had to become a Jew, and adopt Jewish practices; or whether the longstanding scriptural requirements for Jews - which until then, had also been requirements for followers of jesus - were not applicable to them. The church at Jerusalem met, and led by James, the brother of Jesus, the church reassessed its theological positions based on the leading of the Holy Spirit in the midst of new circumstances.
Similar reassessment and adjustment has occurred over scientific issues - most notably, revising our beliefs to accept the scientific realities that the earth revolves around the sun, and the evolution of species, in the face of scriptural texts written in pre-scientific times which would indicate otherwise if read literally.
Certainly, in our country and in our churches, we've also had to go through this same sort of problem with regard to matters of race. Virtually every aspect of our national history has had a racial component. We all know that many in the past (and sadly, even some extremists in the present) have pointed to scripture and supposed Christian faith to try to justify separation of the races and the superiority of the white race over others.
Many of these historical theological adjustments seem to be an "asked and answered," over-and-done-with thing that doesn't arise ever again. Others seem to be resolved, or at least partially resolved, only to crop up at other times, just in different forms, indicating the underlying problems and theological error still exists. Unfortunately, I think it's clear that issues of race fall into this category. We can't seem to fully grasp the beautiful words found in Paul's Letter to the Galatians, that "There is no longer Jew nor Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus" (Gal. 5:28). Also, history teaches us that another constant found in past times where we've had to theologically reassess and revise - and this is certainly true regarding matters of race and racial justice and reconciliation - that those advocating the needed adjustment are seen as troublemakers, or outside agitators, or too pushy, expecting change too quickly, versus longer, more drawn-out change, or using tactics that don't seem acceptable or civil to those who are not part of the group being discriminated against.
Given that, and where we stand in this particular moment of history in terms of questions around race, how should we live as followers of Jesus, and proclaimers of God's good news for all people? What should we believe? What should we be doing? What should we not be doing? What happens when people advocate action that discomforts us? And just what does all this have to do with the day's gospel text, and how is this all going to come together in Sunday's sermon? I guess, to borrow Jesus' phrase, you'll just have to come and see. :)
Grace and peace,
Music This Week: (please follow the links provided to hear these if you aren't familiar with them)
Opening Hymn - #311 Here, O Lord, your Servants Gather - this gentle tune, composed by Tokuo Yamaguchi in Japan in 1958 and making its first appearance in the 1990 hymnal, is a beautiful reminder of the global nature of Christ's sovereignty and Lordship.
Sermon Hymn: #301 O Sing to the Lord - Another beautiful song appearing in both our 1990 hymnal and Glory to God, this Latino hymn originated in Brazil and was first translated into English in the 1980s and, like the Opening Hymn, gives witness to the reality of the equality of all races under the single Lordship of Christ.
Sending Hymn - #339 Lift Every Voice and Sing - This hymn, along with We Shall Overcome, was heard often during the Civil Rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s. Like the other hymns selected this Sunday, this selection was in both our past and current hymnal. Its text and tune has gained national recognition and appreciation not only within the African-American community, but also among all who seek liberation from oppression. If you aren't familiar with the song, please follow the link to hear an excellent rendition of it, set to a stirring video montage.
Postlude - O God, our Help in Ages Past
Assisting in Worship This Week:
Liturgist Katherine Rich (9:00) John Fischbach (11:00)
Welcome Desk Sarah Abraham (9:00) Ralph Holsclaw (11:00)
Greeters The Locke family (9:00) Ainsley & Megan Jones (11:00)
Audio Mark Hebert (9:00) Philip Swartzentruber (11:00)
Video Larry Weishaar
Coffee Host Joyce Shipley
Offering to Feed Hungry People - "Cents-ability" The "Cents-ability" Offering is collected the third Sunday of each month. The children collect the change they and members of the congregation have saved and/or collected during the month for the cents-ability offerings. Remember to pray for the hungry as you give.
Grace Place Grace Place is the new name for our nursery/childcare area, which is lovingly coordinated by Anita Perez. Children age 4 and younger are welcome in Grace Place whenever it is open (normally every Sunday beginning 15 minutes before the first scheduled service or class through the end of the last scheduled service or class and other times as requested). Children ages 7 and younger may come to Grace Place following the Time for Young Disciples during the Worship service.
Spiritual Nurture - at Church Spiritual Nurture at Springdale Presbyterian Please join us for age-appropriate, thought-provoking learning opportunities most Sunday mornings.
Spiritual Nurture: LOVE IN THE HUMAN CONDITION January 15 Love in a Time of Co-dependency Becky Backert "Understanding how control freaks came to be - codependency explained"
January 22 Love in a Time of Dissing Others Milt Tyree "Don't believe everything you think: A discussion about prejudice, unconscious bias, and influence of expectations.”
January 29 Love in a Time of Blues Jean Podbelsek
Children and Youth Childcare is provided during Spiritual Nurture time, in Rooms 204/208 on the main level, across from the Choir Room.
Spiritual Nurture - at Home Taking time at the beginning and end of the day for prayer is an important spiritual discipline. You can find some sample morning and evening prayers that you can use this week, in a holder on the counter of the welcome desk. You’ll probably tweak them to make them your own, but they’re a good start for you in your own personal devotional practices.
Newsletter Deadline Remember the newsletter deadline is midnight on January 15. If you would like to include something in the newsletter, please submit completed, written articles by email to firstname.lastname@example.org by that date and time.
Annual Reports Due Soon To all Officers, Staff, Ministry Team Leaders, Trustee Leaders and Groups: Annual Reports are due in the office by Friday, January 20. This year, we are requesting each report by submitted as follows: Word Document; copy ready; no more than 2 pages; 12 point Times Roman font; 1.5 line spacing; with 1 inch margins. Submitting reports in this format will greatly ease preparation of the reports, which will be available prior to the Annual Congregational Meeting.
Knitting A group of ladies have decided to get together on a regular basis to knit hats and mittens for kids and adults who are in need. These women are asking for yarn to be donated to this group. If you are able to donate yarn or would like to join them on their project, please see Barbara McClain.
Disabilities Ministry Just a reminder that the Disabilities Ministry, which hasn't met lately, is meeting this week, January 17 at 7 PM in the upstairs Classroom.
Sanctuary Flowers If you would like to sponsor flowers in recognition of a special person or event, there is now a sign up sheet in the Gathering Area. Please feel free to pick a date and sign your name. On the form, you can indicate whether the flowers are placed in memory of, in honor of, or in celebration of someone, or something. The flowers are yours to bring home following the 11:00am service. The cost is $35.00. Questions? Contact the church office, by phone at 425-1760, or by email at email@example.com.
Online, Direct Deposit, and Online/Mobile Giving Options for financially supporting the church other than dropping something into the traditional offering plate are quickly becoming the norm for many people. In order to make your stewardship efforts as easy as possible, Springdale offers online giving on our website and automatic transfer of funds. For an authorization form or information, contact the church office - 425-1760. An even easier option is to simply set up a regularly scheduled automatic payment to the church, as you might do for your cable/internet service or other recurring charges, through your bank's online/mobile banking feature.
Support Springdale’s Mission by Supporting our Endowment Fund The SPC Endowment Fund, currently valued at over $150,000, is maintained to provide for the ongoing upkeep of the church. In addition, an annual distribution is used for general purposes of the mission of the church that would not ordinarily be possible to accomplish through the regular offering. Please consider contributing to the Endowment Fund as part of your overall financial and/or estate planning. Gifts such as cash, appreciated securities, real estate and life insurance policies can provide you with immediate tax deductions. Other gifts can provide you with an income for life, and the residual value goes to the church. You may also want to consider a gift through your will or revocable trust, or naming the church as a beneficiary of your retirement assets or investment accounts. Please consult with your financial advisor for more information about these opportunities to support Christ's mission in the world.