A Betwixt and Between Thanksgiving

Our Source of life,

This Thanksgiving we find ourselves so changed.

The last two years have marked us, scarred us,

And left us wondering what is the new normal.

As we envision our thanksgiving table or gathering,

We are poignantly aware of those who don’t join us.

We have lost so much and so many.

The loss has knocked the wind out of us and yet

there is so much more that has splintered us,

There is so much more that has 

torn us away from our safe harbor

Knocking our moorings loose

setting us adrift.

Ideologies divide us more than ever before

White supremacy still takes life and abuses power

We have forgotten how to love.

We are stuck in this betwixt and between place

Removed from what was, not sure yet, what will be.

Divine Creator,

You who created the world and each one of us

awaken us to you within and around us

recognizing you in each other’s eyes

No matter what our name or where we call home.

Reach us and reach through us

With your compassion that makes room and space for all.

May your love and presence knit us together 

For the common good, as we heal together

And extend the table

To hold all whom you gather here.

Thank you Giver of Life

For the ways in which 

You keep on giving

We lean into you 

To show us the way

Beyond this place to the new normal.

~Rev. Eva Sullivan-Knoff, Executive Director

The One Who Draws Near

Pastor Aaron on our board offers this encouraging word for us, ‘The One Who Draws Near’. This was first preached at Resurrection Covenant Church on March 15, 2020.

 

Grace and peace to you, ResCov!

We hope you are hanging in there as we seek to ‘flatten the curve’ and keep social distance. These are strange days in which so many of our rhythms and routines are being upended including, as you know, our Sunday morning worship. While we are not gathering together for corporate worship, our hope is that these resources offer an opportunity for you to worship where you are in a way that is reminiscent of worship at ResCov. This is new for all of us, so please let us know if this is helpful and how you experience it.

 

Here are links to the materials for today:
1. A reformatted version of our typical bulletin with links to songs for you to reflect on and/or sing along.

2. Pastor Aaron’s sermon for today which you can listen to as part of the service in the link above.

3. Materials for ResCov Kids:
– Water, Water, Everywhere! – an interactive devotional with activities and a paraphrase of Exodus 17:1-7, with a tie into John 4:5-42. It can be adapted for use with Pre-K to 5th graders.

– Generous Giving Week 3 – EOT Kids: They have been working each week to read and complete these lessons outside of class. These lessons do not follow the lectionary, and they can certainly be used by all ages!

– God Calls Me – a coloring sheet for all ages

Again, this is new for all of us. We hope these resources help as you seek God’s glory while we all live into our commitment to neighbor’s good. And please, stay in touch with us, reach out to and pray for one another, and let us know how we can help and support each another.

Peace to you, friends!

– Pastor Aaron, Pastor Dave, and Pastor Kyle

Third Week of Lent

Opening
Lord, as I sit here with you, quiet my heart and mind. You invite me to come as I am and so I come. Open my heart to all you have for me. Awaken me to your voice within.

Reflection
As we continue our journey through Lent
we slow our pace so we can listen well
to what God desires to say to us.
God’s love seeks to heal the broken places within us,
To free us from the things that bind us
To bring light into our shadow places.
God desires us to know life in a fuller way,
And to live from a place of belovedness and belonging.

Invitation
Read the Scripture through slowly a couple of times. Pause where you are drawn.

John 4:5-14 (To read the whole story continue through verse 42)
So he came to a Samaritan city called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired out by his journey, was sitting by the well. It was about noon.
7 A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” 8 (His disciples had gone to the city to buy food.) 9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?” (Jews do not share things in common with Samaritans.) 10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” 11 The woman said to him, “Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 12 Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us the well, and with his sons and his flocks drank from it?” 13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.”

Prayer Response
Gracious Lord,
I am struck by the way
you meet us where we are,
in our place of need.
How much you notice us
and see what is beyond our awareness.
There is compassion in your seeing
and the desire to deliver us
from the places where we are stuck.
With your help,
enable us to let go of the things that bind us
And that hold us back.
You have so much for us.
Open our eyes, our hearts, our minds
to receive the life we have in you.
Amen.

New Year Reflection

Before you enter the new year, I invite you to reflect over this last one. Imagine God sitting next to you as you do. Ask God to guide you through the year as you look back, drawing your attention to where it is needed.

Are there experiences to which you still need to be present ? Listen to what they have to say to you. Is anything else needed? Do they still need you to grieve them? What wisdom do they offer you as you listen? Gently look back and spend time with any such spaces still calling for your attention.

Are there places, people, or things that it is time to let go of? Spend some quiet time in reflection and prayer, asking God to show you. You may even want to journal about these things or talk with someone you trust.

As you look back, review those moments, persons, and experiences for which you are grateful. Savor them and offer God your thanks. Maybe send a note of thanks to those who touched your life this last year.

As you look to the New Year, where are you most drawn? Where do you feel most energized to invest yourself? Fredrick Buechner says, “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” What is that life-giving place for you?

Is self-care something you need to attend more to? How do you play and rest? Are your relationships inviting you to invest more in them? As you reflect on these questions, pay special attention to what energizes you. You may want to journal about these things and talk with someone you trust.

Each year there are a few spiritual practices I do to help me enter the new year. I do an Examen of the Year, I redo my Life Rule and look at my Personal Compass. I commend these spiritual practices to you as you begin the New Year. If you want to know more about them, you can easily find resources on the internet, or email me and I will be glad to share resources with you.

New Year Blessing
May you be aware of God’s leading and God’s presence with you in each of your moments and days. May God grant you clarity of vision, a renewed sense of call, and meaningful people to journey alongside you. May God’s deep blessings be yours, as you seek “to see God more clearly, love God more dearly, and follow God more nearly, day by day.” (Lyrics from Godspell Day by Day written in 1971 by Stephen Schwartz and John-Michael Tebelak.) Amen.

Thanksgiving Prayer

Gracious God,
There are seasons in our lives
when it is easier to be thankful
than at other times.
Sometimes we feel beaten up by life’s struggles
and disheartened by one loss after another,
including all the places of heartache
we see around the world.
When we feel downcast remind us
that when you were here
You too knew struggle and loss and heartache.
Remind us how your presence
uplifted and made a difference
in each of the lives you touched.
Deepen our awareness yet again
of how you do that with us.
Deepen our awareness of how you do that for others through us.
We are your hands and heart and feet.
Help us to love well.
So Lord, on this designated day of giving thanks,
Thank you for providing for our needs.
Thank you for all the ways you touch our lives
and uplift our spirits.
Thank you for all the ways you help us
put one foot in front of another.
Thank you for holding us when we are grieving.
Thank you for giving us strength when we are weak.
Thank you for encouraging us in so many ways.
Thank you for loving us always.
Thank you for being as close as our very breath.
Thank you for being you.
We love you Emmanuel, God with us.
Thank you.