Florence Congregational Church
Saturday, July 11, 2020
A Place to Connect

February News - Pastor's Corner

It seems that the Christmas rush has hardly settled down.  Here we are approaching our yearly Lenten journey that begins on February 18th with our Ash Wednesday service at 6pm.  This year we will focus on Jesus’ journey into the desert.  We will mirror that wilderness journey in our own journey here at FCC.  I anticipate that you will find an alternative worship experience a bit strange, but engaging as we purposefully draw near to various scriptures, engage in conversation, dialogue and debate.

The world all around us is changing rapidly with the invention of new tools of communication, advances in technology, styles of music, political disciplines (or lack of), social structure and demographic shifts.  Where do we fit into these changing times?  How can we better share our story (Good News) with people who are engaged in the chaos of all the change?  How might we participate in new creative initiatives?

For example, I was talking to a colleague the other day who shared with me a new dilemma at his church.  He said that several young members were struggling in how they could support the church.  They wanted to be able to help support the church financially, but found the process of offering difficult.  The couples don’t use cash or checks, but pay everything through their I-Phone credit card apps.  His church is investigating the use of this modern technology for future use.  Who knew?  What a strange situation to deal with, modern challenges for the church.

Jesus was challenged while in the desert prior to embarking on his specific ministry journey.  Often referred to as temptations, Jesus was confronted with three tests of his identity and commitment to God’s plan for him on earth.  We too are confronted regularly with temptations as we attempt to live and work at our jobs.  We live in community with people of differing religious traditions, political views, racial demographics, lifestyles and economic means.  How might we engage in conversation with people who think differently?  Do they have an agenda?  Do we?  Jesus drew upon his knowledge of scripture to make informed decisions and responses to the tests.  Do you draw upon scripture?  In context theologically?  What do you make of the diversity of thought, philosophy and theology here in the valley?

I believe that the church is a place to wrestle with the questions of faith.  It is a place to have dialogue and debate.  Scripture offer us guidance in making decisions, but can equally be used to support one’s biases as we have seen way too often in various cults depicted in the media.  We may or may not have the answers to the questions, but we do have the combined knowledge and experience of many already wrestling with God in faith.  We can offer the opportunity for all to wrestle, to share in the nurture of one another, and to find sanctuary from an ever increasing chaos.  So here are the topics for our Lenten journey:

·   Week one: “The Wilderness Journey: The Word of God” The message of scripture…. Drawing nourishment

·   Week two: “The Wilderness Journey: Welcoming the Stranger” Who is the stranger? How well are they received?  For who they are?  Why not?

·   Week three: “The Wilderness Journey: Justice/Equality” What does Jesus have to say about our biases and views of other people?  Is it about being a Christian, or being Christ-like in our engagement of community life?

·   Week four: “The Wilderness Journey: Preserving God’s Creation” Are we in harmony with God’s plans for the earth?  What is our response to the abuse of the planet?  How are we doing?

·   Week five: “The Wilderness Journey: Redistribution of God’s Blessings” How will we respond to the growing division of the haves and have-nots?  What is our “Christian” Christ-like commitment?

We will explore these and many other questions that will arise over the Lenten journey.  Come and engage… be a wrestler, explorer, and discoverer of new ideas and ways to live in community.                                       

                                                                                                                                                                        - Pi


Florence Congregational Church • 130 Pine Street, Florence, Massachusetts 01062 • 413.584.1325


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