Worship This Sunday at 9:45am: “Stay the Course”

Throughout the season, visitors to the Retreat Center and the village have enriched our worship. We’ve been joined by families celebrating their reunions, churches undertaking retreats, and groups like the Adult Music Camp sharing their talents with us.

This Sunday at 9:45am, we will celebrate another treasured collaboration as the community from the Lighthouse of Faith in Christ from Brockton, MA joins us for another summer. The Rev. Dayan Johnson will preach a sermon titled “Stay the Course.” Ginny Henderson will play the organ, the Voices of Faith choir will lead us in song, and Elisabeth Dorsey will help us meditate on God’s word through a liturgical dance.

This year, Rev. Dayan is celebrating the 20th anniversary of her ordination, and the Lighthouse of Faith is celebrating the 23rd anniversary of its founding. Give Rev. Dayan a word of congratulations when you see her! Incidentally, this is the 10th year that the Lighthouse of Faith community has joined us in Craigville.

See you on Sunday!

Blessing of the Seashells

Last Sunday, we blessed seashells as a way of reminding ourselves to give thanks to God for the gifts of summer. Blessing something is an ancient Christian practice that dedicates an object to God. There is nothing superstitious or magical about performing a blessing. Rather, it’s a way of expressing gratitude; we give thanks for a gift of God and dedicate ourselves to serving God. When we bless a new home, for example, we’re expressing our intention to recognize it as a sacred place where we will continue to grow as disciples. When we bless pets at a church’s Blessing of the Animals service, we recognize that animals are a gift from God who deserve our respect and dedicated stewardship. This past Sunday, we blessed seashells to remind ourselves that evidence of God’s love is all around us and to commit ourselves to using the gifts of God to cultivate love and justice in the world.

I received several requests for the prayer that I used for the Blessing of the Seashells service. Here it is:

Creator God, who made the oceans and beaches that teem with life: we ask for your blessing on these seashells. Let them remind us of fond memories and summer blessings. Let us be thankful for all that you give us, attentive to the beauty of your creation, and dedicated to its protection. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord, from whom all blessings come. Amen.

Preparing for Sunday’s Service

One way to make your participation in worship more fulfilling and meaningful is to prayerfully prepare ahead of time. Pray with the readings and the hymns and look forward to praying with the community on Sunday.

This week’s readings:

  • 1 Timothy: 4:11-16 (Paul encourages Timothy to continue teaching and preaching, letting “no one despise your youth”).
  • Mark 10:13-16 (Jesus proclaims, “Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs”).

This week’s hymns:

Preparing for this week: This week, we will be blessing our favorite seashells from the summer as a sign of gratitude for all of the blessings of our time in Craigville. Reflect upon what you are most grateful for this summer.

Board Game Night on Thursday

Join us for a night of games, food, and fellowship. On Thursday, August 6 at 7pm, we will meet in Tabernacle for Family Board Game Night. We’ll have many different games on hand, ranging from the classic to the contemporary (Catan or Carcassonne, anyone?). Bring a game to share if you have a favorite. Snacks and beverages will be provided. We will have games for all ages available.

Worship This Sunday at 9:45am: “All of God’s Children”

This Sunday at 9:45am, we will reflect upon the blessings of the children in our community. Rev. Carol Bolstad, co-founder and president of Amazing Grace of Cape Cod, will preach a sermon titled “All of God’s Children.” Bring your favorite seashells from the summer; we will do a special blessing of them as a sign of gratitude for the joys of summer. As always, the service will include a children’s message with Donald Dragon.

Elton Kam will provide special music, and Rev. Dr. Dianne Carpenter will accompany us on the organ. We hope that you’ll join us for joyous, open-air worship in the Tabernacle, a sacred space for people of all generations.

A Welcome to Communion

These are the words that Rev. Joanne Hartunian spoke before Holy Communion yesterday. I found her introduction striking because it acknowledges that Communion is intertwined with painful memories for some. God doesn’t ask us to forget these memories, but to notice them and trust in the divine promise of healing.

Here is the introduction:

This table is open to members of this community of faith, all members of other communities of faith, and all who wish to receive the bread of life and cup of salvation through Holy Communion.

Jesus calls us, and you are welcome.

We strive to be a community where all people can recognize and experience Jesus Christ, present and alive, and can extend love and support to each other. We seek to grow spiritually through faith, and we come before this table as did the disciples when they sat with our Lord at the Last Support.

Let us now, quietly, in this thin space, allow our hearts to be transformed, healed, and strengthened by Christ as we bring all that we are to His table. If in this quiet you should remember something painful, such as being hurt by someone or past sin, it is a sign that the Lord is calling you to remember and to be healed by the presence and power of Jesus’s forgiveness. Be at peace.

Joyful, Hopeful, Wise, and Disturbing: A Study of the Psalms

Update: Our Adult Bible Study sessions will now take place a half-hour later (at 11am) starting on Tuesday. We had a great first discussion about psalms of praise. Join us tomorrow as we reflect upon psalms of lament.

In conjunction with Family Camp, we will be offering an extended Adult Bible Study over the course of four days. From Monday, August 3 through Thursday, August 6, we will meet at 11am in the Tabernacle to reflect upon different selections from the Book of Psalms.

On one hand, the psalms offer us some of the most memorable and poetic selections from scripture. During difficult times I have found comfort in Psalm 23, which assures us that God is our shepherd and protector. Many familiar songs have their roots in the psalms. For example, the popular “On Eagle’s Wings” is based in part on Psalm 91. On the other hand, some psalms are disturbing and confusing. Verses about violence and war seem to conflict with our experience of God as the Lord of Peace.

How can poetry help us become better people and disciples? How can we use psalms in our prayer life? What should we do with psalms that describe God in ways that contradict our own experience? Throughout the week, we will think about these questions as we reflect upon psalms ranging from the inspiring to the confounding. Bibles will be provided, but feel free to bring your own if you have a favorite copy or translation.

Preparing for Sunday’s Service

One way to make your participation in worship more fulfilling and meaningful is to prayerfully prepare ahead of time. Pray with the readings and the hymns and look forward to praying with the community on Sunday.

This week’s readings: (Want to reflect upon these readings in a group setting? Join us for Outdoor Bible Study):

  • Ephesians 4:1-16 (Paul encourages the community to seek unity and build up others in love)
  • John 6:24-35 (Jesus reveals that he is the Bread of Life)

This week’s hymns (United Methodist Hymnal):

Preparing for this week: It is appropriate that we are thinking so much about nourishment this summer alongside our theme, “God of All Generations.” It is often around food where we create treasured memories, pass down traditions, and share wisdom across the generations in our own lives. This week, take time to savor and appreciate a meal that you share with loved ones. Reflect upon the ways in which this meal feeds not only the body, but also the spirit.

Worship This Sunday at 9:45am: “Give Us a Sign”

Over the past several weeks, our readings at the Tabernacle have focused on the idea of nourishment. We have heard the story of Elijah receiving bread and water from an angel in the desert and two different accounts of Jesus feeding the crowd of five thousand. We have reflected upon the idea of spiritual nourishment and our call to be servers of “second helpings” in the Kingdom of God.

This Sunday, August 2 at 9:45am, we will continue to think about the nourishment offered by Jesus Christ, who reveals himself as the “Bread of Life.” A classmate of mine from Harvard Divinity School, Christopher Whiteman, will preach a sermon titled “Give Us a Sign.” Christopher, a candidate for ordination in the Episcopal Church, is a very thoughtful and gifted preacher—this year, he was selected as the winner of the Billings Preaching Prize.

Craigville resident Rev. Joanne Hartunian will preside over Holy Communion, our sacrament of spiritual nourishment. Janet Edmonson, a member of the Community of Jesus in Orleans, MA, will play the organ for us, and Wayne Tooker will offer special music.

Wherever you are on the journey of faith, I hope that the Tabernacle is a community of spiritual nourishment for you.