Fulfilling Christ's call to love God, live in community, and serve our neighbor


June-July 2019   DOWNLOAD PRINT VERSION

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Detail from Moses by John August Swanson. Image from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, Tenn. Original source ©1983 by John August Swanson. Used on workingpreacher.org.

Introducing the Narrative Lectionary

The ongoing reading and study of scripture is an important part of our life together. Whether it is in worship on Sunday morning, through daily personal reading or classroom discussion, the Church’s shared reading of the Bible is a valuable resource for the continued discernment of God’s life and presence in our community. The Bible is an inspired collection of stories by human beings who have experienced God in life-altering and transformative ways, “a testimony from one generation of believers to another” (The Word of God, 2010). The Bible also tells the story of the many ways that God has chosen to become known, and as followers of Jesus, we are grateful that his story is the heart of God’s message of love toward the world.

One way that we can increase our understanding of the story of Jesus is by growing in our understanding of the larger biblical story. Our learning more about the characters and context of God’s people throughout scripture better prepares us to perceive the meaning of God’s promises to us in Christ. The Holy Spirit also guides us on this journey and is our primary teacher throughout our lives.

Beginning in September 2019, Home Moravian Church will use the Narrative Lectionary during our Sunday morning worship and in Godly Play. The Board of Elders has given its support for this opportunity in the hopes that our use of the Narrative Lectionary will increase our community’s awareness, understanding, and appreciation for the biblical story.

What is a lectionary? A lectionary is a cycle of scripture readings that we use in our worship and educational activities. Home Moravian Church currently follows a Moravian-adapted version of The Revised Common Lectionary (©1992), a three-year cycle of weekly assigned scripture lessons primarily oriented by theme.

How is the Narrative Lectionary different? The Narrative Lectionary (©2010) is a four-year cycle of readings developed by two professors at Luther Seminary in Minneapolis, MN and in consultation with congregations across the United States. The primary goal of the Narrative Lectionary is to highlight the story of God and God’s people from Creation to the early Christian Church, from the story of God’s early covenant to the people of Israel toward the fulfillment of those promises in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus who bestows the Holy Spirit upon the Church “to go and do likewise.”

What’s new? The Narrative Lectionary incorporates a greater portion of the scriptures than our current lectionary, and this is especially important as we seek to increase the presence and involvement of children and youth during worship. The Narrative Lectionary includes two assigned readings each week, instead of four: one from the Hebrew Bible and one from the New Testament. Perhaps the biggest difference is that the Narrative Lectionary encourages more frequent study from the Hebrew Bible, especially in preparation for the Advent and Christmas seasons.

Let us know what you think. The Board of Elders has agreed to experiment with the use of the Narrative Lectionary for one year (September 2019 – May 2020). Our ministry staff would love to hear about your worship experience with the Narrative Lectionary. We believe that its use will enhance our understanding and appreciation for the larger biblical story, enabling us to hear and to experience God’s promises to us in a new way. You can learn more about the Narrative Lectionary at www.narrativelectionary.org.

The preface for our Moravian Lectionary reminds us that our aim in reading the scriptures together is in keeping with our intention to become the people that God is calling us to be. This remains our prayer, as it is written in Romans 15:4-6: “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, so that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope. May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus, so that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” May it be so.

—Andrew


Contents


Boat Stories: A Summer Worship Series

There are a lot of boats in the Bible. From Noah and Jonah to Jesus and the Disciples, boats are the setting for many stories, a place where God shows up and the space in which the lessons of faith are learned and lived out. Perhaps it’s no surprise that many early Christian artists depicted the Church as a boat. Boats remain a symbol for the experience of Christian community – out at sea and learning to work together in often challenging circumstances. On Sunday July 14, we’ll begin an eight-week series in worship examining many of the boat stories in the Bible. Join us aboard as we study and explore.

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Quick notes...

Senior Friends News: Our Senior Friends group will meet for a potluck lunch in the Parlor on June 20 at noon. Lunch will be followed by the program in CE 101. This month we will be treated to a somewhat different program. Mike Simpson and Susan Meny from the Shepherd’s Center will talk about the origination of Tai Chi, an ancient Chinese exercise. They will share its value for health, healing, and longevity and will lead the group in some exercises. No mats or other equipment are needed. Come and join us for this program. It WON’T be too strenuous!

Sixth Annual Children's Festival and Lovefeast: Sunday, Aug. 18, 2:00-5:00 p.m., Friedland Moravian Church. All are invited to this interactive event where families can go at their own pace and learn about Moravian history. Activities include storytelling, sugar cake and putz making, mission projects, plus much more! A lovefeast will conclude the event at 4:00 p.m.

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Step by Step

Elders explain marriage discernment

In Acts 10, Peter experiences a vision in which God opens his eyes to a new possibility—an idea that first upsets him, then puzzles him, then at last expands his understanding of the kingdom of God. But the leaders of the church question his understanding—because they have not experienced his vision. And so, the text tells us, “Peter began to explain it to them, step by step” (Acts 11:4).

The Home Church Board of Elders has recently experienced something new. In our six-month discernment regarding the rite of marriage among our membership, we learned that although we sometimes have very different ideas, we can share deeply, listen hard, and walk around a mystery until we arrive at a resolution together. Sometimes, in our discernment process, we were upset; sometimes we were puzzled; but ultimately, we have learned something about living together in the kingdom of God.

Because we have been blessed by the experience, we want to share it with the congregation. Recently, the Home Church office sent an e-mail to the congregation on behalf of the Board of Elders. Attached to this e-mail was a report detailing our six months of discernment. Like Peter, we tried to explain it step by step.

If you did not receive that e-mail, or would like a printed copy for any reason, please let the church office know. You can pick a copy up, or have one mailed to you.

Meanwhile, we offer these words with which the report closes:

In the practice of our faith there will always be elements on which we disagree. But, thanks be to God, our agreement is larger and deeper: for we agree that Jesus is Lord.

Hold your thumb and finger an inch apart: we disagree on this much. Spread your hands wide: We agree on this much. This hand gesture has become a sort of signature among the elders as we describe our differences and our unity.

We believe that Christ himself stands with hands spread wide, inviting us all to remain in the space where we hold so much in common. Let us talk to one another; let us grow more deeply to love one another; and let us inhabit this blessed space together as the body of the Lord we love. 

—The Home Moravian Church Board of Elders

 

See Elders Report to read same-gender marriage resolution.

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