In this episode of Wayfarer we'll hear a story from Gerard Howell and music from Jane Tatum. It's week two of Lent. I don’t know about you, but sometimes, this journey uncovers things I’d rather let lie. When we venture out into the wilderness, into these quiet spaces, we encounter old ghosts, wounds that still haven’t healed, guilt over things left undone and shame for our hurtful words. Sometimes, even Jesus looks strange--muddied with old images of God formed in fear-steeped traditions, covered with vestiges of a great vengeful eye watching intently for any misstep, tainted with the amalgamation of perfectionistic parenting, power-hungry preachers, and embedded moralities that shame any variance. Sometimes when I try to enter into silence and contemplation, I worry about what I’ll find. Who will I meet? Will it be that vengeful God that still haunts me from long ago? The one that constantly threatened punishment? Will it be the God that demands perfect obedience without question? Will it be the God that is ashamed of me and cannot look upon my sinfulness? Our anxieties can sometimes make it hard to see what God is really doing. And in the end, it must come down to faith. Who is this God we seek? As we look, at the story of the woman at the well, we find a God who is not ashamed of our bad reputations or our social status. We find a God who doesn’t demand perfection or look for ways to punish. Rather, we find a generous God who goes way out of the way to meet with someone on the margins. This God opens up the past in a way that is healing and transformative--embracing all of us, and welcoming us into a generous communion. I hope you see that God that knows you fully and loves you completely, not in spite of your shortcomings, but because you are beloved.
This Sunday, we kick-off our series of guest Gospel Proclaimers with Dr. Laura Rodgers Levens preaching from John 4, the story of Jesus and the woman at the well in Samaria. Dr. Levens is a member of Central and the Associate Professor of Missions with the Baptist Seminary of Kentucky. Her scholarly work and interests include the areas of Christian missions history, women in Christian history, biblical hermeneutics and theology, the practice of mission and vocation. Her husband Justin serves on our Body of Deacons and they are the proud parents of Felix and Greta. We look forward to this leadership with us this Sunday.
We continue our study with John's unique inclusion of many witnesses to the ministry of Jesus by women. This time, we have invited the congregation and Minister of Quinn Chapel A.M.E. to join us for our regular Sunday morning activities. We will start around 9:45 a.m. with a join breakfast to start the day and a brief Bible study before joining in the Sanctuary together for the 11 a.m. service with Rev. Ken Golphin as our Guest Proclaimer. Our service will close with communion. It will be a great and historic day in common fellowship, worship and our common identity as brothers and sisters in Christ.
Our Minister's Class led by Mark Johnson begins meeting again each Sunday morning from 10:00 -10:30 starting this Sunday, February 18, the First Sunday in Lent. Topics this year will include an introduction to the better parts of our Baptist heritage and history, listening to others on how they have discerned and sought to follow God's call in their lives and offering ways to move away from toxic-forms of religion by integrating and developing healthier and whole-life producing alternatives. This week, we will introduce the Spring calendar and get us kicked off for the new year. All are welcome to join us in the Sanctuary.
Our preaching focus for Lent 2018 will focus on many of the female witnesses introduced throughout the Gospel of John. These include Mary, the Mother of Jesus, the woman from Samaria at the Well, the woman forcibly accused of adultery, stories of the sisters Mary and Martha and the women who stayed faithful to Jesus at the foot of the cross and Mary Magdalene, the first witness to the resurrection. Helping us each Sunday will be a wonderful assemblage of voices including Dr. Laura Levens, Rev. Crystal Shepherd, Toya Richards with the Alliance of Baptists and Rachel Childress. On March 4, we have invited the congregation of Quinn Chapel A.M.E. to join us at Central for our regular morning service with their Pastor Kenneth Golphin, to deliver the sermon. We look forward to a powerful and meaningful Lenten season with these special worship services.
It’s that time of year again. We’re back for another season as we journey through Lent together. This year, we’re going to do things a little different than before. The past couple of years we’ve done a daily podcast throughout the lenten season and I’ve lived in my basement all alone with nothing but enormous amounts of coffee and spray cheese, but this year we’re moving to an extended weekly podcast with what we think are the best sections of our previous episodes. Today we’re talking with Mark Thomas. Mark and Lucy, along with their son Canaan, came to Central last year after returning to the area from Texas where Mark taught Philosophy at Blinn College in Bryan, Texas. Mark and Lucy have traveled to many places, and we’ll hear about one of those trips now as we begin our journey into Lent.
Prayer offered Sunday from Charles Conkin
A few constructive suggestions in addition to "Thoughts and Prayers" for responsible gun safety
A Prayer of Lament and Hope for Our Despondent Spirits The following is a prayer I offered tonight at our regular Wednesday night prayer in light of the horrific, disturbing and far too often school shootings, this time closer to home at Marshall County High School in Benton, Kentucky. This prayer is influenced by language offered by my friend and colleague, Rabbi David Wirtschafter, whose Facebook post became a launching pad for my own meditations. May we all (Jews, Christians and all persons of goodwill) work, work, work beyond our prayers and for a better and safer tomorrow. A future post will highlight actual action steps.