SERMONS & RESOURCES

The Church Council would like to make sure the entire congregation has access to sermons and information during the quarantine. If you know of any church member who does not have Internet access, please let Megan know so she can update the Council. We are working diligently to keep everybody informed and up to date. Contact us at hello@stlucasucc.org.

Holy Listening

Rev. Dr. Bill Smutz

July 05, 2020

Scripture For This Week: Luke 5.12-16

 

The first requirement of soul tending is listening……listening for the heartbeat of God. Communal discernment – what God wants for our church – involves listening for the One true voice, as well as learning to distinguish that voice from all the other voices that clamor for attention in our world. Making space for silence so that we can give our full attention to God – like Jesus in today’s Gospel lesson – is vital for our holy listening. Jesus worked hard to give himself time apart for prayer. Though scripture does not offer percentages, about 90% of Jesus’ prayer time seems to be his listening to God!

 

As part of the St. Lucas virtual worship service this weekend, all will be invited to participate in the celebration of the Lord’s Supper. In preparation for watching the service – and only if you desire to do this – please have something solid to break and eat and something liquid to drink close at hand. At the appropriate time, Pastor Bill and Pastor Kelly will extend an invitation to break and eat the solid element and drink the liquid element, and we will commune “together”. While the form of our worship is evolving some in these days of Coronavirus, the depth of God’s love for us is constant and worthy of celebration!

Spiritual Shifts Part II

Rev. Dr. Bill Smutz

June 28, 2020

Scripture For This Week: Mark 9.2-8

 

Being in Liminal Time requires three significant spiritual shifts. Last week we explored the first shift – ‘from knowing to unknowing’. This week we will consider two additional spiritual shifts – ‘from advocating to attending’, and ‘from striving to surrender’. Energy follows attention. How we pay attention and what we focus on determines how decision-making unfolds. The quality of our attention shapes our steps and choices. Liminal time invites deep seeing and listening rather than hastily trying to fix perceived problems. Liminal time also invites surrender. Not surrender as ‘giving up’, but surrender as ‘yielding’ – accepting the past for what it was, embracing the present reality of the church, and yielding to the mystery of the future and the mystery of God in that future. The telling of The Transfiguration in Mark 9 – especially Peter’s attempted response to something he did not fully understand – will guide our thinking about the spiritual shifts before us.

Spiritual Shifts - Part I

Rev. Dr. Bill Smutz

June 21, 2020

Scripture For This Week: Mark 9.14-24

 

Being in liminal time, existing on the threshold between what has been and what will be, requires an openness to God’s Spirit that isn’t necessarily natural for us.  For the Holy Spirit is continually in motion, continually moving toward God’s future, continually calling us to be in motion as well. One of the spiritual shifts we are invited to embrace in liminal time is the shift from knowing to unknowing. Instead of being certain in our own knowledge, the Spirit invites us as disciples to rely on each other, and to practice communal trust in the guiding of the Holy Spirit. In many places in life we are valued by others, or find self-value by the knowledge we have……knowledge that allows us to offer meaningful responses to challenging situations; knowledge that gives the ability – individually or collectively – to solve problems and create movement in a positive direction. In liminal time where past experience does not always predict God’s future, the wonder of the unknown and a sense of awe before the mystery of God is a required spiritual shift. A shift, which as our Gospel lesson reveals, Jesus is always willing to help us make!  

Neither Here Nor There

Rev. Dr. Bill Smutz

June 14, 2020

Scripture for This Week: Ezekiel 10.15-19

 

Understanding the concept of liminality, seeing the threshold as the place where St. Lucas resides right now, understanding this as a hopeful place for individual disciples and the church as a whole – hopeful because it is traditionally the place (see Ezekiel lesson) where God’s presence is thought to reside! On the threshold we are completely reliant and dependent on God. When God’s church isn’t sure about its place in the world and its future, on the threshold with God is a great place to be.   

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