February, 2012

One of the many traits about FPCY that I love is the way people engage me and one another in conversation. I noticed it almost immediately after I arrived here, and wanted to encourage it as well as be a part of it. An idea or insight only begins to take root as we take the time to reflect on it, and conversation can help our reflection.

Talking with one another was one of the reasons the Adult Education Committee set up the monthly Sermons for Lunch (for everyone) as a way to dialogue about the sermon, the worship service and other topics on the hearts and minds of people. Conversation is the reason that, in addition to using email and text messaging, we have a website with space for comments and are exploring social media to increase opportunities for more regular conversation. In January, we hosted the “Life Online” workshop because so many of us and our children are in conversations on a regular basis through social media. We human beings need to talk. It is an important way we connect. When we listen to one another, we grow in our relationships with each other and with God.

There are many conversations going on in our church right now. As I write this, I’m looking forward to the conversations that the elders and I will have at the session retreat. We are talking about two questions: What has God been doing in our midst during the last two years? And, how has the last two years prepared us to go to the next level of what God wants us to do? Our deacons will be going on (what I believe is) their first retreat together in March to talk about their ministry and  what God is calling us to do next through their ministry. Our Communications Commission is further developing our online presence through social media so that we can be in conversation about what is happening in our life and ministry. And, our Adult Education Committee is looking at ways we converse with God in prayer and listen as God speaks to us through scripture, two spiritual practices that we can do together during Lent.

During Lent, we’ll be talking about the last 24 hours of Jesus’ life, and I hope you will join us in the conversations on Sunday mornings, Wednesday nights or Thursday mornings. What would you do if you knew you had 24 hours to live?Jesus knew his time was coming to an end, and the Bible records his journey. Because Jesus’ final  hours happen so quickly during Holy Week, we often miss the details or gloss over different parts. So, we are going to  elongate that 24 hours over the six weeks of Lent and talk about the different events of his last hours. That time is fundamental to who we are as Christians. The last hours of Jesus’ life define our ministry to the suffering of this world as standing with them. It defines our work against injustice. It defines our sense of community and why we share meals and fellowship together. And, the end of the journey tells us that God’s message cannot be shut up in a tomb. If you are not involved in the conversation of faith and ministry at FPCY, I hope you will join us in February and  throughout Lent. If you are interested  in exploring membership in our church, we will be providing opportunities to talk about that as well. If you haven’t joined our online conversation on Facebook or Twitter, “like” us and “follow” us and tell us what you think or start a conversation there yourself. As we talk and listen to each other, we will grow in our faith and community with one  another, and will hear God’s voice leading us into the future together.

Let’s keep talking!