Worship on July 5 – Fifth Sunday after Pentecost

Jul 05, 2020

After the gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and the birth of Christ’s church, the first Christians began the work of building up the body of Christ apart from buildings, not so different from where we find ourselves. As we listen to the Acts of the Apostles as part of our Acts Sermon Series, we ask: what is God’s Spirit of Christ revealing to us today about what it means to be Christ’s church in 2020?

Lessons for this Sunday, July 5:  Acts 18:1-4

Lessons for next Sunday, July 12:  Luke 15: 11-32

Acts Sermon Series:  Today we  conclude our sermon series on the book of Acts, following the gift of the Holy Spirit and the birth of Christ’s church, which was a church before buildings. Next Sunday, July 12, begins a new series on Cultivating Compassion: at the table (July 12), to the neighbor (July 9), for myself (July 26), along the way (August 2), and with the world (August 9). 

Reflection from Pastor Hoffman:

This is the final week of our series on the book of Acts, learning what it looks like to be a church without walls. The early church shows that following Jesus takes us to places we might not otherwise go – both physically, as God’s people set out to distant lands to share the good news, and metaphorically, as ideologies and cultural practices are challenged.

We may be left feeling that following Jesus happens in the big and momentous occasions – that blinding light on the road to Damascus, the dramatic acts of healing, being imprisoned for the faith. But the reality is that most of our lives are spent in much more mundane ways. (This week’s reading from Acts even reminds us that Paul himself worked for a living, making tents.)

“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives,” says Annie Dillard. Paying attention to how we spend our days, then, is an essential part of the life of faith.

What is helping you pay attention these days?

I have been reading Liturgy of the Ordinary by Tish Harrison Warren. It’s a book about paying attention to our daily habits and patterns as a way of worship, a way of tuning into God’s presence and grace and practicing our faith in our everyday lives. (This book also gave shape to the reflection I shared each week for Wednesday Evening Prayer throughout the last month.) At a time when we can’t gather as we’d like and many of our usual ways of practicing our faith have had to shift in recent months, I’ve appreciated the reminder that God is not contained by the four walls of church, and neither is our worship. Every moment of every day presents an opportunity for worship – whether through confession, praise, prayer or blessing.

I also hope that our formal (virtual) worship gives us the opportunity to reflect more deeply on what gives shape to our lives. Starting next week, we’re beginning a new series on Cultivating Compassion – it will give shape to Sunday morning worship, as well as opportunities for people of all ages to engage the weekly theme.  I pray that this series and the activities with it become another way to tune into God’s presence and become equipped to faithfully follow Jesus.

Because that’s the work to which we are called: not big and flashy but always the faithful work of striving to follow Jesus in the otherwise ordinary moments of our lives.