Saturday, February 23, 2013

Sacred Music Gathering

From the rhythms of the heartbeat experienced in the womb to the stirring sounds of a marching band, rhythmic patterns and music surround us. Music is central to our lives and is embedded in our culture, defining how we acknowledge milestones, rites of passage and celebrations as well as providing comfort, transformation and inspiration. Possessing a dimension of its own, music often exceeds the spoken word in expressing moods and feelings of the soul. It is, therefore, integral to our experiences of "worship."

So this Sunday we're going to share "sacred" music - that is, you're invited to share any music that inspires you, moves your soul, helps you feel like you've been on holy ground. For some it might be Mozart, for others, Robert Earl Keen.  Perhaps you respond to the old gospel songs, or maybe it's the traditional classic hymns that give you goosebumps. Do I hear it for bluegrass? Maybe it's through a particular Christmas song that you hear God's voice, or it's Gregorian chant that opens your ears to the calling of the Divine. Whatever it is, you're invited to share it Sunday night with The Gathering.

You're invited to bring the music on CD, DVD, or even an old-fashioned vinyl record. If it's available on mp3, Youtube, etc, please send the link to me in advance, and Neil will download it and have it ready to play.

Our offering is still to be determined.  Because it's the 4th Sunday of the month, we will be nourished in many ways, but not through a shared community pot-luck meal.

Sunday, 24 February 2013,5:30 pm,
618 Locust

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Gathering for Lent

The Christian season of Lent began Wednesday, February 13, with Ash Wednesday. A traditional view of Lent is that it's a time of sacrifice and restriction, a journey to the desert of repentance. Spiritual guide and Catholic priest Edward Hays invites us to experience Lent instead as a time of expansion and growth. It is a journey, yes, and also a time of practicing spiritual disciplines, yes - but not for the purpose of diminishing and flagellating ourselves. Our efforts at things like contemplation, reading sacred texts, worship, prayer, service to others, practicing generosity and hospitality are to positively develop our relationship with God and enhance our connectedness with others.  He states:

Lent as a holy season challenges one to aspire to be as Godlike as possible in forgiving and loving.  We've all heard how the average person actualizes very little of his or her potential mental powers; the same is true of our spiritual potential. Lent as a holy season challenges one to reach for that potential, to aspire toward the greatness of soul that comes from cultivating virtues like justice, mercy, and love. 

Sunday's worship will begin this Lenten effort at cultivating "greatness of soul" with a time of worship and reflection. Our offering will be designated for Our Church's Wider Mission, an offering of the UCC. We will also share a potluck meal.

May this Lenten season be a time of deepening attention to the Sacred and also the ever-widening circle of Love and Compassion.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Sacred Gifts of Women

Genesis proclaims we are all created in the Divine image. However, ALL is all too often  interpreted to mean primarily men. Sunday's Gathering will highlight the particular history and gifts females bring to the world and examine what's so scary about that. Why is there so much effort made to silence and de-power females? This topic is particularly timely as violence against  females is in the news across the world; examples include: the US Senate  continues debating renewal of the Violence Against Women Act, India wrestles with sexual crimes against women, and Pakistani school girl Malala Yousafzai continues her journey of recovery.   Nancy, Ann, and Karen are co-planners and leaders this week. We will explore history, theology, language, and art, and our offering will be designated to help with the upcoming One Billion Rising event.  

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Spirit of Groundhog Day

Sunday, 3 February, 5:30 pm, 618 Locust Street

Have you ever wondered about the spiritual significance of Groundhog Day? Had it even occurred to you there might be some spiritual significance to this national celebration? Ok, I'll admit - it hadn't occurred to me. But then I watched the classic cult movie Groundhog Day and experienced an epiphany. Apparently I'm late to this understanding as the web is full of articles, blog posts, websites, pictures, reviews, and conversations about this subject. So in honor of the big Groundhog Day weekend and its inspired movie, Sunday night's Gathering will engage spiritual meanings and lessons from this annual celebration and the film.

Our financial offering is multi-faceted. The financial part will be designated for our friends at HERO. We'll also be collecting cans of soup as part of the national Souper Bowl of Caring effort. Our cans will be donated to Project Dignidad.

And speaking of soup - Sunday night is our community potluck night and what better way to celebrate the Souper Bowl of Caring than by sharing bowls of soup. Of course, since it's also the Super Bowl, it's also a great night to share favorite football food. So bring your favorite soup, football food, favorite football soup, or anything else that interests you. But most importantly - bring yourself, with or without food! It's the fellowship that's sacred.