Ash Wednesday

The clergy in our diocese have a regular conference call with our bishop as a means to touch base and hear what is happening in churches around our region.  As we were wrapping up, Bishop Guernsey exhorted us to a good Ash Wednesday with this illustration–

‘I can spend an hour cleaning my entire house.  I hit the high spots, the stuff you’ll immediately notice.  I get in to a room and then get out as fast as I can.

I can also spend an entire day just cleaning one room:  I move furniture, I get the corners, I use small brushes and fine rags.

The difference between the 2 cleanings is a picture of the difference between the 5 seconds we have for ‘confession of sin’ on a typical Sunday and ‘confession of sin’ on Ash Wednesday.’

Our liturgy tomorrow gives us the gift of a lengthy and detailed prayer of confession.  We think about specific relationships and arenas of interaction.  We look at specific sins of commission and omission.  We look for our part in the brokenness of our planet and the larger picture of fallenness.  It’s a thorough examination and a good cleaning.  We will gather at 6:30am, noon, and 7:30pm.  I encourage you to come as early as you can [the 7:30 will be more full and we will be running our shuttle from the lot over I-66].

The service begins in silence, in darkness.  There is opportunity for the imputation of ash as a reminder that we come from dust and to dust we shall return.  We sing through Psalm 51 and pray through a thorough confession and give thanks that there is a cross and an empty tomb on the other side of these 40 days.

If you are still talking to God about your enemies, this is a logical next place to be.

If you are hoping to be the kind of person who is kind to the ungrateful and the evil, this is the place to ask.

And if you are ready to deal with the log in your eye, then come, sit, worship, pray, and confess with Restoration on Ash Wednesday.

See you tomorrow.


Disciples: Hardest Job Description Ever

February 10, 2013 – Luke 6:12-36 – David Hanke

new wine

But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins…


I have always found this to be a challenging instruction from Jesus.  Particularly because as Christians, so much of our understanding of life is rooted in what has happened in the past– in what is old.

  • We believe the center of history happened on a cross and was finished with an empty tomb.  Everything before it pointed to it and everything after it has been profoundly affected because of it.
  • We believe that God inspired people to write down stories and prophecies and poetry for thousands of years.  Then He instructed his people to hold that collection of inspiration firm–  to trust it, to submit to it, to learn from it.
  • We believe that Jesus established a means to remember him through bread and wine that is to be the centerpiece of Christian worship whenever the church gathers in His name.
  • We pray old prayers.  We sing old songs.  We study old Scriptures.

We are people who have hope for the future and who love God in the present BECAUSE of the way He has shown himself to be trustworthy in the past.

Just because something is old does not mean it is wrong.

Yet, Jesus is saying as clear as He can:  I am doing something new.  I don’t fit into the old systems.

Please note, JESUS is saying this.  We are not free to let anybody who wants to say it, say it.  We are not free to say–  ‘you know what?  These rules don’t work for me.  That limitation is old-fashioned.  We should re-interpret this teaching to mean something a little more socially acceptable.’

Jesus got to say it.  We don’t.

Jesus was saying that HE was something new.  He was not saying that anything we think is new should be given pride of place over the old.  There is much that is old that points to Jesus and much that is old that deepens our relationship with God and much that is old that is very, very good.

But Jesus was new.

And if you are stuck in a system of trying to behave the right way to get God to like you.  Or you are mired in so much guilt that you can’t ever imagine God would accept you.  Or you prefer revenge as a means to make things right.  Well Jesus has something new and he doesn’t fit in programs where you are graded on performance or serve an eye for an eye.

If you try and put his wine in that kind of a container, it’s just gonna blow up.


Disciples: Feasting and Fasting

February 3, 2013 – Luke 5:27-6:11 – David Hanke

Disciples: Not the Pretty People

January 27, 2013 – Luke 5 – David Hanke

Disciples: Choose and Move

January 20, 2013 – Luke 4:16-44 – Liz Gray

Disciples: Five W’s of Temptation

January 13, 2013 – Luke 4:1-13 – Erin Bair

Disciples: Prepared by Repentence

January 6, 2013 – Luke 3:1-22 – David Hanke

A Childlike Fascination

December 30, 2012 – Luke 2:41-51 – Clay Morrison

Consider Jesus: The High Priest of our Confession

December 23, 2012 – Hebrews 3:1-6 – David Hanke

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