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From Many Paths, Embracing our Differences, Finding Our Story Together

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"After Sunday worship I feel refreshed and ready to start a new week. Worship calms me and makes me want toW be a more giving and forgiving person."

 

 "I am here to share my soul, body, and mind with our bigger family who shares our worship to God and the entire universe.  This is my worship experience at church."

 

Worship at FCC Essex follows a traditional liturgy, but God still speaks to the world today from these ancient words and rituals as if they were new.  Music and spirit and art and words and silence center us and inform us.  Our style of worship brings comfort, soothes the spirit, challenges the mind, strengthens our love of each other, and empowers us for doing good in the world.

 

We share our church home with Ivoryton Congregational Church.  They worship Sundays at 8:45 am.  We worship at 10:30 am.

 

Other special services of worship are celebrated throughout the year during Advent (Christmas) and Lent, as well as ecumenical events with other churches in Essex and within the UCC.

 

 

October 22, 2017

Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

 

 

Exodus 33:12-23 with Psalm 99
1 Thessalonians 1:1-10
Matthew 22:15-22

 

Immanence and transcendence

Theologians talk about the tension between God's immanence and God's transcendence; it seems that we spend long periods in human history (and theology) out of balance between the two, refusing to live within that tension. Perhaps, for example, we lost our respect and appreciation for the goodness of creation when we "put" God up in the sky, out of reach and away from the gracious earth that supports us, that seems to breathe with a life of its own.

For example, the ancient Celtic approach to spirituality sees "the Word" in creation, that is, God still speaking to us in the tender beauty and breathtaking majesty of creation. Perhaps even in the anger of creation as well, although I am not saying that God sends hurricanes to punish cities; it does however seem reasonable to see global warming, for example, as a result of, if not a reaction to, what we have done to the atmosphere, the oceans and the ground beneath our feet.

Indescribable Otherness

On the other hand, when we make God simply--only--a good friend that we can talk to, someone who listens to our troubles and takes care of us--and even wants us "to be rich"--that kind of God easily loses the indescribable, overwhelming Otherness that we call "The Holy." The Holiness so great that we fall speechless before it, rather than confidently presenting our laundry list of current requests and demands and questions.

We know what it feels like to have an experience that makes us fall silent with awe and wonder: witnessing the birth of a child, or seeing a shooting star, or watching a hummingbird hover outside our window. Once, during a visit to a "dark sky" area in New Zealand, I walked through the living room of the house where we were staying and almost fell back from the sight of a sky brightly blanketed with stars, a sight denied to those of us in much of the United States. It was beautiful.



Read this entire reflection here.


To see a sermon, click here