Hope Weekly
March 9, 2018
I subscribe to several daily devotions that come by email.  One of my favorites is written by a Franciscan, Father Richard Rohr.  His devotion for Wednesday was powerful and so I share it with you today.
Pastor Kevin JPG    
Every Being Is of God's Making

If you would learn more, ask the cattle,
Seek information from the birds of the air.
The creeping things of earth will give you lessons,
And the fishes of the sea will tell you all.
There is not a single creature that does not know
That everything is of God's making. 
God holds in power the soul of every living thing,
And the breath of every human body.
-Book of Job 12:7-10
Most people do not even know that this wonderful passage from Job is even in the Bible. My friend and fellow Franciscan Jack Wintz wrote a book entitled  Will I See My Dog in Heaven?  In it he takes the scriptural, Christian, and Franciscan traditions to their logical conclusions:  Yes, of course!  As Franciscans, we studied the Scriptures and chanted Psalms that were filled with allusions to the natural world and animals. From the beginning of the Bible to the end, it is clear that a loving God includes all of creation in God's Kingdom.
In the Genesis story, God's love, beauty, and goodness overflow into creation; and all creatures, including humans, are living peacefully in God's presence. Isaiah prophesies the "peaceable kingdom" to come (11:1-9; 65:17-25), which is symbolized by animals living in peace. In Revelation, John hears "every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, everything in the universe" giving God "blessing and honor, glory and might, forever and ever" (Revelation 5:13). Finally, John sees "a new heaven and a new earth" (21:1) and the Bible ends with a new garden, complete with "the river of life-giving water" and "the tree of life" (22:1-2).
God shows authentic, primal concern for all animals by directing Noah to take a male and female of every species onto the ark to be saved (see Genesis 7:2-3).  Apparently, animals matter and are worth "saving." After the flood, God makes a covenant, not just with people but with  all of creation (stated five times in 9:10-17). How did we miss that? Sadly, if we are self-centered, even if we say the Bible is the "inerrant" word of God, we will hear only what we want to hear! God's salvation-and every biblical covenant-is clearly a social, historical, and universal concept rather than the merely human and individualistic version of salvation that most of us were taught. This made Christianity into a largely ineffective religion. The notion of salvation became so guarded and so stingy it was finally not available to the vast majority of humans!
I encourage you to study Scripture for yourself. Note especially Daniel 3:57-82; Job 12: 7-10 and 38:4-39:30; and Psalms 104 and 148, all of which show forth the revelatory power of creation. As Wintz says, "We are a part of this Creation, not  apart from  it . " [2] To love something is to mirror its inmost core and dignity, which we have also found within ourselves.       

Remember to Spring Forward
Daylight Savings Time begins March 11th.  Remember to "Spring Forward" one hour to avoid being late for worship.

Midweek Worship During Lent--
Thy Will Be Done
"Not as I will, but as you will," Jesus prayed to his Father the night before he went to the cross for our salvation. And that is our prayer as well this Lent as we seek to do God's will in our lives, as we draw near to the observance of Christ's suffering, death and resurrection during Holy Week.
Each Wednesday between now and March 25, you are invited to a simple meal followed by worship.

5:00-6:20 Dinner in Larson Hall for all
5:45            Children's Choir in the Choir Room
6:00           Confirmation in the Co-op Room
6:20           Meditative Music in the Sanctuary
6:30-7:00 Worship in the Sanctuary for all
7:00-7:45  First Communion Class in the Family Lounge
7:00           Adult Choir in the Choir Room

Palm Sunday: Hope in the Shadows
The music ministry is excited to present Hope in the Shadows , a Contemporary Tenebrae service on Sunday, March 25. This will feature the adult choir, children's choir, praise team and congregational singing. There will be traditional hymns and contemporary praise songs to retrace Christ's final days to the cross. This will be a meaningful way to celebrate Passion Sunday. Join us for worship.

Backpacks of Hope
Have just a little extra room in your grocery budget this week?  Consider picking up something for the Backpacks of Hope ministry.  We especially need cans of tuna fish and condensed soup.
"I was hungry and you fed me." Matthew 25:35
Invite a Friend to Easter Worship
Throughout the Lenten season each of us can begin praying for three people that we will invite to join us in worship on Easter Sunday.  Postcards are available to send out to invite someone to join us for Easter worship services at Hope. We encourage you to be in prayers about who you might invite.