GPS GUIDE | Week of June 28, 2020
Weekly Grow-Pray-Study Guide
We're on week 4 of a new worship series, "Searching for Beauty - Returning to the Heart of Worship." Along with the worship series, we'll be sending out a weekly devotional guide called the GPS - the Grow-Pray-Study Guide - which will provide a weekly supplement of resources to guide you on your journey of faith.

In case you missed it, view this week's online worship service below.
Abyss, Mystery and Wonder
Becoming Lost in Wonder, Love and Praise
READ | Scripture Reading
Names were important in the Ancient Near East. Names described attributes of the person to whom they were assigned and could be changed when an important occurrence shifted the story and the essence of a person. The psalmist often gives glory to “the name of God.” And yet to name God is difficult for there is no one word that can describe the fullness of the Holy.

In this week's Lectio Divina passage, the psalmist describes the attributes of God for which praise is given: justice and compassion. This is unlike any other unfeeling, life-denying idol that claims to be a “god.” This is a Holy Spirit that moves and breathes–not only in setting the beauty of creation in motion, but even now. It is an indescribable presence that warrants the simple description “Beautiful Name.”
You are encouraged to use the spiritual practice of Lectio Divina as you read this week's scripture passage.

Try reading the scripture through 3 times, aloud if possible. Pause when a word or phrase seems to “jump out” or “shimmer” as you read. Why does that word or phrase seem to stand out? What is God saying to you in this moment? What action is God calling you to?
Psalm 135: 1-3; 13-21 (Inclusive Bible)
Alleluia! Praise the Name of YHWH—
              sing praise, you who serve the Most High,
              who stand in the house of YHWH,
              in the courts of God’s house!
Alleluia! God is good!
               [Sing praises to God’s name because it is beautiful!] (a)
YHWH, your Name stands forever;
              your fame is told from one generation to the next.
For you do justice for your people;
              and you have compassion for your faithful.
The idols of the nations are silver and gold,
              the work of human hands.
They have mouths but they can’t speak;
              they have eyes but they can’t see.
They have ears but can’t hear;
              there is never a breath on their lips.
Their makers will come to be like them,
              and so will all who trust in them!
House of Israel, bless YHWH!
Priests of the temple, bless YHWH!
Attendants of the sanctuary, bless YHWH!
You who revere YHWH, bless YHWH!
Blessings from Zion upon YHWH,
              who dwells in Jerusalem!

(a) Ref: CEB
WATCH | Interview with Dr. Wendy Farley
Each week, we'll be provided with a video discussion between Dr. Wendy Farley, Professor of Spirituality and Dr. Marcia McFee, Professor of Worship, as they delve deeper into the week's themes and ideas.

Watch the week 4 discussion:
REFLECT | Reflection Questions
These questions - based on the sermon & interview video - can be used as personal reflection questions, or as discussion questions with a friend or small group.
  • How comfortable are you with “not knowing” and accepting–and even loving–that we cannot know or control things? Can you embrace the idea that someone you’ve know even for a long time can surprise you? How much more, then, can we surmise that God is infinitely more than we can know or imagine? How do you feel about that?

  • Dr. Farley’s father wrote of a “violence” that is done to others when we insist on reducing them to what we think about them. Could there be a connection between our continued struggle with “isms” such as racism? Can we use this idea of the beauty of undefinable depths to help us notice when our thoughts or actions are contrary to honoring others’ integrity of being?

  • Is there something you do in your life that allows you to be “lost in wonder?” It can be a specific activity or it can be a place or a habit. What can you plan to do this week to release your “thinking” so you can get “lost” in wonder and praise?
PRACTICE | Weekly Spiritual Practice
This series invites us to integrate spiritual practices into our daily lives as a way of opening to the Divine in deeper ways, thereby training our spirits for compassion in all things.

"Curiosity is the compass that leads us to our passions. Follow it and you won't be disappointed."
"The future belongs to the curious. The ones who are not afraid to try it, explore it, poke at it, question it and turn it inside out."

"The mind that opens to a new idea never returns to its original size." - Albert Einstein

"Curiosity. It keeps us moving forward, exploring, experimenting, opening new doors." - Walt Disney

"Remember to look up at the stars, not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious." - Stephen Hawking

This week’s ritual action is a practice of curiosity . Set a reminder to spend some time exploring something you want to know more about. It might be further exploration into what Hubble has taught us about the universe. Or it could be learning more about a particular group of people or a species of animal. Whatever you choose, as you do so, allow your mind to take in the wonder, contemplate the information slowly, open your heart to wonder. 

You may want to put a note nearby, “The more we know, the more we know we don’t know. Wonder and awe that leads to care of creation is good… for the beauty of the earth”
PRAY | This week's prayer requests
  • Prayers for Larry Conrad recently diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. Treatment will be outpatient radiation therapy followed by surgery and rehab. Larry was the pastor at PCUMC along with his wife Mary Beth and sons Ben and David from 1988 to 1996. David and his wife Katie and their son Jack attend PCUMC. Larry is a chaplain at MercyOne Hospital in Des Moines. Please hold Larry and his family in your prayers throughout treatment and recovery.
  • Prayers for Nancy Pearson's grandson Stephen who has been diagnosed with COVID-19
  • Prayers for Diane Hammond's sister-in-law who continues to need blood transfusions every month or so because of the side effects of her cancer treatment.
  • Prayers for those struggling with depression.
Want to Go Deeper?
It's not too late to join our online study, Tuesdays at 2:00 PM

Do you long for a deep, fundamental change in your life with God? Do you desire a greater intimacy with God? Do you wonder how you might truly live your life as God created you to live it?

Sacred Rhythms is a curriculum designed to help you arrange your life around a regular pattern of traditional spiritual practices that God can use to nourish your soul and transform your life.
To participate in the study, you will need to purchase a copy of the Sacred Rhythms Participant Guide .

Note: the participants guide is different than the original book, and is all you will need for this study; the videos will be provided.

We will use the Zoom platform to share the video sessions together, then engage in discussion. You can listen to the session and participate by audio only by dialing in by phone, or you can access both audio and video using your smartphone, tablet or computer and clicking the link to Join the Zoom meeting at the start time for each session.

Register for the study below, and you will receive the information to join.