June 11, 2017: Trinity Sunday

August 27, 2017

Trinity Sunday with guest speaker Jerry Buss from the NW WA Synod

THIS  WEEK'S REFLECTION 
 

 

A Reflection from Steve Garnaas-Holmes, www.unfoldinglight.net
 

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Pentecost Celebration 

 

God is not a guy.

God is the energy of fire, the movement of wind,

the flow of breathing, the unfolding of creating,

the the loving of Love, the being of Being.

 

Love is God: the Lover, the Beloved,

and the Love that flows between.

This is the Holy Trinity.

 

God is the Source of all energy, and the energy itself;

and that energy made matter among us,

Word made flesh;

and God is that love in us, burning, singing, loving.

 

God is One, yet not a single thing,

nor a loving couple—with no way in for us—

but community.

God is the many, the All.

 

When you love you join them;

you are part of the Eternal.

Look how tenderly they love each other.

Look how there is room for us.

You are the fourth person of the Holy Trinity.

Find yourself there.

 

           The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ,

           the love of God,

           and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

        —2 Corinthians 13.13

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June 4, 2017: Pentecost Sunday

August 27, 2017

Pentecost Sunday - 

Church of Hope holds a discus Jason Freelough, Founder of Kids and Race and preschool held at the Columbia City Church of Hope.

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August 20, 2017: Steve Biko and Do-Gooders’ “Superiority Complex”

August 20, 2017

Steve Biko and Do-Gooders' "Superiority Complex"

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Photo Credit: IMDB

 

‘Cry Freedom’ is a film from the mid-1980s depicting the apartheid system’s security police murder of Steve Biko, the father of black consciousness in South Africa.  Although he is widely known throughout Africa, U.S. knowledge of Biko has been almost totally forgotten.  Nowhere is there any focus on how Biko critiqued the ‘superiority complex’ of white liberals, and do-gooders everywhere.  Come join a liberating focus on this rising star of black history, as interpreted by Church of Hope’s David Mesenbring, an Episcopal priest who knew Biko, and helped preserve his banned writings for publication.   In our Bible  story from Matthew 15:21-28 (about encountering a Canaanite woman), Jesus makes some comments that feel shockingly arrogant and racist.

 Was he simply unable to transcend his up-bringing?  

What does it take to outgrow the bias into which we're bred?

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July 16, 2017: You’re a Good Seed!

July 26, 2017

You're a Good Seed!

Our reflection this week is fromMatthew 13:1-9, 18-23, a parable Jesus told about seeds falling on various kinds of ground with various results. A farmer goes out and scatters seed everywhere: some seeds fall on the road, others in the rocky dry, ground or the blackberry bushes, and they get choked out by the sun and the weeds. And some  of them happen to fall on good soil and grow up to be incredibly strong and healthy plants. Not all of the seeds get a fair chance. But there aren't bad seeds in the story. We are all good seeds, created by God. By not everyone gets the chance to grow into the strong and healthy beings we could. This is heartbreaking and unfair. The sins of racism, economic injustice, homelessness in a wealthy city, violence based on gender or sexuality--these harsh circumstances stunt lives that are created with great promise.  

Where is God's hand at work in tending the crazy garden of our world? 

Why are some soils allowed to be so inhospitable to the flourishing of life?

 How are we called to work alongside God in tending it?

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July 23, 2017: A Time to Dance and a Time to Mourn

July 26, 2017

A Time to Dance & A Time To Mourn

Our reflection this week is from Matthew 13:24-30, another farming parable Jesus told. Last week we reflected on the various kinds of soil; it was noted several times the basic unfairness that no seed gets to choose where it is planted. There are such vastly different opportunities from the very beginning of life.  This week, we reflect on an even more puzzling parable: there are good seeds growing, and weeds come up alongside them. When the workers ask if they should pull out the weeds, Jesus tells them no; it will all get sorted out in the end.

While several dangerous and harmful interpretations of this metaphor immediately come to mind, may we begin with a simple observation: there are weeds growing alongside the seeds that were planted. In the parable, in every garden in the world, in every possible metaphorical garden: there is some goodness and some evil; there is some beauty and some garbage; there are some flowers and some weeds. “Let them both grow together,” Jesus says in the parable, for reasons I can hardly fathom. It’s not our job to sort. It’s not our job to assign roles, to say that some people are flowers and others weeds. It is not our job to say that some people are good and others evil. It is not our job to say that some people belong to God and others do not.

Even as we revel in the long sunny days of summer, our neighborhood mourns the violence of the past week. Two young men have died by gunshots in a playfield just two blocks from our church.  They should have been allowed to live, to grow, to bloom in this park. Their friends, their family, every single neighbor in this community should feel safe in this garden, and yet. And yet. There are weeds of violence, fear among us. These weeds are NOT individuals, but systems of injustice, exclusion, and oppression.

Summer is a time to dance, to revel in the sun. It is also a time to mourn, to honor the lives that have been cut too short. It is a time to play with our kids and a time to work--to change the systems that have failed to make this city a place where all feel safe and welcome.

Where is God calling you to challenge the weeds of injustice? 

Why can’t evil just be rooted out?

How do we come together to mourn--and to dance--and to honor the time for all things?

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February 26, 2017: Ash Wednesday

July 6, 2017

In collaboration with our neighbors at Valley & Mountain, we enter into the season of Lent (the 40 days leading up to Easter) with this meditative service including prayer, reflection, and the imposition of ashes. Lent is traditionally a season of entering more deeply into the spiritual practices of contemplation, generosity, prayer, and self-discipline. Join the community of Hope this year in this sacred exploration.

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February 19, 2017: Love Your Enemies?!

July 6, 2017

Love your Enemies?!

This is the last week in our series on Jesus’ sermon on the mount, as we reflect on the section Matthew 5:38-48 where Jesus says, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” This is also the text for The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous sermon on Loving Your Enemies in which Dr. King insisted that “Jesus is not an impractical idealist: he is the practical realist.” In our discussion group on that sermon, we’ve debated not so much the why but the HOW.  When people are trying to harm you, endanger those you love, threaten your deepest core values and the world you share: how do you love them? And will it really work? Dr. King and Jesus believed in the redemptive power of love, “the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.”

 
Clearly we are living in times when this idea is not an abstraction, but an absolutely urgent survival strategy.

Do we trust that it will work?

How will we put it into practice?

Who are your enemies, and how do you pray for them?

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February 12, 2017: Love Thy Neighbor

July 6, 2017

In the 3rd week in our series studying Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, our reflection this week is based onMatthew 5:21-37and a text from the Hebrew Scriptures, Deuteronomy 30:15-20. Both of these texts reflect on the meaning and purpose of law. In biblical terms, the law is always a “gift to strengthen community by orienting us to the needs of our neighbor.” How do we understand the role of laws in our lives today, especially as the three branches of US government tussle daily on the front pages of the news over the creation, enforcement, and morality of our laws? With growing awareness and critical thinking about how we relate to laws today, a biblical understanding of law can help us ask good questions.

Between children and their parents, citizens and their government, people of faith and their God:

 What confers authority?

Who benefits (and who suffers) in following the “letter of the law”?

When should and how authority be resisted?  

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February 5, 2017: Spirituality that Matters

July 6, 2017

One of our priorities in 2017 for Church of Hope is that we explore together spirituality that matters, bringing our whole selves, doubts and questions, struggles and all. As a community, we are here for each other in hard times and turn to each other when we are hurting. Our spirituality values honest questions and diversity of beliefs and experiences.  


. “You are the salt of the earth. But what if salt were to lose its flavor?...You are the light of the world.”  Jesus doesn’t say that you should be salt and light, but that you are.Matthew 5:13-20As we enter in Black History Month and the chaos of the second week of the Trump Administration, we continue our series with the second of four weeks on Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. This week we reflect on

 

What does it mean to be salt and light in a world that is in such desperate need of hope and justice?

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January 29, 2017: Reconciling in Christ Celebration

April 11, 2017

Today we celebrated and gave thanks for the gift of being a Reconciling in Christ community, and for the gift of so many people here in this community of different gender identities and sexual orientations who have chosen to be a part of Church of Hope.

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