I had a wonderful trip to the East Coast to participate in the 20th anniversary celebration of the Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists – “Coming of Age: A Living Jubilee.” The weather was beautiful. We met in two historic churches – First Unitarian in Providence and the First Baptist Church in America. The program was well-received and meaningful. It was good to see old friends and colleagues and to meet new ones. The work of full inclusion of lgbtqiq folk in Baptist circles has come far in the past 40 years (beginning with American Baptists Concerned in 1973) but there is still much work to be done. I hope you will join me in prayer and work for that day of when we will have learned to embrace of all God’s children in love. If you would like to hear more about the event, I’d be glad to talk to you. For those of you who expressed concern, this trip was vacation time for me.
This Sunday we will focus on the familiar parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector. The crowd might have had some trouble with the Pharisee, but they would have despised the tax collector. What is Jesus doing when he blesses the tax collector over the Pharisee? What lesson is he trying to teach his first disciples and us about the way we see ourselves and others? It’s so easy to see the speck in someone else’s eye.
We are in for a special treat after worship when Naomi will be leading us in an “Advent to Epiphany Worship Brainstorming Party.” Naomi has been interning with well-known worship design artist, Marcia McFee, and will be bringing some of that work to share with us. This is a wonderful opportunity for all of us to engage in planning worship and other events for the Advent/Christmas/Epiphany season that will be meaningful to us and we can claim as our own. Please plan to be here at 10 AM for worship and Sunday School and then to stay for the workshop. A light lunch will be provided.
May God’s new thing flourish within us and among us.