Praying without Words
We are not powerless in the face of "the spiritual forces of racism, sexism, violence, and Plantation Capitalism" that James Lawson spoke about at John Lewis' funeral. We can do something. And when asked, "Why?", we can simply answer, "Because God." We'll share a Love Feast, pray together (including a Prayer for Anti-Racism), sing together, listen to a story from Matthew 14:13-21, and feel compassion in the 1969 Elvis Presley song, "In the Ghetto."
At first glance, a phrase like, "The word is near you," could seem like some churchy, religious, phrase disconnected from our everyday experience. It's not. It's true that it's a quote from the Bible, but listen to how connected it is to our everyday reality - especially our weird pandemic reality. In the New Testament book of Romans, "The word is near you," is a quote from the book of Deuteronomy. We know how to walk the good road. It's not too hard. It's not too far away. Let that sink in.
We want Greensky Hill to be a safe place for all of us - ALL - to take “the greatest risk we’ll ever take.” That’s why we ask the hard questions and embrace the Mystery when we don’t have good answers. A 2016 Jordan Smith song will help get us there. In these days when political opponents call each other "sheeple" and BIPOC are disproportionately harmed by the pandemic and by institutional racism, it's more important than ever that we see each other as fully human.
What do rocks have to do with being truly, fully, human? The same metaphor - rock - can be a life giving foundation upon which to build or an impenetrable fortress that keeps us from risking being seen as we are. Foundation or fortress? Has COVID-19 intensified self-protective feelings in you (like a 1966 Simon and Garfunkel song)? Everyday, we can deconstruct the colonized version of who Jesus is, look to the rock from which we were hewn, and answer with our lives, "Who do you say that I am?"
Let's talk about genuine love and what it means to "hold fast to what is good." And we'll ponder this riddle, "For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it." A Mister Rogers song will help us hold fast and know, "Then Your Heart is Full of Love," as we listen to another story from Matthew 16 and a letter to a community trying to resist a false empire in order to live in God's kindom instead.
This week's video includes Pastor Sarah's Children's Message live! The service is all about what to do with the anxiety we feel, especially in the midst of a global pandemic. We can let it go.
Pentecost Sunday Live includes Pastor's Sarah's Children's Message! We'll re-center, focus on love, and continue working together to create a new normal. We will lament the murder of George Floyd; Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two Spirit; and the loss of 100,000 neighbors to COVID-19. And we will find hope in the power of the Holy Spirit to transcend difference and heal creation.
In 1870, William Swan was murdered for being black. None of the local white churches would bury a black man. At the end of the worship service, we walk from our hewn-log sanctuary to William Swan’s grave, so the world can see one more reminder that the particularly bad human behavior that the world has been reacting to since May 25, 2020 has been happening for a long, long time. And. There is still good in the world. And. If we love our neighbors as ourselves, love will win. Say his name.
This Second Sunday after Pentecost, we'll open our eyes to see all the people, especially those who often feel like they don't count - perhaps because of powerful people who literally don't want to count everyone, in the census, at the ballot box, or at the table - the very "harassed and helpless" people on whom Jesus had compassion. With Matthew 9:35-10:23 and Buffalo Springfield, we'll look at how the world in Jesus' time, in the 60's, and now, needs compassion.
Last week, Buffalo Springfield helped us look at these times we’re in. This morning, live from Greensky Hill, music from The Youngbloods will help us do something with Jesus’ teaching, “A disciple is not above the teacher…” Our Take Away: “Somebody’s hurting our people. It’s gone on far too long, and we won’t be silent anymore.” I encourage you to join me in accepting the invitation from www.june2020.org to join The Poor People’s Campaign.
This morning, live from Greensky Hill, our Anishinaabemowin prayers and songs and music from The Beatles will help us do something with Jesus’ teaching, "...whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones...truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward."
So far this Summer, songs from 1967 have helped us see the difference between the kingdoms of this world based on power and wealth and the kin-dom of God based on love. This morning, it’s a 1969 Tim Hardin hit (written by Bobby Darin), words from a guy who was blinded by the light, and Jesus telling us what we can do with toxic anxiety, that beg the questions, “Have we learned anything? Do we really understand what it means to live for freedom?” Do you remember, “A Simple Song of Freedom?”
As we continue creating a new neighborly normal together, we'll pray together, sing together, and this week a Dylan song from 1962 will help us think about Romans 8:1-11 and how where you "Set Your Mind" is the difference between death and life. I know I set it down somewhere. And peace. Oh, peace. Doesn't that sound amazing? Sarah's children's message follows.
Sarah shares soil management advice to help us set our minds on the Spirit. Plus, donut seeds! Yup, donut seeds.
What is creation waiting for? What are we waiting for? We’ve been using songs from the 60s, during our 10 AM online worship gathering, to think about questions like these. This morning, it’s a Pete Seeger song from 1955 with another important question: When will we ever learn?
As we continue creating a new neighborly normal together, we'll pray together, sing together, and contemplate Romans 8:26-39 and what it means to be "More Than Conquerors." We'll sit with Paul's questions (our questions?): “Who will rescue me from this body of death?" and "Who will separate us from the love of Christ?" And when we fear that the Creator and Lover of All might change their mind and leave us unloved, we'll trust the promise of the 1967 song by The Association, "Never My Love."
Experience Greensky Hill's live Easter Sunday worship service, followed by Bishop David Bard's Easter service and Pastor Sarah's Easter Garden Project in the videos that follow.
Watch the video of our live service from Pastor Jonathan & Kathy's dining room. Then, watch this video as we finish our Easter 2020 celebration together.
Rev. Kathy Pittenger shared a Children's Time during the Bishop's Easter Service.
In this video, Pastor Sarah shows us how to make an Easter garden project.
Watch Bishop David Bard's video about Body Prayer, then experience our live worship service with this video. Watch Pastor Sarah's Children's Message video to conclude our worship experience for the Second Sunday of Easter.
Sarah talks about finding joy even when there's doubt and sings "Waymaker."
Watch Bishop David Bard's video about Body Prayer, then experience our live worship service with this video. Watch Pastor Sarah's Children's Message in the next video to conclude our worship experience for the Third Sunday of Easter.
Climb into the fort with Pastor Sarah and Maggie for a story about The Road to Emmaus.
Pastor Jonathan shares an Agape Feast with Greensky Hill's extended family and friends and talks about walking the Sacred Way in Jesus' steps.
Sarah and Maggie meet the sheep at the Matchett Farm.
Pastor Jonathan leads worship, remembering Ahmaud Arberry, and singing "Mothering God, You Gave Me Birth," as we work together for a "new neighborly normal."
Jesus answers Thomas' question about knowing the way, opens the Shepherd's gate to all, and assures us that nothing - not even death - can separate us from the love of God.
Pastor Jonathan ponders the poets' words in Acts 17:22-31, "In him we live and move and have our being." And talks about how, "The God who made the world and everything in it, the one who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by human hands..."
Watch this brief video of our live Maundy Thursday Service, then join the Batten family around the table in the video below to conclude our worship experience for Maundy Thursday 2020.
Watch the video of our live service from Pastor Jonathan & Kathy's dining room. Then, watch this video as we finish our Maundy Thursday service around the table with the Batten family.
Check out this great video as you reflect on the Christ Candle, listen to the story "Ragman" read by the author, Walter Wangerin, Jr., with an original song by Ken Medema.
Watch this brief video of our live Good Friday Service, then join Rev. Jeremy Peters in the next video to conclude our worship experience for Good Friday 2020.
Watch the video of our live service from Pastor Jonathan & Kathy's dining room. Then, watch this video as we finish our Good Friday service with the members of Court Street UMC in Flint MI and their pastor, Rev. Jeremy Peters.
We will get through this together.
We are not alone.
On Maundy Thursday, we shared a powerful interactive devotional written by our 2019 Camp Meeting speaker, Rev. Paul Perez. On Good Friday, we walked the streets of Flint and prayed with Rev. Jeremy Peters. Tomorrow, Easter Sunday, following our own brief live service at 10 AM, we'll join UMC siblings and others in worship together with Bishop David Alan Bard's Easter Service.
Today, this Holy Saturday, our 2017 Camp Meeting speaker, Rev. Dr. Glenn Wagner helps us wait.
We will get through this together.
As we experienced the art of our Christ Candle bearing the wounds and fears of our many prayer candles each time we gathered online during Holy Week, we meditate on the self-giving love of God, entering into our experience, our suffering, our injustice, and taking it to the grave. And we wait. We wait. We wait for new life.
Our first ever worship broadcast: Daniel Magee, a lay speaker at Greensky Hill, prepared a sermon for the third week in our Lenten series, "Selah – Life in a Minor Key." Each week in the series focuses on a Psalm and features an African American Spiritual. Along with Dan's message, "Worship and Bow Down," from Psalm 95.
This Sunday and next, we'll finish our Lenten series. We’ll rest - practice the Selah of Sabbath together - by listening, singing, praying, and meditating on a Psalm, an African American Spiritual, and hymns/prayers in Anishinaabemowin.
This Sunday, we'll finish our Lenten series. We’ll rest - practice the Selah of Sabbath together - by listening, singing, praying, and meditating on a Psalm, an African American Spiritual, and hymns/prayers in Anishinaabemowin.
Children’s Message for Psalm 130. Don’t be afraid to pray to God from a deep place.
As we long to gather in our historic log sanctuary in the woods near Susan Lake, let’s imagine this space as our sacred circle of trees.
Pastor Sarah shows us how to wave palm branches while we practice physical distancing.