The UCH Healing Circle is a group people who gather together in our sanctuary one evening a month January through November to direct God’s healing energy (Love) to those whose names are entered into the Circle. A breath centered meditation is used to calm, relax, and center ourselves in preparation for this directed healing practice. The Healing Circle is open to anyone; the only requirement is being open to the possibilities that God has available to us.
This Sunday we begin our Lenten Journey by reflecting on the longing we all have to find our way home. We will be asking - What is home? Where do we feel most at home? What does it mean to be at home with God? What does it mean to practice hospitality and create a sense of home for others (those who are refugees, victims of disasters, and unhoused in our own community)? We will be immersing ourselves in Psalm 84 and talking about creating authentic home while we are on our spiritual journeys. Join us on our journey in coming weeks from "Ashes to Resurrection!"
Scripture Seekers Bible Study/Conversation. 5:30 p.m. Ross Blue Room, Thursday, Feb 15. We will continue our now Lenten conversation about "Reconciliation" with part II of Living the Questions. Tonight's conversation will be about the Myth of Redemptive Violence. We live in a violent culture. There is no doubt of this with new school shootings every week, murders galore, and a president who brags about how big his nuclear button is. Some of the myths of Christian redemption are problematically violent as well. Anselmian atonement theology (Jesus bloody violent death on the cross is necessary to "atone" for our sins) is violent at its core and yet it is very common in American Christian traditions. We will look at different kinds of atonement theology and try to discern how we might follow our call to be peacemakers when violence inundates our mythos and culture. Our scripture reading will be Romans 5. Join us for this fantastic conversation!
What is Ash Wednesday? (And is God Being Funny Since it is on Valentine’s Day This Year?)
In Western Christianity, Ash Wednesday marks the first day, or the start of the season of Lent, which begins 40 days prior to Easter (Sundays are not included in the count). The 40 days of Lent mirror the 40 years that the Israelite people wandered in the wilderness before entering the “promised land” and also the 40 days Jesus spent in the wilderness before beginning his ministry.
Lent is a time when many Christians prepare for Easter by observing a period of fasting, spiritual discipline (such as “giving something up”), or repentance (retracing our steps or “turning around”). During some Ash Wednesday services, the minister will lightly rub the sign of the cross with ashes onto the foreheads of worshipers as a reminder of our mortality and need for repentance. (“Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return.” Genesis 3:19) Ashes from the previous year’s Palm Sunday palms are traditionally burned and used for this.
Interestingly, the Bible does not mention Ash Wednesday or the custom of Lent since it evolved much later out of Roman Catholic tradition. However, the practice of repentance is mentioned repeatedly by John the Baptist and the call for repentance and the connection of ashes with mourning is found in 2 Samuel 13:19; Esther 4:1; Job 2:8; Daniel 9:3; and Matthew 11:21.
This Year our Ash Wednesday service will take place at 7:00 on February 14. Join us for a time of listening, poetry, and music, in our sanctuary. Rev. Jeanne will be offering ashes on hands and foreheads if you wish. Or you can just come and be in community for this simple, quiet reflective service. We look forward to seeing you for this meaningful time. -Rev. Jeanne
Sunday morning we are going to spend our time together being grateful before we embark on our Lenten Journey next week. Paul invites the Thessalonian church to "Be joyful no matter what; pray all the time; and thank God no matter what happens." (I Thessalonians 5: 17-18) That is a tall order with the injustices, and violations of our values going on in our nation, and in our communities right now. Many of us are also holding grief, places of "not knowing" and tensions in our families- and if we are carrying trauma it gets triggered easily when these kinds of things are going on. Practicing gratitude in community can be a balm for our suffering. It can bring light to our darkness, and energize us for our spiritual journeys. Join us for a morning of reflection, joy, prayer, and gratitude. See you there! -Rev. Jeanne
Scripture Seekers Bible Study/Conversation. 5:30 p.m. Ross Blue Room, Thursday, Feb 8. We will continue part 2 of Living the Questions 2.0 called "Reconciliation" with a conversation about "Evil, Suffering, and a God of Love." Many dissertations and books have been written asking the classic theological question: How can our loving, yet omnipotent God permit evil and suffering in the world? We all ask this conversation when we are hurting. So it seems like a good idea to come into community and ask it together! Our Scripture lectio divina for this session will be Psalm 139. (And yes we will be talking about Hell and Satan too.) So I know our time together will be lively. Please join us!
Please join us each month in taking time to step away from the chaos of every day and just be in an atmosphere of light music and quiet time. This is a non directed service where each participant prays, reflects, listens, breathes and rests in the presence of that which is holy for them. All are invited, be you Christian, Jew, Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, unaffiliated, and non-believer to pray or just be in your own way. You may come and go as you please. We begin with music and end when the music stops. All are welcome.
Sr. Mary Ann Schofield who is the founder of my Spiritual Direction training program at Mercy Center was fond of saying that listening and cultivating curiosity are some of our most transformative and powerful spiritual practices. So this Sunday we will explore what it means to listen with curiosity. We all like to think we are great listeners, but so often we are nodding and tuning out, preparing our reply, or a million miles away. How can we more fully engage is the spiritual practice of curious listening so we can be better seekers and better neighbors? We will explore this question with the Prophet Elijah- who gives us some important clues in our scripture reading from I Kings 19. Join us as we share holy communion, worship, and listen curiously for the voice of our Still Speaking God who invites us to be "at attention" so we can hear. -Rev. Jeanne