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Holy Week 2015

We have celebrated Palm Sunday, hearing how the people ran to meet Jesus on his entry into Jerusalem. We are entering into a week that would seem very dark in how we have originally thought of darkness. But within this darkness we will learn new things about Jesus, his message, and how it will not only affect us, but the role we can play in carrying out this message. What if we entered this week searching for the ways we can find growth in our own understanding of what Easter morning will mean to us, rather than being mentally beaten down by the perceived darkness of Holy Week? Come and experience ALL of Holy Week.

 

Posted on March 31, 2015 at 9:23 am in Featured Content.

Reflections on in the midst of . . dark and light

During this Lenten series, in the midst of . . . dark and light, we have been examining the ways we experience dark and light.  Not only have we been using the sermons, but we have read books, sang hymns, and viewed dark/light through liturgy, art and poetry. Each of us sees the benefits and challenges of dark and light through different eyes. I have asked the other clergy and a few members to reflect on what this series has meant to them before we enter Palm Sunday and Holy Week.                      

 ~ Eldonna Hazen

 

Posted on March 24, 2015 at 11:17 am in Featured Content.

Processing Space Conversation

This last Sunday we offered a “Processing Space” after worship for youth and adults to have a safe space to share emotions following the shooting of Tony Robinson. We began and ended the time with prayer and Biblical text. The scripture used was Micah 6:6-8. 

With what shall I come before God, and bow myself before God on high?

Shall I come before God with burnt offerings, with calves a year old?

Will God be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil?

Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?

God has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does God require of you

but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

First Congregational is a justice-driven church, but the foundation of working for and toward justice are the two bottom pieces of the triangle: love kindness and walking humbly with God. 

 

Posted on March 17, 2015 at 10:05 am in Featured Content.

Pain Strikes Madison

This last Friday night Tony Robinson, a teenager, was killed in a confrontation with a police officer. There are many stories swirling about the incident and we will have to wait for an investigation to understand the circumstances of the death. In the meantime, our city has been turned upside down with fear, anger, and grief. There are many people who need to be held in our prayers: the family of Tony Robinson, the family of Matt Kenny, the Madison Police Department and their families, neighbors of the Robinsons and the community in general. I shared the following statement in worship on Sunday:

 

Posted on March 10, 2015 at 10:18 am in Featured Content.

Newlywed Game!

Ann Beaty & Carol Kreuscher were this year's winning couple at the 9th edition of the Newlywed Game! PICTURES!!!

Posted on March 3, 2015 at 12:23 pm in Featured Content.

A Reflection on Dark and Light

Sunday marked the beginning of our Lenten preaching series in the midst of . . .dark and light.  Although I am excited about the series, I have also found it to be a challenge personally. I like to think of myself as a person who is open to, and willing to, embrace all of my brothers and sisters. I try very hard, even though I know I don’t always succeed, to be as non-judgmental as possible. But I’m finding, as we research and prepare for this series, that my language is not always as thoughtful as I had hoped.

 

Posted on February 24, 2015 at 11:08 am in Featured Content.

Lent: What are your practices?

This Wednesday, Ash Wednesday, we enter the season of Lent. Lent is the forty (week) days that precede the celebration of Easter. The traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer through prayer, penance, repentance of sins, almsgiving, atonement and self-denial. Often Lent is marked by fasting, both from foods and festivities, and by other acts of penance. Today we perhaps limit these preparations, or possibly combine them into three practices that many still observe. The three traditional practices taken up with renewed vigor during Lent are prayer (justice towards God), fasting (justice towards self), and almsgiving (justice towards neighbor).  However, in modern times, observers give up an action of theirs considered to be a vice, add something that is considered to be able to bring them closer to God, and often give the time or money spent doing that to charitable purposes or organizations. Do any of us still practice prayer, fasting or almsgiving during Lent? Do we need to?

 

Posted on February 17, 2015 at 11:33 am in Featured Content.

in the midst of . . . dark and light

Then the king said to the attendants, “Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness,where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth”

Matthew 22:13

I will give you the treasures of darkness and riches hidden in secret places,so that you may know that it is I, the Lord, the God of Israel, who call you by your name.

Isaiah 45:3

 

Posted on February 10, 2015 at 11:40 am in Featured Content.

Living in the Light

There are two kinds of light - the glow that illumines, and the glare that obscures.  ~ James Thurber

In next week's Tower we will unveil the Lenten worship series. A huge hint, I encourage you to read a book by Barbara Brown Taylor. But until the series is revealed, and until you have the opportunity to read the book and hear some sermons, I want you to take some time to process "living in the light."

Posted on February 3, 2015 at 11:44 am in Featured Content.

Dr. King Children and Youth Service Day

First Congregational Church was the host of a special day of service, education and community for Children and Youth to honor the life and on-going work of Dr. Martin Luther King. Jr. 70 children and youth, along with 30 adult volunteers from 9 Madison area Congregations, gathered on Monday, January 19. 

 

Posted on January 27, 2015 at 12:09 pm in Featured Content.

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