Summer is certainly upon us. July is here and the temperature outside is currently in the 90’s and humid. In light of this reality I am giving thanks that the first phase of the air conditioning project at Tab is complete and our Community Room and Nursery will be cool just in time for us to move downstairs for worship this summer. Thanks to your financial gifts to our Capital Campaign and thanks to gifts of time and talent from Barbara Purdom who has spearheaded the A/C project, as well as the entire Renovations Team, we are on our way to making the physical space at Tabernacle more hospitable. Thank you Tab for sharing your gifts in all these ways.
Over the last couple months, I’ve asked for input from you about the stirrings and longings that are on your heart. The idea has been to craft a summer sermon series based on your desires to “go deeper” (Tab’s theme for the year is “Come out into deeper waters”). I received 15 responses and I was able to categorize these into 4 different focus areas, though they certainly intersect in a variety of ways.
Here’s how I broke up the categories:
1. Navigating difficult/challenging/brave conversations with people different from me/us.
Praying for enemies and those working against justice; Understanding across faith, or people with no faith; Conversations with people not like me, who hold very different beliefs; How to hold brave conversations regarding systemic oppression when not in a spiritual community
2. Environmental Justice / Creation Spirituality
How to have hope in the midst of climate change; Environmental justice - can we become a Creation Justice Church in the UCC; Fear of future and diminished life on the planet; Environmental justice, I want to go deeper
I desire more contemplation/mediation; Moving from head to heart, how do I cultivate more contemplation in my life; What does it mean to pray without ceasing; Praying for enemies, those working against justice
4. Fear (x3)
Fear of the future and diminished life; Society and civilization as it is now, is ending. How then do we live; Exploring fear based on Howard Thurman's book Jesus and the Disinherited, both personal fears and societal fears.
Other areas of "tension" and feeling stuck: Longing for more chanting/music; How do I respond to folks on the street/homelessness; I want to be a part of justice work on a team at Tab, not just as an individual, I want to be a part of a meditation group at Tab, not just do it on my own (same individual as comment above)
I wanted to share these results with you so that you could get a sense for what is stirring in people’s hearts at Tab. And over the next months, we will try to find ways to wrestle with these longings and stirrings in our preaching and worship and small group opportunities.
Perhaps when looking at these four categories you are thinking “Yes, this is what is on my heart as well.” If so, drop me a note and let me know, so I know that you are resonating with one or more of these themes. Or perhaps when you look at this list you are thinking, “Something is on my heart that is not reflected in this list.” If that is the case, drop me a note as well and let me know what’s on your heart and what you might want to explore in greater depth as it relates to your faith and justice work journey.
In terms of a sermon series, we have decided to schedule this for the fall instead of the summer, when more folks will be in town. So, starting in September, we will kick off a sermon series focusing on environmental justice and our role at Tab in fighting for the life of our planet. The series will be in concert with the organizing work of Tab’s Environmental Action Team. So stay tuned for more.
Wishing you God’s peace and blessings in this season,