November 28, 2007

Wake Up!

Filed under: Faith Matters — Pastor Tim @ 12:46 pm

“If the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake…”  Matthew 24:43

I don’t know.  If I knew when a thief was coming, I might leave the premises entirely, rather than wait, awake to confront her or him!

This Sunday begins the season of Advent.  That word means arrival, so we are preparing for the arrival of the Christ into our midst.

Our consumer culture is pushing us towards the holiday buying season, but the scripture texts for Advent always push us in different directions.  This week it will be towards a coming thief.  I have had items stolen - a TV set, tennis rackets, camera, watches, etc., from a dorm room in college days.  I’m fortunate it’s been nothing more serious than that.  After a thief strikes, one is left with a feeling of vulnerability and a sense of having been in some way violated.  Who would want to be pushed in the direction of those?

Yet maybe our consumer culture is the thief.  If I don’t pay attention and just go along, I might be robbed of an experience of the holy because I am too busy making sure I satisfy the culture’s expectations of me for this season.  So perhaps the call is to “wake up” to what the culture is doing to us, so we don’t let our celebrations get in the way of encountering the coming of God into our midst during these days.

November 21, 2007

The Reign of Christ

Filed under: Faith Matters — Pastor Tim @ 12:00 pm

The last Sunday of the Church Year is designated as “Reign of Christ” Sunday.  The liturgical year culminates where we expect the history of the world to culminate - with the reign of God’s peace and justice throughout the whole universe.

Because of the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States, we often lose sight of this special Christian day.  One could argue that our culture often loses sight of the coming reign of God, which Jesus proclaimed and which we affirm.  Hence we are frequently satisfied to say, “Well, this is just the way things are, and you’d better learn to accept it.”

We will be exploring the Colossian Hymn this Sunday.  Colossians 1:15-20 is considered to be an ancient hymn which celebrates that when we Christians look at Jesus, we see the fullness of God’s reign come to life.  I am particularly drawn to the phrase: ”In him all things hold together.”  The brokenness that is seen so much in our world - war, slavery, disease, abuse, oppression, etc. - is not the final word.  The wholeness that we see in a crucified and risen Christ is!

So rather than accepting too much of “the way things are,” we seek to lean towards the wholeness God promises is coming “on earth as it is in heaven.”

November 19, 2007

Welcome

Filed under: Uncategorized — Pastor Tim @ 1:22 pm

Welcome to Words of Faith, written by Rev. Tim Darmour-Paul, pastor of Faith United Church of Christ, Davenport, Iowa, USA.

As I begin creating this blog, I envision writing three different types of articles.

“Faith Matters” will be articles that are concerned with the service of worship.  Sometimes I may write about the scriptures that I am studying for preaching in the upcoming week.  Other times I may have some comments pertaining to the season of the church year.  Occasionally I may write about something that is particularly happening in worship at Faith UCC.  Worship is central to our identity as people of the Christian faith and as people of Faith UCC!

“Faith Works” will be articles that concern upcoming events and activities in the life of our congregation or in our community.  The Christian faith is never simply a matter of what we believe in our heads; it is very much concerned with shaping our lives to reflect the trust we have.

“Faith Seeking Understanding” writings will reflect my thinking about articles or books I am reading, or about conversations I have had, or about issues and topics of current interest.  Faith does not pretend to have all the answers, but seeks to explore in different directions in order to encounter the promised new life.

This is my plan as I begin.  Of course God’s plans for this space may be different than mine, and that’s OK!