By Ed Brambley from Cambridge, UK [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
This week, I have been preparing to lead our church’s Sunday morning “worship dialogue” virtually on Zoom.* In some ways, it’s difficult to believe that less than two months ago, most of us had never heard of online gathering tools such as Zoom. And now? I am using it multiple times daily, and as you know, I do find it tedious as some days I’m zooming for hours on end!
But, I am also deeply thankful for the technology that will allow us to gather in dialogue on Sunday as the church of God. Thanks be to God. We will hear live music from Derek Gordon and Dr. Josh Palkki. We will pray together. And, we will read and discuss two scriptural texts from the morning’s lectionary:
- Psalm 23
- Acts 2: 42-47
Now, I am going to be honest with you. When I first saw the readings, I wasn’t sure what to do! I mean … Psalm 23: what more can possibly be shared about these particular verses in our tradition? What more could we possibly learn, discern, or discuss?
But then, as I thought some more and pushed back on my initial reaction (I’ve learned!), I thought: this is the perfect Psalm to read and discuss right now. It is so deeply meaningful to so many. It brings memories, images, comfort, and peace. It recalls ages and stages of life, people, times — to each of us — recent and long-time followers of Christ. So, I look forward to hearing and sharing together this beautiful song of David.
As you prepare to join me, please take a few minutes to review Psalm 23 with these questions in mind:
- What does this Psalm mean to you? What is one memory that you could share about Psalm 23?
- If you were to share Psalm 23 with someone who had never heard it before, how would you introduce it?
We will also be taking a look at Luke’s depiction of the early church in the Book of Acts 2:42-47. Personally, in my church leadership practice, I have been led by these exact verses for many years. I have returned to them again and again. They are as meaningful to me as Psalm 23. And? I’ve been utterly stymied by them, too. I’ve been brought to frustrated tears by them, wondering: where have we fallen short as the church of Christ? Why aren’t our churches today reflective of this idyllic, early church in the Book of Acts? If these disciples could do it: why do we fall so short?
But, reading these verses again — through the lens of the COVID-19 pandemic — I’ve begun to see this early church not as a litmus test for our successes or failures … but as a vision to live into; as the Rev. Robb McCoy reflects on the Pulpit Fiction podcast:
“These verses depict what it looks like when it all works, when we are all listening to the shepherd’s voice.”
Here’s another pro-tip!
- Click here to check out the podcast at Pulpit Fiction. It’s so good and will help you in your preparation for our Sunday morning dialogue. (Easter 4A)
Looking so much to seeing and being church with you all,
- If you would like to join this Sunday, contact Pastor Mark to receive the Zoom Call login information. Things start at 10am!
- E: MSturgess@LosAltosUMC.org