We are here by God’s invitation,
to be fully present, to be here and now,
to bring all parts of our heart to the table.
Invite your joy and your grief.
Invite your peace and your fear.
Invite your confidence and your insecurity.
God has invited all of who we are here today.
This is a safe space and a sacred time
Where our complex and competing feelings
Meet with a confident and faithful God.
Our God believes us, even when others don’t.
Our God hopes in us, even when we don’t ourselves.
May we bring all parts of yourself, bring all your stories,
for God is here to be present with us.
We pray in the name of our faithful God,
of our loving Savior,
and the Holy Spirit, our Advocate and Guide.
We invite you to hear from a reading in Romans 5:1-8.
1 Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God
through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have obtained
access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our
hope of sharing the glory of God.
3 And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing
that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces
character, and character produces hope,
5 and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been
poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.
6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.
7 Indeed, rarely will anyone die for a righteous person—though perhaps
for a good person someone might actually dare to die. 8 But God proves
his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us.
The Good News of the Lord.
Thanks be to God!
The grass withers and the flower fades,
but the Word of the Lord endures forever. Amen.
Sermon and Reflection
What particular conversations are happening in your life because of these current circumstances?
In what ways are you fighting being a student by trying to be a teacher?
Vox family, leave here today with
the truth that you are fully known.
Your blemishes, scars, and imperfections are out in the open.
God knows and sees them all, and loves you for them.
Care for these special, vulnerable places inside of you.
Love them as God does.
When you face the challenges of our imperfect world,
with its broken systems and cycles of pain and hurt,
remember the healing that God is doing in you and through you.
Do not be afraid, and do not be disheartened.
There is love and peace and joy enough.
Our only requirement is to consent to this
beautiful and holy invitation.
May we leave here, sustained by the love
of our Provider,
and our Spirit and Guide.
Go in peace and live the church.
May you find safety and rest throughout the week.
[Photo by Stephen Edwards @ Flickr]