And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer."
- Rainer Maria Rilke
This past Sunday, our pastoral intern Anna asked us to reflect on who Jesus was to us and who we understood Jesus to be to the world. The answers offered reflected the diversity of our views and were a beautiful testament to our commitment to soul freedom—the right of every individual be in relationship with God without the interference of a creed, clergy, or the government. For some, Jesus is a teacher who embodied a way of being in the world, others found in Jesus a comforter who walked with them through life’s challenges, and others were still trying to put words to who Jesus was to them today.
I think that most of us land in that final camp a lot of the time. We know that this enigmatic man sits at the center of our faith tradition. We know that the stories we tell about him sometimes inspire us, but they just as often confuse us. We know that the songs we sing about him sometimes fill us up with joy, while at other times the words fall flat and feel meaningless.
As we move towards the story of the Transfiguration and into Lent over the next few weeks, I encourage you to keep these questions with you. Is the story of Jesus the story of one man’s death offering atonement to his followers? Is it the story of the prototypical 21st century progressive deconstructing systems of power? Or perhaps a story of God’s continued presence with us through life’s storms and even through death? Do the values and visions expressed by Jesus in our Gospel narratives form us or do we read our modern values and worldview onto him?
If you are anything like me, your answers won’t land neatly into either/or dichotomies but fall loosely and generously into into messy both/and categories. There won’t be clean answers, but rather an ongoing conversation. As I continue in ministry, I am growing more and more aware that it isn’t the answers that save me, but the question. I have come to believe more and more that we experience healing and are challenged to grow and mature when we, as Rilke advises, live the questions.
Join Us For Worship
Join us in person or online this Sunday morning as Pastor Rob reflect’s on Jesus’ call to respond to violence and anger with love and compassion. Music will be led by CCW Music Director Winifred Brown and Judy Smith. This week’s worship leader is Debbie Sayles.
For those joining us in person on Sunday morning, we continue to request that everyone keeps their mask on during worship. If you are attending online, please feel free to turn your camera on during the service and to unmute as we share joys and concerns or share our reflections.
To participate in the worship online via Zoom, please click on the button below.
Living and Serving Together
Coffee Hour Update
As the state prepares to lift the mask mandate at the end of the month, we will begin hosting coffee hour after worship again starting Sunday, February 27th—the last Sunday before Lent. On February 27th, Pastor Rob will be host coffee hour by sharing some traditional Louisiana King Cake in celebration of Mardi Gras.
Peg Kritzler is coordinating volunteers to host coffee hour in March and April. If you would like to host, please touch base with Peg on Sunday.
Peggy Lavelle Is Joining the Our Place Staff
Peggy Lavelle has accepted a position on the Our Place staff. She will be a part of their operations team, continuing her work of caring for the building and grounds. We are incredibly grateful to Peggy for her commitment to our congregation over the past three years and are excited that she will stay a part of the larger CCW community. Please take a few moments this week to share your appreciation with Peggy or offer her some encouragement in her new role. Though Peggy will providing some hourly work for us over the next few months, February 24th will be her last day as a part-time employee.
Christians Against Christian Nationalism
Judy Smith mentioned the work of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Freedom (BJC) and their work on the Christians Against Christian Nationalism campaign. The BJC works on the national level to protect religious liberty. As the term “religious freedom” has been coopted and subverted over that past few years by Christian fundamentalists, the BJC’s Christians Against Christian Nationalism campaign raises awareness of the efforts of some fundamentalist Christians to merge their understanding of what it means to be a Christian with their understanding of what it means to be an American citizen. As always, the BJC calls for us to embrace religious pluralism and to protect the civil liberties of all Americans.