HAPPY LABOR DAY!
We thank you Lord for our labors this weekend. Let us not forget those who have close jobs because of corporate changes, those forced into early retirement, those denied employment because of age, sex, or race, those who must work illegally in order to survive, those who seek other work and cannot find it. Renew our sense of vocation and help us to discern your presence in even the lowliest tasks we face.
We pray for those who have brought increased, senseless violence it our city this year. Our hearts go out to those who grieve the loss of loved ones in the midst of this violence. We ask for peace to inhabit our hearts and that in all things we do we may seek those things that make for unity, purity and peace.
We pray for the new school year ahead for our youth. from the city leadership, administrations, teachers and students, we ask for a year focused on creativity and learning.
We lift up in prayer Andrew, Amy and Irene Fields. We thank you that they have settled into their ministry in Columbia and ask that you would continue to strengthen their Spanish and connection to the people they serve. Bless the seminary that they would continue to provide education that expands minds to bring your good news to this world.
Lord in your mercy...Hear our prayer
Luke Timothy Johnson writes this about the mission of the church:
"The church is, in a real sense, the continuation of the incarnation, the embodied presence of the resurrected Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit... the church is.... the laboratory for communal life before God, the model that the world can see.... as the basis for its own rebirth."
During the homily we asked ourselves the question: are we living into this calling of the church?
One of our scripture readings was from Paul's letter to Philemon. As he wrote to Philemon, asking him to free his runaway slave, Onesimus, that question, or something close to it, must have been on Paul's mind. For, Paul had already written about 10 years earlier these words to the church in Galatia:
As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.
Now, ten years later, Philemon, a friend of Paul's, had the opportunity to put this truth into action in two ways. First, Paul urged Philemon to forgive Onesimus (i.e relate to him according to the gospel and not in the way that a runaway slave would be normally treated in the Roman law and custom of the day. Secondly, Paul urged him to receive Onesimus back into his home as a brother and NOT a slave (emancipation is almost certainly in view here).
Our cultural context is far removed from this First Century setting, but the question we should be wrestling with every day is the same as the one Paul and Philemon considered in the exchange preserved for us in the Epistle to Philemon: what are we doing in our personal lives that enables us to live into the vision of the church as "the laboratory for communal life before God, the model that the world can see.... as the basis for its own rebirth."
- Beach BBQ This Sunday! Join us after church on September 11th for a BBQ on the beach. Kids are welcome. Friends are welcome. You can get more information and RSVP here.
- New Members Class is on September 18th. If you're interested in learning more about Grace Chicago, who we are, what we believe, and why we exist, join us for lunch after the service. Send firstname.lastname@example.org an email if you'd like to come.
- Falzone Family Send Off is September 25th. The Falzone family is moving to Seattle. To celebrate their years at Grace Chicago, we're having lunch at Pastor Bob's house after church. Hope you can join!