November 15, 2019
For your prayer and reflection this week:
For too long, religious communities have made groups of people into “others.”
Through judgment and condemnation,
religious leaders have labeled persons as heretics, sinners, or heathen,
simply for being who they are.
To say that the church is slow to catch up to Jesus is an understatement.
We’ve been trying for 2000 years,
and we’re not there yet!
In the life of Jesus,
we see that he radically welcomes all who come to him.
No one is a stranger in his company.
The religious leaders thought it taboo for Jesus to co-mingle with tax collectors, prostitutes, lepers, and Gentiles (non-Jews).
Jesus didn’t pay these leaders any mind.
Instead, he did what he recognized was in his heart and soul to do.
He recognized difference, but affirmed our soul unity that trumped all differences.
In Jesus’ presence, those who had been crucified for being different
knew that they we’re blessed and beloved by God just as they were.
Those who had “sinned”, like the woman caught in adultery,
found forgiveness and compassion to such a degree
that an angry mob with stones in their hands was disarmed.
Jesus modeled how he wanted his followers to live.
We are to model unity in diversity;
welcoming the stranger;
affirming the beauty and belovedness of all God’s diverse children.
We may fall short.
But let us rely on grace,
so that it is not our little ego that loves,
but the Infinite ocean of grace loving through us.
Our little cup can only hold so much love.
As we expand our cup,
realizing our Oneness with the Ocean of Life,
then it is God’s grace and love that flows through our lives.
No longer do we rely on our power and strength alone.
Friends, what a fun time we had last Sunday at Karaoke church. Much gratitude to Melissa Lin who suggested doing this over the summer, and put a lot of joy-filled work into organizing our gathering. As a new church start, we love new, innovate ideas- hint, hint, if you have any inspiration come to you, let us know. :)
Next Sunday November 24th (note the location at 50 Church St., Waltham), Agape's Minister of Outreach and Intergenerational Programs Dawn Sorensen will lead our service themed, "Being Otherwise." Please come for this multi-sensory, audio-visual presentation, where Dawn will share about what it is like living a non-binary life, drawing on writings from Chris Paige's book "Otherwise" and Virginia Mollenkott's "Omnigender" book, and sharing emerging theologies around gender identity and sexuality.
Lastly, some good news! Agape received a small non-competitive grant to explore a "pressing need for innovation in our context." Over the course of 2020, through small group conversations outside of services and also inviting people to dinner church, Agape will be exploring the question, "In our changing culture of church, how can Agape Spiritual Community build off the current momentum and cultural interest in retreats in its common life and services?" Agape's Core Visioning team has put a lot of thought into this project. During 2020 through this Leadership Education Innovation Grant, we will dive deeper into the question, "How can we make our services and events more retreat-like?" and “How can Agape integrate the style of retreats into our worship services and community life?” More details to come.
With love and deep gratitude to you all,
Agape Service: "Being Otherwise"
Led by Agape's Minister of Outreach and Intergenerational Programs, Dawn Sorensen
Sunday November 24th
50 Church St., Waltham, MA 02452
Come for this multi-sensory, audio-visual presentation, where Dawn will share about what it is like living a non-binary life, drawing on writings from Chris Paige's book "Otherwise" and Virginia Mollenkott's "Omnigender" book, and sharing emerging theologies around gender identity and sexuality.
Initiating Inspiration Book Group
Monday November 25, 7:15-8:45pm
Waltham Public Library
735 Main St
Waltham, MA 02453
This is a Bi-Monthly Book Group in partnership with the Waltham Public Library. The November book is "The Buddha’s Brain" by Rick Hanson. All are welcome whether you have read the book or not.
Agape Advent Dinner Church
Sunday December 8th
Intercultural Center, Brandeis University
415 South St., Waltham, MA 02453
Agape Christmas Service: Lessons and Carols
Sunday December 22nd
50 Church St., Waltham, MA 02452
Agape upcoming events and directions are at this link: http://www.agapewaltham.org/getinvolved/upcoming
If you would like to make a love donation to support the unfoldment of Agape's vision in the world of living and spreading unconditional love, you can do so at the link below, or checks can be made out to "MACUCC" with "Agape" in the memo line (and mailed to 106 Stearns Hill Rd., Waltham, MA 02451).