September 14, 2008

@ Farmland Conservation Club

Where Are You Headed?
....the primary evidence [of the resurrected Christ's life] provided by the apostles was not what they said, but what they became.... Their commitment was not merely intellectual assent, but a full act of the will.... It is perfectly clear that early Christians considered Christ their Commander-in-Chief, that they were in a company....which involved great demands upon their lives, and that to be a Christian was to be engaged in Christ's service.... A Christian is a person who confesses that, amidst the numerous and confusing voices heard in the world, there is one Voice which supremely wins our full [participation], uniting all our intellectual and emotional powers into a single pattern of self-giving.  That Voice is Jesus Christ.        (D. Elton Trueblood)
 

Winchester Friends celebrated Friendship Sunday September 14 at the Farmland Conservation Club.  Cinnamon Rolls, coffee, juice and fellowship began at 9:30 AM.

Kendra Holliger and Walter Mills playing their weekly guessing game with quarters and candy.  Kendra usually wins.

Friends wrote their names on a balloon card.  Each Peace Prayer Balloon reminded those who find it that Friends at Winchester pray for peace and "hope for a world made new in Christ's love."  Fellowship during cinnamon rolls and Walter Mills enjoying his weekly visit from Beau Edmonds.

Jenny Baldwin  (photo taken by Allison Baldwin)       Crystle, Braden and Gary Austin 

(photo taken by Allison Baldwin)

Welcome, Introductions, Announcements and call to worship by Bev Schemmer            Prayer Concerns by Ron Ferguson

Choir with Brian Lilly

Give me oil in my lamp, ...keep me burning 'til the break of day.
Sing hosanna, sing hosanna, sing hosanna to the King of kings!
I sing praise and give thanks....every day I live for the blessings You alone can give.
Give me joy in my heart each day...., keep me singing 'til the break of day.

                                   --J.M. Martin   (CCLI #649965)

(photo taken by Allison Baldwin)

Thanks to all for the help with Friendship Sunday 2008!  All are welcome to join us for worship, study, and fellowship every Sunday at 9:15 AM in the center of Winchester and to become a fellow traveler with us in the Kingdom journey, actively participating in ministries intended to make Christ's presence visible in our community.

Amy Sipe holding the offering box with the caption: Traveling together in God's Kingdom - Sharing the cost of the Journey. Jenny Baldwin and Sherry Deal leading the children's journey during the service.

(photo taken by Allison Baldwin)

Jay Marshall, Dean of Earlham School of Religion was the guest speaker for the morning.  

Where Are You Headed? 

the major points of Jay Marshall’s Friendship Sunday message to Winchester Friends

 Referring to hotel-booking for his upcoming trip to Costa Rica, Jay reflected on how modern culture is taken by, and willing to pay for, the supposed superiority of the “room with a view.”  Unfortunately, once you’ve paid for the view, you tend to just sit in the room to get full use of the view you bought, meaning that you don’t get out to explore and experience the beauty and uniqueness of the place and culture you’re visiting. 

 Jay suggested that the same tendency seems often to spill over into Christians’ approach to the Kingdom of Christ -- everyone competes to have the best view, but few seek to have vision.  He based his message about individual and corporate vision in the spiritual life on the story of the Israelite scouts exploring Canaan (Numbers 13:17-33). 

 Having only a view makes people spectators, doing little more than sitting around observing the view they’ve gained for themselves.  In contrast, having vision makes people into participants, getting them out into and engaged with the world the spectators are merely observing.  One fairly quickly learns that vision is not for the faint of heart.  Viewing and spectating (the hotel suite) is comfortable, secure, and relatively risk-free.  Getting out into the world to engage and participate with vision, on the other hand, is often risky and uncomfortable.

 If Christian individuals and churches are to actually participate in God’s vision rather than merely be religious spectators with popular views, several things are required.

 1)  We must come to a clear decision and thoughtful commitment to be a participant instead of a spectator.

 2)  We must have an informed sense of the nature and content of the vision to which Christ has called His disciples -- a vision grounded in the history of the Old Testament, in the message and example of the New Testament followers of Jesus, in the 2000-year history of the Church, and for us, in the Quaker expression of that Gospel message handed down to us through George Fox and Friends ever since.  We must know the stories and message of those original, founding visionaries and understand the power expressed in their faithfulness to God’s vision (not merely to the maintenance of organizations);

 3)  In the spiritual community, we must gain a basic, shared understanding of the prerequisites of participation in God’s vision.  Meaningful engagement with God’s action in the world requires of every Christian purposeful participation in worship, ministries, and the life of the spiritual community.  It means consistent commitment to listening to God together.  It means being described individually and corporately by Micah’s summation of the visionary life -- “to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with God” (6:8).

 4)  We must accept the fact that vision is not always clear, or fully formed and understood, before we begin to participate in it.  When we persistently receive spiritual leading, and it is consistent with the foundation described by the previous two points, then faithfulness requires that we begin to obey even if we don’t yet know all the whys and hows, the ins and outs of God’s intentions.  Spiritual vision is not so much about being right all the time as it is about faithfulness to obey what we do know. 

5)  We must acknowledge that vision requires commitment to a process of transition and transformation that will not be instant, and that nearly always will involve some pain.  When exploring new vision becomes uncomfortable, we too easily turn back.  We must allow time and accept the discomfort that obedient change often brings, until new faithfulness has a chance to become comfortable and fruitful.

 The Israelites’ unwillingness to listen to their visionaries Joshua and Caleb, and their haste to embrace the more popular views of the ten fearful and reluctant scouts, caused an entire generation of Israelites to miss out on the Promised Land.  The Church in our time risks nothing less when it settles for comfortable, risk-free views instead of seeking faithfulness to genuine, godly vision.

Launching the peace prayer balloons:        Rain from Hurricane Ike did not arrive at the scheduled time, but the winds took the balloons north with 30 MPH gusts.

Everyone enjoyed the Fall Picnic Lunch in the Clubhouse right after the Meeting for Worship.  Special thanks to the Fabulous Friends class for their organizational work on the meal, to the gifted cooks of our Meeting for sharing their specialties with everyone today, to the Ministry & Oversight for sponsoring Friendship Sunday, and to the Conservation Club for making these excellent facilities available for today's gathering! 

After lunch many Friends enjoyed canoeing on the pond.  (photos taken by Allison Baldwin)

 

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