⛪ Share Your Church Service!

Every week, share as much or as little of your service with one another! It’s a great way to share your church with other people, or get some sort of church service if you don’t have one of your own!

Starting off the new year! :smiley:

This week our pastor talked about the magi who came to Jesus and how they were an example of the early universality of Christ’s new church. They were foreigners, but they were there at Christ’s side even though he was King of the Jews. They were rich, but they were there at the filthy stable with all the peasant shepherds.

The pastor contrasted that to the modern concept of Christian nationalism, which creates a structure where everyone is expected to be “in their place.” Male, female, white, black, immigrant, native-born, etc., it fights to maintain these structures with a veneer of Christianity, but Christianity is in service to these structures, not the other way around. But the magi show us that “our place” in society is not what matters. What matters is that we all belong by Christ’s side, and how we live like Him is far more important.

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This week the sermon was about baptism and the Pentecost! When we get baptized, even as a baby, we are joined together in one baptism, the entire body of Christ, including Christ Himself, who was baptized.

The pastor also emphasized that the revelation of the Holy Spirit over Christ was not just settling His divinity, but also was a valuable revelation to the mostly-Jewish crowd. Monotheism is so important in Judaism, that the idea of the triune God was a bit of a sticking point for those asked to accept Jesus. This was a demonstration to them that they are, in fact, one God, and welcomed them to come worship Him.

I’m personally of the belief that such revelations are available to people today, too, though sometimes they might wait until near/at the end of life. Being willing to have faith but struggling to believe, I think, is not something that God punishes.

This week it was about Jesus’ first recorded miracle, turning water into wine at a wedding. One of the things the priest brought up was that Jesus didn’t do it Himself. He did the miracle, but He specifically asked one of the servants to fill the jugs with water, and then draw up some water/wine and bring it to the master servant. While it’d be nice if we could be the Jesus in this story, most of the time, we could be the servant. When we do God’s will, it may not always be obvious how useful what we can do is, but sometimes, using our gifts for simple things can set the stage for miracles.

I’m trying to not be the only one who posts in here so I try not to post three times in a row, but maybe this will jump start things a bit…

This Sunday our priest preached about the Luke account of the Beatitudes. This account is distinct from the more-famous Matthew account because it doesn’t just have “Blessed are those who ___,” but also follows it up with “Woe to those who ___.” Kind of a mirror image. Yet our pastor emphasized that this isn’t meant to be a complete opposite. Jesus did not say “cursed are those who are rich,” he said “woe to those.” This was not a curse, but a warning. They have had their reward already, after all. Wealth is only a shield against worldly troubles, and even then only to so much of an extent.

It’s been a couple months since I watched any of my congregation’s services, but I haven’t been feeling well lately so I turned on this week’s service.

It was about the passage in John chapter 7 where Nicodemus spoke up in defense of Jesus healing on the Sabbath and saying he was the Messiah. The Pharisees were preoccupied with their own power and tried to silence a man who brought a message of living water. But Jesus didn’t call for violence against people like that; he called for peace.

This week we had the archbishop of Jerusalem guest preach, which was really interesting! One thing that really resonated with me is that he emphasized that nobody should care about the Holy Land without its people; he said that without the “living stones,” it’d just be a theme park (“or a Disneyland [sic]”, hehe). Considering everything that’s been going on over there, I think that’s really important to remember.

Our sermon last sunday was on the story of Cain and Abel. Our regular pastor’s wife was sick, so a retired Lutheran pastor filled in. He talked about how a lot of people who aren’t familiar with the story assume that the mark on Cain is a curse similar to something like “the black spot!” from Treasure Island, but in reality, the mark on Cain was meant to protect Cain, meaning that God still had mercy on Cain even when Cain did something so terrible. He also said Cain’s sin echoed the sin of Adam in that Adam ate the fruit that only God if anyone was meant to eat and Cain took a life of living being, something that before Cain’s sin was only done by God. Satan said “If you eat the fruit, you will be like God.” but there were things only intended for God. Our guest pastor also talked about how in Western literature a story is written like “call to adventure, meet the characters, something goes wrong, climax, resolution” (think LoTR or like the original Star Wars) where in Eastern Literature, stories more often had an end that echoed the beginning with the climax or moral in the middle. The beginning of Genesis chapter 4 starts with Adam and Eve having a son and ends with Seth having a son. In the middle of the chapter is the climax where God has mercy on Cain. He also said that God had mercy on Cain, a murderer, and God not only has mercy on us who are sometime murderers in our hearts, but adopted us as his children.

This week’s sermon was on how a great deal of racism, transphobia, and even things such as the invasion in Ukraine can draw from failing to see other people as in the image of God. We see ourselves as the image of God, but when we fail to recognize people who are different from us with the same reverence, this can lead to awful consequences.

These past couple weeks we’ve been studying the life of Joseph in Egypt. Last week was an excellent reminder that not only can we remain strong and faithful during our trials, but as with Joseph they can even make us stronger. And this week was a sweet example of forgiveness and how it blessed both the giver and receiver just as Joseph forgave his brothers and recognized the good that came from all the bad things that happened to him. :heartpulse:

This Sunday our sermon was about reminding us of our tendency to ignore lessons, rebukes, etc. from God, pastors, etc. by “agreeing” with them but deciding they’re for our neighbors, not for ourselves. We can feel all special and holy by recognizing Christian messages, but this is a dangerous defense mechanism that prevents spiritual growth of ourselves.

Our sermon was about the prodigal son, who was welcomed back by his father after returning all the same as his son who never left. The priest made an emphasis that “love is bad at math.” We should not tally up what we (or others) “deserve” or “have coming to us,” because God doesn’t do that either. We should not feel entitled nor hold grudges. We should love unconditionally, and know that we, too, will always have God waiting for us to return no matter what we’ve done.

This week was about how a lot of what God does is what isn’t expected. The priest brought up a verse in Isaiah where God (through Isaiah) specifically brings up the jackal and the ostrich, which might just be weird to us, but in the context, it’s worth noting that ostriches had the reputation of being very stupid, and jackals, the scavengers, of being dirty and unclean. And yet God refers to them positively. Kind of a foreshadowing to what will happen with Christ; even the unclean will be made clean.

She also brought up John’s account of the woman who washes Jesus’ feet, and brings up how pretty much everything she does is bizarre, even by the standards of the culture at the time. And yet she was honored by Him. Sometimes God surprises us, and we should be open to that. If we expect God to do exactly what we think He will, do we really allow ourselves to be changed by Him?

I went to a new church called a Unity Church, which is a denomination that I hadn’t heard of before.
The church had a very strong positive energy. The focus is on the good in people. The people were very friendly, a couple of people hugged me whom I had never met before.
The service had some elements I hadn’t done before, like a meditation where we sat there and imagined this peaceful, tranquil image.
The speaker’s message did acknowledge that we have bad days sometimes. She read from the story “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” to talk about this.
The music was a combination of piano and guitar. The performers did some well known songs like “The Sound of Silence”. They also did an original song called “What a gift to be a human” that was beautifully written.

What’s the denomination called?

Oh, I think Unity Church is the church formed around the New Thought movement. Basically, if you’ve seen or read “The Secret”, that’s it. Think good thoughts and what you want will manifest itself.

Today’s Easter service was about the people who first saw that the tomb was empty and that Jesus was resurrected! Mary Magdalene, for example: she heard the voice that was calling out to her and wanted to bring her home.

“Can we move from looking at the empty tombs in our life to the encounters that will give life?”

He is risen! :latin_cross:

My first time in church after two weeks of working at the hospital on Sunday mornings!

It was a really good service, too! Got sprinkled with holy water, which was unexpected. :stuck_out_tongue: But the sermon was about the story of Thomas needing to see Jesus’ wounds. The priest emphasized that Jesus’ scars (well, they’d still be wounds after 3 days but who knows how the miracle affected the healing process) were all part of the miracle; He could have just reverted entirely, yet here, the nails in His hands and the stab wound in His side remained to pay witness to His resurrection and the defeat of sin and death forever.

The priest compared this to the trauma we all have in our past. She has training as a military chaplain, and relayed that one of the chaplains training her emphasized that no amount of therapy or spiritual guidance can ever make a traumatized soldier “back to normal.” Trauma scars us and permanently changes us. But Jesus stands as an example as how our scars can nonetheless contribute to a brighter future and make us stronger.

This week’s service was great! The sermon was about the kinds of people who God chooses to do His will. God doesn’t have a “type.” He chose fishermen. He chose a religious zealot who oppressed minorities (Paul). No person should ever think, “But why me?” God has plans for you because you’re you. So we should think about what we can do for Him, and be listening for His guidance. We all have our own spiritual gifts. Yes, even you.

I really do recommend people go to church every week. Especially in the COVID era, almost every church has an online stream! It’s easier than ever!

This week our service was on prayer and human life, colored in the aftermath of the massacre in Texas. The pastor emphasized that prayer is important; prayer is powerful; prayer should not be shamed. But prayerful faith should not stop with prayer. We cannot let prayer be an excuse for inaction.

We also heard the story of Paul being thrown in prison for healing a slave girl whose affliction was making her owners a lot of money. He got in trouble, but people were more important than wealth and power. We should never lose sight of how things affect people, and never let the world prioritize money and other things over them, because it will certainly try to.