Monday, November 30, 2009

Reinventing Advent

Advent, like any season, tradition or practice, has the potential to become routine. Either that or it gets ignored. Just because it can be observed poorly, doesn't negate the potential for good Advent can have if the spirit of the season is personally embraced.

Can you sum up the point of Advent in your own words?

Being a student makes celebrating any special Church season difficult. Taking extra time for silence, for stillness, and for focusing on the Lord is difficult during the stress of finals. Still I would encourage you to make an effort to spend more time with the Lord in the busyness of the season. It's possible, and even more than that it's worth it.

Observing Advent doesn't look the same for everyone. Can you come up with creative ways to embrace the spirit of the season given your own unique circumstances? If college students can't find stillness, they can certainly find time to engage discussion. We aren't so much reinventing Advent as rediscovering it.

If you are from a Church or tradition that doesn't observe Advent, engage in dialogue with those who do to find out why they do, what they think it means, what scripture passages they read, and how their lives are different during this season. Express your own thoughts about why your Church doesn't observe the season.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Back to the Basics- Enjoying God

Our lives often seem to be in a fog or haze. It's hard to make sense of what's going on, or to see much more than what is close by. Even in our Christian lives it's so easy to lose sight of the big picture as we succumb to the slavery of the small details of life. What even is the big picture?

My reformed tradition summarizes--in the Westminster Confession of Faith--the 'chief end of man' is to glorify God and enjoy him forever. That always seemed like a strange word to use. We are supposed to enjoy God? Maybe serve, pray to, or imitate, sure, but enjoy? Really?

Well, yes.

Christians can easily fall into the trap of serving God without enjoying God. I do. The Christian challenge to grow in faith and holiness, when approached in the wrong way, can become a burden that steals away joy rather than giving more joy (as it's supposed to do). Even though we grow as God's servants, we never lose our place as his beloved children.

Does your service to God often come before your relationship with God?

For those who have ceased to enjoy God (in prayer, worship, or service), God is calling us back. He's calling us to remember that abundant and unconditional love that drew us to him in the first place. Even as God calls us to serve him he calls us ever more to enjoy him. This is fundamental.

1Ti 6:17 As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Is it worth it?

This month we are starting a series on Ecumenism. Ecumenism is the word we use to describe the fact that we have Protestants, Catholics, and Orthodox Christians in UCO and yet we as a group aren't Protestant, Roman Catholic, or Orthodox (although I hope that we are orthodox). For all that will be talked about and discussed this month I want to put the challenge back to YOU and ask YOU a question: is it worth it? I hope that this is a question everyone in UCO gets a chance to take seriously during their time here. Is our ecumenism worth it?

We can talk about what it is, what happened to cause the problems, why it's possible, how to do it, why is it hard, and why it matters. And we will. But none of that information can make the decision for you. Is it worth it? Hopefully the information will help you make a good decision, but it is nevertheless a personal decision each one of us have to make. Going along for the ride won't cut it for very long.

This month I want to challenge you to ask yourself: do I believe this choice toward unity is worth all the difficulties it raises? And if it is worth it, how far are you willing to go to fight for it?