Practicing the Presence of God

This past Sunday one of the things we talked about are ways we practice remembering and noticing the presence of God every day. This practice is foundational for a growing faith life. God is a deep mystery, at the same time closer than the closest friend, and so much more. We don’t come to a perfect relationship with God all at once; that relationship is a lifetime work. God is with us, eager to deepen our experience and trust. Daily practices are simple ways to do our part. They help us get below thinking about God and into the habit of feeling God’s presence always.

Many of us are used to the ideas of daily Bible reading, using a devotional guide like Upper Room, saying grace at meals. These are wonderful practices. Here are a few more that might be a bit different than what you’ve tried before:

  • Every morning, as you rise from bed, say out loud the words of the psalm “This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.
  • Set aside, in advance, one meal per week that you’ll eat in holy silence—no conversation, no TV, radio, computer, phone, no reading the paper—only full concentration on the blessing of the meal you are eating: noticing the taste and texture, remembering that all we have is God’s gift, offering thanks with each bite.
  • Here’s a somewhat hard habit to start, but amazing when you remember: every doorway is a threshold; every moment is a threshold into new becoming in God’s ongoing creation. Every time you go through a door, any door, every door, take one intentional breath thinking “I breath in God’s blessing” and as you exhale thinking “I thank God for new life opening before me.”
  • Try to reframe questions to be less about ourselves and more about God. Instead of “What do I want?” perhaps “What will deepen connections with God today?”

If you try any of these, let me know how it goes. I’ll just confess up front that I try all kinds of faith practices. Some of them I maintain well for years, others never quite take hold in my life, often my practices are spotty. It’s all good. No need to worry about feeling guilty. Just try something. God’s grace will find its way though even the smallest cracks in our too self-centered ways. Indeed, God is already closer to you than your own skin.

Blessings,
Pastor David

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Why I Love the Bible

It’s full of contradictions, terrible behavior, implausible stories, and is a complete hodge-podge of differences all lumped together. Just like human life. Through it all flows hope, devotion, liberation. Just like human life.

I love the Bible precisely because it is a very human creation. It’s the testimony of people just like us who are trying their best to express how God is at work in their lives. They didn’t have all the answers any more than we do. They didn’t live perfect lives any more than we do. They did look for and find God’s transforming power at work right in the midst of their difficult humanity. Reading the Bible, we can look at our own lives the same way.

I love the Bible because it insists that we continue to interpret it in conversation with God’s working in our own times, in our lives as individuals and communities. If the Bible were one clean consistent set of doctrines and rules for life, we could claim we have it all figured out, nothing more to worry or wonder about. We could claim that we fully understood God’s way for us. We don’t. We are limited, fallible, small parts of creation. We don’t have the Creator in our pocket, understood, tame. God remains a wild mystery. The sprawling, wildly varied texts of the Bible invite, even demand, an ongoing openness to God still speaking to us in new ways through all these stories, sermons, songs—all that the Bible offers us.

I love the Bible because it challenges and sustains me. Often enough the call from scripture feels uncomfortably clear. Always the words of scripture offer me assurance of God’s complete love and faithfulness.

Pastor David

Interim Pastor David Zaworski begins ministering with Condon UCC

Greetings! This will be a very short post, just to say I’m here and jumping into Condon life and the work of the church.

I’m still very much in the midst of unpacking into the parsonage and just beginning to find my way into the workings of the church. I have my Gilliam County Library card.  I’ve introduced myself to a number of folks around town. My first worship service here as interim pastor will begin in just over an hour.

Over the next couple weeks I’ll plan to do a bit of updating of this website and have a few more thoughts to post in this blog space.

I’m delighted to be here as interim pastor of Condon United Church of Christ. I look forward to being in touch with you!

Blessings always,
Pastor David Zaworski

VBS Begins

VBS Begins

Vacation Bible School began with excitement and joy! The children began by donning their green shirts, eating snacks, and Bible Study. The children are learning the call story of Samuel (1 Samuel 3:2-11) this week.

Following Bible study the children crossed the street to Summit Springs Village to make prayer flags with some of the residents. The afternoon concluded with an M&M Relay race and singing, “Here I Am, Lord!”

How tall were you? Photo by Tim Graves. Creative Commons License BY-NC-ND 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/us/

How tall were you? Photo by Tim Graves. Creative Commons License BY-NC-ND 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/us/

Searching Is Theme for Advent at Condon UCC

The Condon United Church of Christ announced special music, weekly worship, Bible Study, and special services for Advent, the start of the Christian calendar and the season of preparation leading to Christmas. The focus of services and studies will be “Searching”, according to Rev. Tim Graves, pastor of the United Church of Christ.Advent 2014 at Condon UCC flyer

“All of us are on our own spiritual journeys with the Divine One,” explained Rev. Graves. “Our theme of Searching reflects this truth about human existence during this season of preparation for Christmas.”

Advent at the UCC begins Sunday, November 30 with a Hanging of the Greens worship service featuring special music by local artist and musician Dan Robinson. Scripture readings, Advent and Christmas hymns, prayer, and multimedia are interspersed with decorating the sanctuary.

“At the start of a Hanging of the Greens service, the sanctuary is bare. By the end of the service it is decked out in seasonal decorations and liturgical colors,” said Rev. Graves.

Each Sunday morning, as is the practice at the local UCC, begins with Bible study at 9:15 and worship at 10:30. The traditional themes of hope, peace, joy, and love will be incorporated into the searching theme on each of the four Sundays leading to Christmas.

The second Sunday of Advent, December 6, will feature special music by Russell Thompson, grandson of Patti and Dale Thompson.

A Longest Night service will be Sunday evening December 21 at 5:00 p.m. Sometimes called Blue Christmas, many Christian churches now recognize the sadness inherent in the Christmas season for many people.

“The service affirms that not everyone is as happy as our culture tells us we should be at this time of the year,” says Rev. Graves. “The holidays, especially Christmas, are often times when people feel the loss of loved ones, hopes, and dreams. Those searching for work or living in poverty often feel the pressures of spending money they do not have. Even those who appear to have it all, often struggle with depression or blue feelings as the long nights of winter press on.”

The traditional candlelight Christmas Eve service will be at 8:00 p.m. on December 24.