Love’s Last Words: “Son…Mother” - March 24, 2019

“You hollow us out, God, so that we may carry you, and you endlessly fill

us only to be emptied again. Make smooth our inward spaces and sturdy,

that we may hold you with less resistance and bear you with deeper

grace.“

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~ Jan Richardson

Love’s Last Words: “With Me” - March 17, 2019

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“I beg you, Lord, let the glowing and honey-sweet force of your love draw my mind away from all things that are under heaven, that I may die for love of the love of you who thought it a worthy thing to die for love of the love of me.”

~ Francis of Assisi (died 1226)

Love’s Last Words: “Forgive” - March 10, 2019

Forgiveness is the answer

to the child’s dream of a miracle

by which what is broken is made whole again,

what is soiled is again made clean.

The dream explains why we need to be forgiven,

and why we must forgive.

In the presence of God,

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nothing stands between [God] and us—

we are forgiven.

But we cannot feel [God’s] presence if anything

is allowed to stand between ourselves and others.

~ Dag Hammarskjöld (1905-1961)

Incurable - Ash Wednesday, March 6, 2019

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O Lord, who has mercy upon all, take away from me my sins,

and mercifully kindle in me the fire of thy Holy Spirit.

Take away from me the heart of stone,

and give me a heart of flesh,

a heart to love and adore thee,

a heart to delight in thee,

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to follow and to enjoy thee,

for Christ's sake.


Ambrose of Milan (339-397)

Love Without Limits - February 24, 2019

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Love people even in their sin, for that is the semblance of Divine Love and is the highest love on earth. Love all of God's creation, the whole and every grain of sand of it. Love every leaf, every ray of God's light. Love the animals, love the plants, love everything. If you love everything, you will perceive the divine mystery in things. Once you perceive it, you will begin to comprehend it better every day. And you will come at last to love the whole world with an all-embracing love.

~ Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Source: The Brothers Karamazov

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God and the Poor - February 17, 2019

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“This is why I want a Church which is poor and for the poor. They have much to teach us. Not only do they share in the [sense of the faithful], but in their difficulties they know the suffering Christ. We need to let ourselves be evangelized by them…”

~ Pope Francis

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Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel)

Winter Forum Lecture by Dr. Braxton - February 10, 2019

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Rev. Dr. Brad Braxton is Director of the Center for the Study of African American Religious Life (CSAARL) and the Supervisory Curator of Religion at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Lecture by Dr. Braxton: Lifting the Veil: Religion, Reparations and Reconciliation, based on 2 Cor. 3 & 2 Cor. 5 (2/10/19 9:30am FBC Sanctuary)

"Mama n Em" (Alyssa Aldape) - February 3

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The transcendence that the church preaches is not alienation; it is not going to heaven to think about eternal life and forget about the problems on earth. It’s a transcendence from the human heart. It is entering into the reality of a child, of the poor, of those wearing rags, of the sick, of a hovel, of a shack. It is going to share with them. And from the very heart of misery, of this situation, to transcend it, to elevate it, to promote it, and to say to them, “You aren’t trash. You aren’t marginalized.” It is to say exactly the opposite, “You are valuable.”

~ Mons. Oscar Romero

The Surprising Declaration - January 27, 2019

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“We are not integrated. We are distraught. We feel honestly the pull of many obligations and try to fulfill them all. And we are unhappy, uneasy, strained, oppressed and fearful we shall be shallow. For over the margins of life comes a whisper, a faint call, a premonition of richer living which we know we are passing by. Strained by the mad pace of our daily outer burdens, we are further strained by an inward uneasiness, because we have hints that there is a way of life vastly richer and deeper than all this hurried existence, a life of unhurried serenity and peace and power. If only we could slip over into that Center!”

~ Thomas Kelly
A Testament of Devotion

Gifts and the Giver - January 20, 2019

Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You don’t have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve. You don’t have to know Einstein’s theory of relativity to serve. You don’t have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love.

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~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
February 4, 1968

Snowy Sunday [Online] Worship Gathering - January 13, 2019

What is worship, if not being fully present with God who is always fully present with us? Even though the snow event on January 13 prevented us from worshiping together in our sanctuary, a number of us gathered at 11am through Facebook Live for a brief and simple time of worship, led by Pastor Julie from her living room.

(Email to congregation regarding event: https://mailchi.mp/78a9799da53b/snow-advisory-fbc-facilities-closed-sunday-january-13-online-gathering-live-at-11am)

Epiphany: To Life! - January 6, 2019

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When the song of the angel is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flock
The work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among brothers and sisters,
To make music in the heart.

~ Howard Thurman (1900-1981)

This Curious Doorway - December 30, 2018

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There are particular graces that attend beginnings,
and mercies that wait to meet us when we are setting out into unknown terrain.

Just as we cannot know with certainty what the terrain will hold,
we cannot know at the outset what these graces will look like.

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They can take all manner of forms:
a curious occasion of provision,
a seemingly chance meeting that holds a surprising gift,
sustenance that arrives when we need it most,
space to rest and regather.

I think of such occasions as small-g graces
that bear witness to Big Grace, Grace-with-a-capital-G,
the Grace of God.


Flowing out from Big Grace,
graces enter into the details of our lives,
finding their way into the nooks and crannies of our path.

Graces help us begin, and they help us keep going.
They are part of the secret of the journey.
~ Jan Richardson

Love in Four Acts - Act III: Enter the Hero - December 23, 2018

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There are particular graces that attend beginnings,
and mercies that wait to meet us
when we are setting out into unknown terrain.
Just as we cannot know with certainty
what the terrain will hold,
we cannot know at the outset what these graces will look like.

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They can take all manner of forms:
a curious occasion of provision,
a seemingly chance meeting that holds a surprising gift,
sustenance that arrives when we need it most,
space to rest and regather.

I think of such occasions as small-g graces
that bear witness to Big Grace, Grace-with-a-capital-G,
the Grace of God.


Flowing out from Big Grace,
graces enter into the details of our lives,
finding their way into the nooks and crannies of our path.
Graces help us begin, and they help us keep going.
They are part of the secret of the journey.

~ Jan Richardson

Love in Four Acts - Act II: Evil Takes the Stage - December 16, 2018

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May the sounds of Advent stir a longing in your people, O God. Come again to set us free from the dullness of routine and the poverty of our imaginations. Break the patterns which bind us to small commitments and to the stale answers we have given to questions of no importance. Let the Advent trumpet blow, let the walls of our defenses crumble, and make a place in our lives for the freshness of your love, well-lived in the Spirit, and still given to all who know their need and dare receive it. Amen.

~ Howard Thurman (1899-1981)

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Love in Four Acts - Act I: A Promising Start - December 9, 2018

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  May the sounds of Advent stir a longing in your people, O God. Come again to set us free from the dullness of routine and the poverty of our imaginations. Break the patterns which bind us to small commitments and to the stale answers we have given to questions of no importance. Let the Advent trumpet blow, let the walls of our defenses crumble, and make a place in our lives for the freshness of your love, well-lived in the Spirit, and still given to all who know their need and dare receive it. Amen.

         ~ Howard Thurman (1899-1981)

Love in Four Acts: The Finale - December 2, 2018

Lord Jesus, Master of both the light and the darkness,
send your Holy Spirit upon our preparations for Christmas.
We, who have so much to do, seek quiet spaces
to hear your voice each day.
We, who are anxious over many things,
look forward to your coming among us.
We, who are blessed in so many ways,
long for the complete joy of your kingdom….
We are your people, walking in darkness
yet seeking the light.
To you we say, “Come, Lord Jesus!” Amen.

~ Mark Neilsen

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Out of This World - November 25, 2018

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“If we only had eyes to see and ears to hear and wits to understand, we would know that the Kingdom of God in the sense of holiness, goodness, beauty is as close as breathing and is crying out to born both within ourselves and within the world; we would know that the Kingdom of God is what we all of us hunger for above all other things even when we don’t know its name or realize that it’s what we’re starving to death for. The Kingdom of God is where our best dreams come from and our truest prayers. We glimpse it at those moments when we find ourselves being better than we are and wiser than we know. We catch sight of it when at some moment of crisis a strength seems to come to us that is greater than our own strength. The Kingdom of God is where we belong. It is home, and whether we realize it or not, I think we are all of us homesick for it.”

~ Frederick Buechner