Words Matter

by susan on August 30, 2019

Not that you need me to tell you this, but…

Words matter.

They have the power to give or to take life. They can sting, soothe, divide or delight. They can give voice to our thoughts, truths, emotions & experiences.

They can even point toward something beyond us. They can bring clarity, wisdom & a framework to our spirituality.

Here’s where we must be careful though, because words also have limits. They can point toward, but they can never fully encapsulate the ways we connect, relate to & experience the Divine.

Still, we use them & at times, we do it poorly.

Over then next couple of months, we’ll be exploring some of the key words that have been used to guide our theology & faith. Unfortuntately, some of these words have also been used to paint a harmful image of God, one that needs healing. Despire their limitations & the way they’ve been abused, instead of throwing these words out altogether, we’re spending some time delving deeper into them. We’re spending some of our Sunday gathering time over the next couple of months exploring the meanings of some powerful, but often wielded-like-weapons-words – words like God, Bible, sin, salvation, blessed, heaven & hell.

We’ll ask a pretty basic question:

What are we talking about when we use these words?

Maybe that’s a question you’re asking. Maybe you’re wondering if these words even have any significance for you any longer. Wherever you are, whateve your questions, doubts or believes, you’re invited to join us as we gather to listen, sing, pray, share communion & take a fresh look at some words that have been central to Christianty for a long time &- words that are meant to be a means to life, neve a destroyer of it.

Join us beginning this Sunday, September 1st at 10:30 a.m. at the Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum in Springfield.

Beach & Baptism: You are invited.

by susan on August 21, 2019

Each year, The Well spends a Sunday at the beach together and everyone is invited. This is not just any trip to the beach, it’s our annual gathering to celebrate baptism, to remember our own baptisms & to enjoy a day of play, rest & renewal. Whether baptism has been part of your faith journey or not, you are invited to be a part of this special day in the life of our community.

Baptism is an ancient sacred ritual or sacrament of the Church. Like all sacraments, it has been the source of much division & debate. At The Well, we try not to get too caught up in doing it “right” and more caught up in its rich symbolism.

It’s symbolic that baptism happens in water. Throughout the Bible, water is a symbol of new life & of new beginnings. God stirred over the waters at the beginning of creation & provided water in the desert for his thirsty Israelite exiles. Jesus turned water into wine & it was at a well, that a woman met Jesus and learned about a new, abundant way of life.  Jesus himself was baptized in water at the beginning of his public ministry.

At our baptisms, we’re expressing what’s already been taking root on our spiritual journeys & also what is just beginning. We are choosing to orient our lives around the life-giving, love-centered way of Jesus, instead of the dead-end ways of Caesar. Baptism is “going public” with our choosing to make Jesus “Lord”. It’s our public YES to living as beloved children of God, to living together as equal members of God’s family & to being life-long learners of the way of Jesus.  Baptism is a beginning

Baptism not only happens in water though; it also happens in community. That’s symbolic, too. Baptism requires at least one other person – we can’t really baptize ourselves. Like baptism, our faith journeys requires companions, too. They require friends who will love & encourage, support & learn alongside, confront & challenge us. We believe the way of Jesus is best lived out in community, not in isolation. We need one another to grow, to learn & to experience the fullness of life in the kingom of God.

Baptism is not only an ancient sacrament of the church, it continues to shape & form us today. Many of us have our unique baptism stories to remember, others bring questions & doubts & stirrings & still others are eager to enter the waters for the first time. Wherever you are on your spiritual journey, you are invited to go to the water with us & to experience this significant gathering.

If you are curious about baptism or are ready to take the plunge, let’s get together for a conversation. We’d love to celebrate with you.

Peace & love,

Susan

Loving Our Immigrant Neighbors

June 26, 2019

While we continue moving through our summer school of love, thousands of immigrant children are being separated from their parents and held in substandard detention center conditions. It doesn’t matter where they come from or how they got here. They are here now and they deserve better. A year ago, I had the privilege of […]

Read the full article →

Summer School of Love

June 8, 2019

In Practicing the Way of Jesus Together: Life Together in the Kingdom of Love, Mark Scandrette writes, “The vision of belonging that Jesus embodied and taught calls us to a love that is far more ruthless and tender than seems humanly possible. It is a kind of love that can empower you to treat your […]

Read the full article →

Journey with us this Lent

March 3, 2019

Lent is a season of journey toward the cross, of preparation for Easter, of looking inward & inviting God to reveal what lies fallow, what needs to be nurtured, and what needs to die for new life to emerge. We invite you to move through this season with us in several ways. Ash Wednesday, March […]

Read the full article →

Blessed are the peacemakers

January 29, 2019

“I was once asked why I don’t participate in anti-war demonstrations. I said that I will never do that, but as soon as you have a pro-peace rally, I’ll be there.” ~ Mother Teresa There are a ton of reasons why I felt stirred to start a new community of faith. One of those reasons […]

Read the full article →

A welcome in the wilderness

January 14, 2019

These are the “words for the journey” that were shared as part of our Sunday gathering on January 13, 2019 & they are based on Matthew 3:1-17. The last time Jesus & John met they were in their mothers’ wombs. It’s a rather weird way to meet. According to the gospel of Luke, their moms, […]

Read the full article →

Welcome: a good place to begin.

January 4, 2019

We have celebrated the coming of Christ into the world & the start of a new year together. Now what? According to the gospel of Matthew, after the birth of Jesus, a lot happened. For starters, King Herod caught wind of the news. A baby had been born and wise men were referring to him […]

Read the full article →

Oh advent, we need you

December 1, 2018

If ever we needed the arrival of something new, we need it now (I imagine that’s been said a time or two throughout history, but come on. Look around.). Fires in California, more mass shootings, millions of refugees fleeing for their lives & a nation formed by immigrants tear-gassing immigrants at our border. If ever we […]

Read the full article →

Guns to Garden Tools & Why We Gather

November 8, 2018

On the heels of yet another mass shooting, this time in a California bar, we are reminded yet again of the reality of gun violence that plagues our nation. It’s not just happening somewhere else, though. For too long, it’s been happening too often here in our own community – in our streets & homes […]

Read the full article →