Dear Edgeboro Friends and Family,
I am writing to let you know that we have kicked off our Percentage Living worship series at Edgeboro Moravian Church. In addition to this letter, you will be receiving another letter toward the end of this series summarizing all of our worship experiences and learnings through these five weeks.
Sunday, September 24th was the first Sunday and we learned about giving to God a percentage of our day through devotional prayer.
To go along with our Percentage Living theme, each week a member of the congregation will speak on their own experience when it comes to the topic of the day during a moment in worship called “Receiving a Fair Share.” Tom S. spoke about his personal experience with prayer. He spoke of how important he thought it was to center himself at the beginning of each day with prayer. Tom also mentioned that God speaks the loudest to him in silence and that God knows what he needs before he even asks – and he knows this because he has witnessed answered prayers before he even voiced them.
After Tom was done, I showed a short video put out by National Geographic called “7 Billion: Are You Typical?” ( https://goo.gl/eRK3wN ). In this video, it used different international averages (height, income, nationality, etc.) to come up with what a “typical” person in this world might look like. The video describes all of this in a much more interesting way, but it is safe to say that you probably do not match the description given of a typical person. Therefore, you are not typical! All of this is to say that since we are not typical people, we are all different, meaning that our relationships with God will look different than someone else’s. So when it comes to prayer, or any of the other topics this series will cover, no one is telling anyone what to do. Instead, we hope to encourage one another to do something that will enhance their faith.
Tom speaking of how God speaks in the quiet fit exceedingly well with the scripture passage for that Sunday – Psalm 46. In my message, I focused on verse ten in particular, “Be still, and know that I am God.” Often, this verse is a call for quiet, stillness, and silence. If you read Psalm 46, you will notice that this is being mentioned in a time that is anything but quiet – wars, earthquakes and storms! With this, the psalmist is telling us that God is in both the loud and quiet times in life.
As proof of that, we looked at pictures of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels in downtown Los Angeles, California. Behind the altar is a banner with a map of the city with a verse from Revelation 21:3, “See, God’s dwelling is among mortals. God will dwell with them. They will be God’s people and God will be with them.” Here, in the heart of one of the loudest cities in the world is a quiet place where God resides.
This led to a challenging question for all of us – “If God is speaking to me, an atypical child of God, in the loud and in the quiet of life, what am I going to do about it?” We took this question with us when we left with the hopes that this would lead us to thinking what we need to change about our prayer lives so that we may listen to God even better in all times in our lives. Maybe this means adjusting our normal times of prayer, or maybe it means we need an additional resource like a devotional or a journal to better structure our prayer time. In any case, this will look different for everyone.
Sunday, October 1st was the second Sunday and we learned about giving God a percentage of our Sabbath through engaging in worship and learning experiences.
Cheryl K. was a guest speaker during the “Receiving a Fair Share” moment. From her years of experience in Christian education at Edgeboro, she spoke of many of the classes she was involved in, activities she led, and books she read. She certainly emphasized how important it was for her to always take the time to learn about and recall all the things God has done throughout history – her own history and throughout the Bible. She said that even if she were to read the Bible cover to cover over and over again, there would still be more things she would learn. What a testament to how much God is still acting in our lives today!
Our scripture passage was Psalm 99. The psalmist speaks of God’s activity – how God listens, answers, forgives, and keeps people accountable – and then calls people to worship God as a response. Giving God a percentage of our Sabbath, something that we are commanded to do, is all about making the time to identify and respond to all of the ways in which God is active in our lives.
I showed the video “How the U.S. Public Became Less Religious” ( https://goo.gl/TiAppQ ). This video was put out by the Pew Research Center a few years ago and it outlines certain statistics about how many people believe in God, attend worship, pray regularly, and so on. It led us to wonder, “As those who are a part of a faith community who choose to attend worship, why are we here?” Worship should not be an obligation and we should not be worshipping to make someone happy, or even to make God happy. We worship God to respond to all the signs we have been shown that God is still with us and active in our lives. We worship to remember. In word and song, we remember. We left wondering about other signs of God that we need to remember, recognize, and respond to in worship.
How appropriate it was to talk about remembering that which God has done for us just before we heard the words, “Do this, in remembrance of me,” as we partook in Holy Communion together on World Communion Sunday. On this special day in the worldwide church, we were blessed to have Joshua Pradhan, nephew of Vani and Shanti Pradhan and current student at Moravian College, share with us about Moravians in Nepal. We held a Joyful Noise offering for the Nepal Ministry.
As you can see, there has been a lot happening on worship over the past two Sundays, and there is more coming up! Join us as we continue through this worship series as we encourage each other to give God even more of our lives!
Peace and Grace,