Bulletin 09.04.22

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Reflections Before the Service

  • Fathers, do not exasperate your children, that they may not lose heart.
    -- St. Paul, the Apostle, Letter to the Colossians (CH 3, v.21)

  • The more I reflect on the elder son in me, the more I realize how deeply rooted this form of
    lostness really is and how hard it is to return home from there. Returning home from a lustful
    escapade seems so much easier than returning home from a cold anger that has rooted itself
    in the deepest corners of my being. My resentment is not something that can be easily
    distinguished and dealt with rationally. It is far more pernicious: something that has attached
    itself to the underside of my virtue. Isn’t it good to be obedient, dutiful, law-abiding,
    hardworking, and self-sacrificing? And still it seems that my resentments and complaints are
    mysteriously tied to such praiseworthy attitudes.… It seems that wherever my virtuous self is,
    there also is the resentful complainer.
    ― Henri J.M. Nouwen, The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming

  • Anger, resentment, jealousy, desire for revenge, lust, greed, antagonisms, and rivalries are the
    obvious signs that I have left home. And that happens quite easily. When I pay careful attention
    to what goes on in my mind from moment to moment, I come to the disconcerting discovery
    that there are very few moments during the day when I am really free from these dark
    emotions, passions and feelings.
    Constantly falling back into an old trap, before I am even fully aware of it, I find myself
    wondering why someone hurt me, rejected me, or didn't pay attention to me. Without realizing
    it, I find myself brooding about someone else's success, my own loneliness, and the way the
    world abuses me. Despite my conscious intentions, I often catch myself daydreaming about
    becoming rich, powerful, and very famous. All of these mental games reveal to me the fragility
    of my faith that I am the Beloved One on whom God's favor rests. I am so afraid of being
    disliked, blamed, put aside, passed over, ignored, persecuted, and killed, that I am constantly
    developing strategies to defend myself and thereby assure myself of the love I think I need and
    deserve. And in so doing I move far away from my father's home and choose to dwell in a
    "distant country.”

    ― Henri J.M. Nouwen, The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming

The Call to Worship

  • Romans 15.4-7, 13
    For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that
    through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have
    hope.

    Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of
    the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus, so that with one accord
    you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
    Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.

    Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing,

  • Fathers, do not exasperate your children, that they may not lose heart.
    -- St. Paul, the Apostle, Letter to the Colossians (CH 3, v.21)

  • The more I reflect on the elder son in me, the more I realize how deeply rooted this form of
    lostness really is and how hard it is to return home from there. Returning home from a lustful
    escapade seems so much easier than returning home from a cold anger that has rooted itself
    in the deepest corners of my being. My resentment is not something that can be easily
    distinguished and dealt with rationally. It is far more pernicious: something that has attached
    itself to the underside of my virtue. Isn’t it good to be obedient, dutiful, law-abiding,
    hardworking, and self-sacrificing? And still it seems that my resentments and complaints are
    mysteriously tied to such praiseworthy attitudes.… It seems that wherever my virtuous self is,
    there also is the resentful complainer.
    ― Henri J.M. Nouwen, The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming

  • Anger, resentment, jealousy, desire for revenge, lust, greed, antagonisms, and rivalries are the
    obvious signs that I have left home. And that happens quite easily. When I pay careful attention
    to what goes on in my mind from moment to moment, I come to the disconcerting discovery
    that there are very few moments during the day when I am really free from these dark
    emotions, passions and feelings.
    Constantly falling back into an old trap, before I am even fully aware of it, I find myself
    wondering why someone hurt me, rejected me, or didn't pay attention to me. Without realizing
    it, I find myself brooding about someone else's success, my own loneliness, and the way the
    world abuses me. Despite my conscious intentions, I often catch myself daydreaming about
    becoming rich, powerful, and very famous. All of these mental games reveal to me the fragility
    of my faith that I am the Beloved One on whom God's favor rests. I am so afraid of being
    disliked, blamed, put aside, passed over, ignored, persecuted, and killed, that I am constantly
    developing strategies to defend myself and thereby assure myself of the love I think I need and
    deserve. And in so doing I move far away from my father's home and choose to dwell in a
    "distant country.”

    ― Henri J.M. Nouwen, The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming

  • Romans 15.4-7, 13
    For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that
    through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have
    hope.

    Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of
    the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus, so that with one accord
    you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
    Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.

    Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing,

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Bulletin Date: 09/04/2022