A special opportunity is extended to everyone this Thursday evening at 5:30 p.m. as Temple Beth-El hosts the second installment in the Southside Faith Communities 2019 Homelessness Series. The program Thursday opens the synagogue’s sukkah to the entire community during the festival of Sukkot. The temporary booth set up outdoors will be used to draw attention to Jewish teachings concerning hospitality and how we respond to those who are homeless. Plan to be a part of this opportunity to join with the larger community of faith in our neighborhood as we learn and grow together.
Our weekly opportunities of fellowship, prayer and study tonight will occur at the regularly scheduled time, and Dr. Roxburgh will continue the study entitled “Holy Habits: Spirituality for the 21st Century.” We will not have the weekly Communion Service on Thursday due to the Southside Faith Communities special event at Temple Beth-el.
Finally, we have a break in the drought conditions and extremely high temperatures! I was so thankful to see the rain last Saturday that I felt compelled to walk outside, look heavenward and experience the refreshing sensation of the rain upon my face. The rain that evening might have gone unnoticed by me without the numerous rainless days, but this time I was well aware and all was reinforced by the cooler temperatures that followed. Reflecting on the experience, I know the rain that night calmed my spirit. Maybe it was just a way of being reminded that God does provide as made evident in the rain that came my way and with so much more, too. There are good things that God provides everyday; some I see and some I don’t even notice, at least not until they are gone. We are now in a season that calls to mind harvest time, a period to reflect and consider where all that sustains us comes from and to give thanks for all God has provided. I hope that we will focus on the good life we are granted and give thanks to the one who sustains us in the living of our lives daily. It is good and right for us to give thanks with a grateful heart.
Tonight, we have an opportunity to gather, share a meal, enter into a time of prayer and engage our minds and spirits in a time of study. Dr. Roxburgh will continue the series entitled, “Holy Habits: Spirituality for the 21st Century.”
A wonderful day of worship and fellowship was experienced at Southside this past Sunday. All aspects of the worship service (music, prayers and homily) were inspiring as our spirits were lifted and our hearts challenged to be more attuned to our personal relationships. The covered dish luncheon was also a joy as we broke bread together. This week, we have more opportunities for fellowship, prayer and study at our mid-week gathering this evening and then on Thursday evening at the Communion Service. There, we listen as scripture is read, meditate, pray and celebrate Holy Communion. It is a time of quiet reflection and contemplation to clear our minds and calm our spirits as we focus on listening for God’s voice. I hope you will consider participating in both of these opportunities.
This Sunday is designated as World Communion Sunday. On this day, Christians around the world will celebrate Holy Communion and, in doing so, proclaim the unity that all Believers experience with one another through Christ. This is a visible testimony of the Apostle Paul’s words, “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” (Gal 3:28). It is also a wonderful way to remind us that God’s love is one of inclusion through Jesus the Christ.
Wednesday Evening Bible Study this week will be a continuation of the series led by Dr. Roxburgh, “Holy Habits: Spirituality for the 21st Century.” This study uses as a resource Richard Foster’s book, The Celebration of Discipline, which directs us to aspects of our spirituality and the disciplines that we may practice but have never given much thought. In the first few weeks of this series, we have consider the disciplines of meditation, prayer and fasting and will continue this week with the discipline of study, another of the inward spiritual disciplines. A discipline that not only helps us acquire spiritual knowledge but facilitates the comprehension and application of that knowledge in our lives. Come and share in our Fellowship Supper, Prayer and Bible Study as we learn and grow together this Wednesday evening.
This Sunday, a covered dish lunch is scheduled to immediately follow the worship service. These gatherings are favorite special events for many. In gathering around a table with our church family, a special time of fellowship is created by sharing stories and bonds of friendship are created and deepened through the breaking of bread together. Make plans to be present and to bring a friend on Sunday for Bible Study and Worship and stay for this special event where we’ll enjoy the favorite dishes brought by church members.
I look forward to seeing you all.
We experienced a wonderful worship service Sunday and now look forward to gathering again this Wednesday for Fellowship Supper, Prayer and Bible Study. A special guest, Dr. Steven Harmon, will be with us for our time of study and will speak on the subject of his book, Baptist Identity and the Ecumenical Future: Story, Tradition, and the Recovery of Community. This is one of several books that Dr. Harmon has authored. Dr. Harmon is Associate Professor of Historical Theology at Gardner-Webb University. Prior to coming to this position at Gardner-Webb in 2010, Dr. Harmon taught at Campbell University Divinity School in North Carolina and Samford University’s Beeson Divinity School here in Birmingham. We look forward to Dr. Harmon being with us this Wednesday evening.
Please take note of other opportunities for study, worship, fellowship and service listed in the weekly Calendar of Events.
I look forward to seeing those able to attend.
The relationship we experience and enjoy as fellow Christians is like no other. The “tie that binds us” is the unique bond of love that we experience through Christ and come to understand more deeply through fellowship with one another. Fellowship, with fellow Christians, refers to sharing together in common or communion. Although we may not live as the early Church did and share all things in common, the spiritual bond we share does exceed all others and links us together eternally. Fellowship is deepened as we worship, study, serve and spend time together. In Hebrews 10:24-25 we read, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing but encouraging one another.”
As a fellow Christian it is our privilege and responsibility to gather together, demonstrate love toward one another, encourage one another and together engage in doing good deeds for all those we encounter. Each week there are opportunities to gather with your family of faith and enjoy Christian Fellowship that nurtures us in our faith journey.
Make plans to take part in the opportunities detailed in the weekly calendar of events through which our fellowship may be enriched, and those in the neighborhood around us will see the love of God that binds us, that is within us, and that we strive to share with others.
I look forward to gathering with you this week.
Rain and cooler temperatures sure make a person feel better, especially when it is on the heels of the heat and extremely dry weather of recent weeks. One of the enjoyable aspects of living in Birmingham is the seasonal changes we experience both in temperatures and in variations of color in the flora of the landscape. Although all the hot weather is not completely behind us, this brief respite provides a taste of what we all anticipate. This is a wonderful analogy to how parched and stale our spiritual lives can become and, at times, how deeply we need a fresh wind of the Spirit to awaken us that we may again taste the “living water” that refreshes and renews our spirits.
The study series, Holy Habits: Spirituality for the 21st Century, that Dr. Roxburgh is presenting on Wednesday evenings is a great place to start. During this series we are discussing some spiritual disciplines practiced through the centuries, and we will have an opportunity to engage in some exercises involving these disciplines. Regardless of where we are in our own spiritual journeys, learning and putting into practice these spiritual disciplines will bring a deeper understanding of God and our relationship to God and to others.
I hope you will join us on Wednesday evening for our mid-week gathering, and if you are able, to meet with us on Thursday evening at 5:30 p.m. for the Communion Service. There we spend time in song, prayer, meditation on Scripture and celebrating Holy Communion.
I look forward to seeing you then.