If you are participating in the musical this summer, July 10-16, you may want to consider auditioning for solo singing and/or speaking parts. Please contact Megan Sharp, Director of Fine Arts to schedule a time to meet. No preparation is necessary for the audition. One song will be taught, and we will read a scene. Everyone who participates in the musical has an opportunity to perform, the auditions are for those who are interested in solo speaking or singing parts.
This Sunday a vocal quartet will sing two anthems during the service. The first, by Edward Elgar, is a setting of “As Torrents in Summer,” with a text by Samuel Longfellow. This song is probably the best music of a lengthy cantata entitled King Olaf (1896), largely neglected since the turn of the twentieth century. The second anthem, “Exsultate justi” by Lodovico Viadana, dates from three centuries earlier. Viadana was a pioneer in the use of figured bass, in which the accompaniment is notated in shorthand, with numbers indicating the correct harmonies. Viadana’s Cento concerti con il basso continuo (1602) was the first publication to employ the new system. Exsultate justi dates from a few years later (1605).
This Sunday at 10:00 am we will celebrate Pentecost-the birthday of the church, during our annual worship service in the courtyard. As a sign of the Holy Spirit moving among us, you are encouraged to wear flame colors-red, orange and yellow. Please feel free to dress casually, as this is an informal service and picnic.
Following worship, please plan to stay for food and fellowship. The Fellowship Division will provide the main course of barbecue and vegetarian burgers, as well as cold drinks and cake. Congregation members are asked to pitch in potluck-style with side dishes, salads, bread, cheese, and fruit or dessert. Games, activities, and a bounce house for young and old will be on hand to add to the festivities as we celebrate Pentecost Sunday!
This Sunday, we continue our Easter celebration and turn to the Gospel of John, which gives us a different account of Jesus’ last words and time with the disciples before his arrest. Jesus tells his disciples that he will not leave them abandoned, that God’s love will abide. Not only that but the person of the Holy Spirit will be with them.
As we recognize UVA graduation weekend, an event felt every year throughout our community (and don’t forget that we have just ONE SERVICE AT 8:30 because of this momentous celebration), we will explore how this promise plays out in real life transitions. Together in worship, we also will seek the Spirit’s guidance in wisdom regarding our own community and time.
“This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees her nor knows her. You know her, because she abides with you, and she will be in you.”
My favorite among Paul’s letters was sent to the church at Philippi. Paul gives thanks for them and their gift to him in prison, and asserts his well-being and bond with them in Christ. His emphases are ‘joy’ and ‘grace.’
Joy?—given his imprisonment and an undercurrent of opposition from fellow Christians? He rejoices in “the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus”, and feels assured of God’s love, through faith in the risen Christ. Paul’s greeting and benediction commend grace: God’s love undeserved and unreserved, both received and extended. He is not basking in self-assured spiritual achievement; he is on a faith-journey that calls for perseverance:
…One thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and straining forward
to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward
call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13b-14
Like Paul and the Philippians, we are a post-Resurrection people. We claim to serve a risen Christ, yet admit how far short we fall from Christ-like living.
Lent is a pause in our faith-journey, to remember Jesus’ self-giving love and our own resentments and failures to love, to seek anew “the power of his resurrection” into new life.
Every Lent, I feel this challenge. How can I “press on” toward becoming a more faithful image of Jesus, a more authentic human being? Can I find ways in my church and community to extend respect and justice to the marginalized? For grace is also a collective offer, not just God’s private gift.
Do we recognize the opportunities for grace?
These days we witness acts of grace: a Jewish household hosts a Muslim refugee family; a church offers sanctuary to undocumented immigrants; demonstrators support Dakota Indians’ rights. Several years ago, a Palestinian boy of 13 was mortally wounded by Israeli soldiers. His family decided to donate Ahmed’s organs to Israeli children who needed them. “We want to send a message of peace to Israeli society”, the father said.
Two societies did not heed an act of grace. Often, we do not. Lent calls us to “press on,” “enabled by, and offering, Christ’s undeserved, unreserved love.
~ David Warren