This week the adult choir will sing O Lord, How Can We Know Thee by Ron Nelson, as we explore the familiar verses from Micah 6:8: “What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” during worship. The choir is also singing Blessed Are the Pure in Heart by British composer Walford Davies. Diane Kingsbury is our guest organist this week. She will offer the opening and closing voluntaries featuring music by George Frideric Handel.
I had the great joy and privilege of sharing a blessing at the local Charlottesville Women’s March alongside some of my interfaith colleagues in the city. I shared an adaptation from the beatitudes written by Rev. Emily Scott of St. Lydia’s in New York City.
-Blessed are the poor.
-Blessed are the meek.
-Blessed are the refugees.
-Blessed are the immigrants.
-Blessed are the compassionate.
-Blessed are the uninsured.
-Blessed are those with preexisting conditions.
-Blessed are the pure in heart.
-Blessed are the activists.
-Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.
-Blessed are the persecuted.
-Blessed are those who have suffered oppression.
-Blessed are those who speak the truth.
-Blessed are those who seek liberation.
-Blessed are those who cry, “Black Lives Matter.”
-Blessed are those who are Black and blessed are their bodies.
-Blessed are those who are indigenous and blessed are their bodies.
-Blessed are those who are differently abled, and blessed are their bodies.
-Blessed are those who are trans and blessed are their bodies.
-Blessed are those who are women and blessed are their bodies.
-Blessed are those who are LGBTQ and blessed are their bodies.
-Blessed are those who are Queer and blessed are their bodies.
-Blessed are those who are Muslim, and blessed are their bodies.
-Blessed are those who live below the poverty line.
-Blessed are those who work two jobs.
-Blessed are the merciful.
-Blessed are the peacemakers.
-Matthew 5:1-11, adapted
I have been meditating on the beatitudes as they come to us in the lectionary this Sunday, but also because I believe we are called to be people of blessing, and yet I struggle with what that looks like day to day. I find headlines and editorials to be mostly condemning, and yes, we must call out injustice, but what about the act of blessing? What does that mean and how do we practice it as a community?
As I continue to reflect one thing is clear and that is we must also allow ourselves to be blessed. When I read the beatitudes, some of them make sense; “Blessed are the pure in heart.” That seems like a blessing I can invite. But, “Blessed are those who mourn,” I don’t generally welcome sorrow and grief in my life. Embracing the fullness of humanity is somehow intertwined with receiving the blessings of God, which of course is God’s presence with us.
So let’s start there, to receive fully God’s presence, in all that unfolds in our lives. Then perhaps we can be blessings to those around us by being present to them and in our world.
Sharing meals is a central part of our university ministry and community and an easy and fun way for more WPC members to engage the students directly! We need volunteers to provide a simple brunch for 6-10 students after worship on Sunday and a dinner for 10-12 people on Tuesday night. Sunday is casual and easy with coffee/tea (already at Common Grounds) and an assortments of Bodo’s egg bagel sandwiches, regular bagels and cream cheese. Tuesday’s we look for one main dish and a simple side. Any kind of slow cooker recipe is always a hit, a pasta dish, or a large salad with protein options are all great. And for Tuesday night meal providers, you enjoy a more formal time with the students including weekly check ins and a chance to share more about yourself. If you have questions, email . Otherwise, click and signup!
Sunday Mornings: http://www.signupgenius.com/go/20f0f45aaa62dabfd0-sunday1
For over a decade, Westminster has been one of the leading participants in the Presbyterian Coffee Project, one of several faith-based partnerships with the Equal Exchange worker-owned cooperative. Coffee, tea, and cocoa served at Westminster, both for fellowship events and to our PACEM guests, is purchased through the program which supports smallholders and women-owned businesses throughout the developing world. Organic and sustainable farming as well as fair trading practices are part of Equal Exchange’s commitment.
We also maintain a monthly ordering club for interested individuals. Participants need not be members of Westminster; friends of the congregation are welcome to participate. For more information, or simply to place an order, please contact Winston Barham at barhawk at gmail dot com. Please spread the word! All items purchased through the project contribute to the PCUSA’s Small Farmer Fund.
Hosting the PACEM men’s homeless shelter is a highlight of our church year!
We look forward to your involvement and support of this ministry; it will touch many lives — including your own. Sign ups are underway at http://tinyurl.com/PACEM2017
You can also sign up in person in Fellowship Hall after worship services.
We are still looking for people to serve as Evening Hosts, Overnight Volunteers, folks who can help with break-down, and volunteers with large vehicles to transport linens. Full descriptions of the roles are on the web at the site above. Whatever role you choose, you will be supported by a WPC “In Charge Volunteer” as well as the PACEM staff.
We also appreciate financial contributions that will be used to purchase meal cards and sundries for guests. Checks can be sent to the church office with PACEM in the memo line.
Many thanks for all your contributions to this ministry of comfort and presence to our homeless neighbors!
Fran S., PACEM Committee Chair