Our new Wholeness Group meets again tomorrow evening at the church, 6:30 PM. It is a group that is open to everyone. The book we are reading is Addiction & Grace by Gerald May, and it has tons of good stuff for our conversation. Here is one of my favorite few sentences from the first few chapters:
Grace is the most powerful force in the universe. It can transcend repression, addiction, and every other internal or external power that seeks to oppress the freedom of the human heart. Grace is where our hope lies.
Our wholeness group is not about fixing anyone. I don’t think any of us have any answers in the first place. Addiction itself is a disease/process that all human beings are afflicted with. Some of us are addicted to chemical substances, and others are addicted to work, family, gossip, computers, information, power, and so on. And so while the book will help us understand the processes behind our addictions, the hope is that we will discover more about grace – why it is such a gift and how it can help us in our struggle to be loved and deal with our addictions.
Gerald May describes sin as anything that gets in the way of us being able to fully love ourselves, one another, and God. I like that definition a lot. One of our key directions of our group is that we will explore that in deeper detail but also practice some ways of finding balance in our lives, balance in our relationships with God and one another.
Join us – it’s an open invitation. I will have some extra books on hand if you are joining us for the first time.
Holy Week is like the central week of the Christian year (next to Christmas). We worship in different ways, beginning with palm branches being waved in an ad hoc parade, reflecting on the final teaching of the prophet Jesus, sharing something a little bit like the Passover meal (or remembrance of), reflect on the deep darkness of the cross on Friday, and then celebrate new life breaking into our world on Easter morn. It’s a dizzying week. Some folks just go from palms to Easter, but that seems a little too easy when you recognize how Jesus got an up close picture of humanity’s own tendency towards cruelty and hate in those days in between. It wasn’t like the whole week was just an extended drum roll to the big reveal on Sunday morning. Jesus confronted the powers of domination and oppression of his day and seemed to lose, scattering his most trusted followers in defeat. And yet, at the last minute, Something Extraordinary Happened.
Maybe those different kinds of worship opportunities aren’t your thing. Maybe beer and conversation is. That’s why we’ll be hosting a special Holy Week Pub at Bryan Street Tavern on Tuesday evening, 7:30-9:30 PM, discussing whether or not Jesus knew he was going to be crucified. Did God want Jesus to be crucified? Did he have to die in such a way? Why did Jesus ask God in the hours before his death, “God, please take this cup from me”? Heavy questions. Was Jesus on a direct path of confrontation to the powers who were willing to crush him like they did to so many other rebels before? Or was this some divinely ordered, cosmic event? Or both? Or neither?
The conversation should be great. The cold beverages will be great. The pizza will be delicious. We even have free childcare at the church, so you will know your kids are having a good time while you are too. Register on our little Facebook event page to let us know you are coming.
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