Worship was held Sunday, March 19, 2023, at Ray Of Hope Church @ 10:30 a.m. in person and interactively on the Internet using Skype as we celebrated the fourth Sunday of Lent, Laetare - Joy - Rose Sunday and the third Sunday of Women's History Month. Download the Order of Worship with weekly announcements: RIGHT CLICK HERE. View the recording of the Facebook Live video recording: RIGHT CLICK HERE.
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There are three points to start with. 1) We come to worship to pray. Everyone is an equal and active partner in every aspect of the worship event. Worship is not a spectator's event to hear good music and a good message. The definition of the word liturgy is the prayer-work of the people. The people lead, serve, organize, and facilitate every aspect of our time together.
2) We are celebrating the third Sunday of Women's History. We looked at the Government's Women's History website: (https://womenshistorymonth.gov/ ) We discussed the magazine: "Women's History, National Women's History Alliance | 2023." (https://nationalwomenshistoryalliance.org/ ) (download the Women's History magazine here: (https://nationalwomenshistoryalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/NWHA-Magazine-2023b.pdf ) Veronica Floyd looked up "Julia" and "Martha" in a book titled The Top 100 Women of the Bible. In this recording, Veronica summarizes both entries. Julia is the name of Veronica's grandmother. Martha is the name of one of our Elmira Chapel Foundresses: Martha Cummings. We paid tribute to both women. Lisa Frost noted the wealth of information on the National Women's Alliance website. The website featured an article on Anne Hutchinson (née Marbury July 1591 - August 1643) a controversial religious reformer during the Puritan period of U.S. records. Lisa referred to the Wikipedia site on Anne Hutchinson: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anne_Hutchinson . The theological discussions from this period are known as the Antinomian Controversy.
3) From the readings today, we discussed the doctrine that all people have equal access to God's spiritual wisdom. We discussed this theme through the readings of the day. In the first reading we talked about the love of David and Jonathan in the Bible and how important that was for David to become King of Israel. The psalm is 23 and is rendered in the first person in this version, making it a personal prayer. The second reading shows us the availability of God's wisdom metaphorically represented as light. The Gospel presents Jesus explaining he came to the world to spiritually bring God's wisdom to anyone who will receive it. His conflict with the clergy of his day is furthered by his healing of the man born blind. The clergy of his day is portrayed as overly concerned with certification and rules of religion to even see the glory of God before them.
***WOKE*** Conservatives have taken over the expression "woke" popularized by African-American young men. African-Americans used the word to mean staying awake and alert, to have been "woke" up and paying attention to the cultural and religious movements of the past, present, and potential futures. The Ray Of Hope Church Statement of Purpose calls us to stay "woke" at all times, paying attention to the world of religion, politics, and society.
We did not start a new kind of Christianity. In fact, Ray Of Hope Church teaches the same Christian faith of ancient ecumenical consensus. St. Vincent of Lerins, a fifth-century monk and theologian, described it as "what has been believed always, everywhere, and by all."
To our LGBTQSIA2ss+++ friends out there, we like to say: We are the church made by you, and for you, because we ARE YOU! You are as welcome here as Christ Jesus, Himself. Today you will find persons of every sexual orientation and every gender expression in our congregation and in our leadership.
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