Wednesday, August 22, 2012

John the Baptist

This past Sunday we spent time learning about another ancestor of our faith: John the Baptist!  John served in the role of a prophet for much of his life, teaching and preaching to others of who Jesus was and encouraging them to follow Jesus.  The life of a prophet is not always easy.  There were many people who didn't like what John had to say...especially when he spoke out against the King who had married his brother's wife while his brother was still alive.  And so, in the end, John ended up being beheaded by the King.

Thankfully for us, we don't often face persecution in quite the same way as John did living in the United States.  But, being a disciple of Jesus is not always an easy task.  God calls us to follow Jesus in ways that are not always easy in the midst of the daily pressures of school, work and life in general.  How God calls us to live is not always the way the world pushes us to live, and that can cause some people to not like us very much.  Thankfully, we have a God who will never abandon us and ensures us that we have the tools we need to fulfill our calling!  After making some crayon rubbings of things around the church that represent the "rough" job of being a prophet while still knowing that God is with us, we played a few rounds of Gorgon!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The End of Summer Vacation

Summer is coming to an end (and has already ended for some of our students).  BUT, on the plus side, that means Sunday nights for FUSION Gathering are back!

We had a great annual end-of-the-summer float down the James River on Saturday:

Then we met up on Sunday night for our first FUSION Gathering of the fall.  We had a delicious dinner and tried our hand at playing handbells before getting into our lesson for the week.  We are starting a series called "Ancestors" where we will take a look at various people and groups of people in the Bible who are the ancestors of our faith.  This Sunday we began with Mary, the mother of Jesus.  What a faithful servant she was.  God called her to be the mother of Jesus when she was only a teenager, and despite her fears and what this would do to her reputation, she accepted willingly.  Together we talked about how crazy and interesting our family trees can be.  Sometimes we have extra branches here and there from broken relationships.  Sometimes there are severed ties with certain family members.  Sometimes we have family members who are added in either from new marriages or adoption.  For most of us, when we draw our family tree, it doesn't always look quite perfect or balanced on every side.

Can you imagine the conversations Mary and Joseph must have had to have with Jesus when he was a kid.  How do you explain to a little boy that his dad is God, creator of everything?!?  Thankfully, though, Mary and Joseph had not only some of their blood relatives, but also others in the faith that helped them throughout their lives and in raising their children (yes, Jesus had other siblings...well, I guess you could call them half-siblings).  So, if you were to make another family tree...this time a "Faith Family Tree", who would be included?  It probably includes more than just your blood relatives.  We spent time making our own Faith Family Trees on Sunday night, and I challenge you to do the same this week.  For the roots of the tree, write in those people who root, support and connect you to faith.  For the trunk of the tree, write the names of the people who are ancestors of the faith for you...those who help ground and strengthen your faith.  For the branches of the tree, write in those who stretch you toward heaven.  For the leaves of the tree, write in those who receive light from the sun/Son and help nourish your faith.  And when you are done creating your faith family tree, choose someone on that tree to contact this week and thank for everything they have done and continue to do to make you who you are today.  I know it will mean a lot to that person, and i am sure it will mean a lot to you as well!  Feel free to comment on this post with your response to how it went.  See you next week!