First Congregational Church
164 Deer Hill Ave.
Danbury, CT 06810
Phone:(203) 744-6177

News

After Death: Getting into Heaven

Jesus has already told us in many different ways what awaits us after a life lived in love and service.

Rev. Pat Kriss(Posted October 7, 2021)

“I am prepared to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter.” — Winston Churchill

"One never knows the ending. One has to die to know exactly what happens after death. Although Catholics have their hopes." — Alfred Hitchcock

It is perhaps the one great question that all of us have. What happens when we die?

Church Services on Sunday

In-Person Service begins at 10 a.m. Please observe these social distancing guidelines when you worship with us.

Watch us on Facebook: We livestream our services to Facebook. You may view them live or on demand at www.Facebook.com/DanburyChurch/videos.

The problem is that there are many, many theories as to what happens in that moment, but unfortunately no one is permitted to return from an in-depth field investigation and give us living folks the real scoop. There are, however, people who claim to have left this plane of existence, briefly seen “the other side,” and then returned, often reluctantly, to their lives. We’ll look at some of these stories, too.

Do You ‘Earn’ Eternal Life?

People of faith of every possible belief have their own theories of what happens after death, as do people who deny the existence of a deity. In this week’s Gospel Jesus is confronted by a wealthy young ruler who wants to know what he must do in order to earn eternal life. The answer Jesus gives him shakes this young man to his core.

We too may have the same questions. Are there conditions we need to meet to “earn” eternity? Or is this just more of the human desire to purchase an “insurance policy to heaven” that so many TV preachers pair along with their prosperity gospels?

Beyond the Veil

The one thing we all know is, unlike everything else, money can’t make death go away. Money cannot purchase anyone eternal life. The grave is the same size for the billionaire and the pauper, and just as unavoidable. But Jesus has already told us in many different ways what awaits us after a life lived in love and service.

Join us this Sunday as we try to see beyond the veil of this life into the next, and listen to what Jesus has to say about one of the more controversial passages in Scripture.

Be the Greatest

Being the “greatest” means flooding the hearts of others with God’s light.

Rev. Pat Kriss(Posted October 14, 2021)

Quick now, without taking time to ponder, think of a person who has made a big, positive difference in your life.

Chances are the person you’re envisioning is someone who never in a hundred years would have felt a need to “blow their own horn.” As someone said to me today, “the really wonderful people in our lives are the ones who didn’t know how wonderful they are.”

Church Services on Sunday

In-Person Service begins at 10 a.m. Please observe these social distancing guidelines when you worship with us.

Watch us on Facebook: We livestream our services to Facebook. You may view them live or on demand at www.Facebook.com/DanburyChurch/videos.

Position Yourself for Greatness

That’s a radical difference from the way that two of the apostles – James and John, sons of Zebedee, are talking in this Sunday’s Gospel. They have the gall to ask Jesus to make sure that he places them in his new kingdom in the seats of honor, to his left and right.  Now, this scene is wrong on so many levels.

First is their misunderstanding of who Jesus is and why he has called them as disciples. THEY think he is going to be the new political Messiah, the one who overpowers the Roman Empire and restores might to Israel. That’s why they think that in the future James and John can get a “slice of the power pie” when Jesus rules, and be able to get the attention they crave to lord it over other people.

The Meaning of True Discipleship

Of course, Jesus has arrived not as a politician but as a spiritual messiah. He is not in the business of power brokering. Second, these two apostles completely miss the point of what it means call themselves disciples of Jesus. He tells them pointedly, “whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all.  For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many."

It's not at all about being top dog. It’s the task of being that unassuming person who helps another out of the goodness of their heart, without thought of compensation. Being “the GREATEST” is not about having our name up in lights. Being the “greatest” means flooding the hearts of others with God’s light – the only one who decides who the greatest truly are. The rest of Sunday’s readings help remind us of who God truly is.

We’ll spend some time looking at some extraordinary lives that have made a profound difference without any fanfare, or the desire for it.

First Steps to Recovery

We quietly harbor something that we need to show to God and ask God to help us overcome.

Rev Pat Kriss(Posted October 20, 2021)

“Now for most of us “recovery” is something that other people have to deal with.”
-- Reverend Bob Lentz, Pastor, Fellowship Community Church, South Carolina

Here’s my question for you this week. What DO YOU need to recover from in your life?

It may be, like Pastor Bob suggests above, that you think that recovery is for other people. People with big problems like drinking or alcoholism or drugs. To tell you the truth, it’s likely that most of us reading this have had these addictions touch our lives, if not by our own behavior than from other people.

Church Services on Sunday

In-Person Service begins at 10 a.m. Please observe these social distancing guidelines when you worship with us.

Watch us on Facebook: We livestream our services to Facebook. You may view them live or on demand at www.Facebook.com/DanburyChurch/videos.

The Things We Don’t Talk About

I’d like to point out to you, however, that most of us are quietly harboring something that we need to show to God and ask God to help us overcome. The things we don’t often talk about are shadows in our lives that have left a long-lasting wound, a scar inside us. They can be many things: abuse or betrayal by someone we love; the devastation of losing a loved one; a dream that was dashed by others; being on the receiving end for prejudice because of race, age, disability, gender or anything else; being dealt an injustice without recompense.

These kinds of buried scars can lead to one thing: The destruction of trust in others, even in God. And that leads to the collapse of hope for change.

The Blind Man’s Burden

This Sunday, however, we can learn a thing or two from Bartimaeus, the blind man in the Gospel. Jesus encounters Blind Bartimaeus at the city gates of Jericho, where he has sat, begging on a pile of rags, for most of his life. We don’t know if he’s been blind from birth, but it’s possible.

People passing him by barely notice him, because like “a good little beggar,” he keeps quiet. They do not chase him away because when they do drop him a coin, it makes them feel superior.

But one day Bartimaeus hears that Jesus is coming his way through the gates, and he realizes it’s his only chance to be healed. He starts a ruckus calling out to Jesus. The crowds try to shush him. But the blind man persists. When Jesus notices him from a distance, he calls to Bartimaeus to come to him.

Our Lesson from the Blind Man

Now, here’s the important thing to note. Jesus doesn’t walk over TO him. He makes Bartimaeus stand and follow Jesus’ voice despite his sightlessness. Can Bartimaeus muster enough trust for that first step in the darkness?

The blind man casts off his rags and follows the sound. By the time he reaches Jesus, his sight is restored. For the rest of us the lesson is the same. If we open our mouths and call out to Jesus, he will hear us. But WE must take the first steps in our own recovery. I’m inviting you to come on Sunday and hear the rest of the stories and how they can impact our healing.

Information

First Congregational Church
164 Deer Hill Ave.
Danbury, CT 06810
Est. 1696

Phone: (203) 744-6177
Email: office@danburychurch.org​

Office Hours:
Monday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Tuesday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Wednesday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Thursday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Friday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Thrift Shop Hours:
Saturday 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Sunday Worship:
Sunday   10:00 a.m.–11 a.m.

 

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