(Posted May 20, 2017)
“I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live.” – Jesus at the Last Supper
It’s the season of graduations and of confirmations, and the start of the season of weddings. No matter the occasion, May is a time of celebration of things coming to an end, but also of beginnings. Hidden behind those beginnings is an anxious question: NOW What??
“It used to be that I was a student. And I got being a student down fairly well, and my parents did as well. But now? What do I do now? How do I get a job? How do I live like an adult?”
“It used to be that I was a kid in Church. My parents took me. The Church School helped me to know about Jesus. But now I’m a teen. And now I am confirmed, an adult in the eyes of my church. But I have all these questions, all these doubts. How do I live like a Christian, if I know what that means?”
“It used to be that I had my life all planned out. A job. A place to live. A bunch of friends. But then I fell in love and gave a part of myself to a wonderful person. We’re getting married. How will I do a good job of being married? What will our future together hold? NOW What??”
The bottom line is, we humans are not very good living with change, even when that change may very well bring good things. Jesus acknowledged this on the night of the Last Supper, when he knew he had to give up his life in order for us to live eternally. Jesus knew that his disciples were used to having things just as they had been, with him in sight to give them guidance, to tell them it would be all right. But the time had come for the disciples to stop living like followers and start acting like a Church. Church, by definition is “a body of believers.” On the occasion of this Sunday’ Gospel, Jesus tells the apostles that it’s time to stop being followers and to start being believers. Live what you have been taught. Know that, even without a formal place of worship, you are one body. Believe that, even though Jesus is not visible, he will send the Holy Spirit to bring you wisdom, and a path into a very bright future. Above all, do not give up. You are not orphans, but you are graduating to a new understanding of who you are.
Quite candidly, these words are just as vital for the church today as it was yesterday. We need to act like believers, believing that God WILL forge a path for our futures even though we might not see it at the moment. Now is not the time for panic, but for coming together for good. – Pastor Pat Kriss
(Posted April 6, 2017)
There’s something promising about Palm Sunday that’s unlike other Sundays. First of all, when you come to church it almost smells like Spring. The scent of freshly harvested palms lends a “green-ness” to the air. Most of the people around us have shed the dark clothes of winter, and are almost dressed for Easter. Even the music may have a “Hosanna” or two thrown in for good measure. It’s almost, but not quite, Easter. But what Palm Sunday does is to boost our hope.
I always enjoy religious leaders of any denomination who aren’t afraid to “get with the times.” This morning it was Pope Francis who took to Twitter to remind us that “Hope helps believers to be open to the surprises God has in store for us.”
Even though it was 2,000 years ago, the Palm Sunday Parade into Jerusalem should speak to us about hope in a way that should be familiar to our current state of affairs in this country. Not everyone hopes in the same way. Perhaps the first thing we should ask ourselves Is what are we hoping for?
Some of that crowd that gathered at the Gates of the city were hoping for a great leader, a War Horse, someone who would crush the powers of Empire and make the streets run with blood. Eliminate the enemy. What they got instead was a rabbi astride a donkey’s colt who had brought healing to the towns around Jerusalem. Other people in the crowd, the ones who had followed Jesus this far, got a man who they hoped would help cleanse the evil parts of Jerusalem and bring the city peace. But even in the wake of Jesus passing by on his donkey, I am sure that some of the children in the crowd were not waving their palms in salute, but using them as make-believe swords, and battling one another – just as our kids do today. It takes more than one exposure to God’s love to convert one’s heart to peace. And just as involved in the demonstration, there were people lurking in that crowd that were hoping, too – hoping that Jesus would make just one political mistake so they could capture him, destroy him, and take back from him the hope he brought to town so that THEY could once again become the power brokers of that wonderful thing – hope, and dangle it before the people to control them.
I guess the advice for Palm Sunday is not be careful what you pray for, but be careful what you hope for. Be aware that the difference between a Good Friday Morning and an Easter Morning lies in our own commitment to the message of Christ, to live it even in the face of opposition to the powers that be.
See you Sunday at 10 AM. ---- Pastor Pat Kriss
(Posted April 8, 2017)
A special thanks not only to Jean Harmon for her lovely solo during communion this past Sunday, but also to the sanctuary choir for their special music.
Our church school children will practice the bells this Sunday. They will be performing at the Easter Service. Please try and have them at church this Sunday for their final rehearsal. Thanks.
The Children’s Community Chorus has a concert on Saturday, May 6th, at 1 p.m. in our sanctuary. Please plan to support this special chorus.
Joy and Peace through music!
First Congregational Church
164 Deer Hill Ave.
Danbury, CT 06810
Phone: (203) 744-6177
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:
Friday 9:30 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Saturday 9:30 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Sunday 10 a.m.–11 a.m.