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Happy June, friends, and welcome to Common Grace!
As we move into the new month, now is as good a time as any to remind you that at Common Grace, all are welcome to come as they are! We join our hearts and energy with the ongoing work for liberation, equity, and fully inclusion of all those in the LGBTQ community.
Summer is a fun time in NextGen Ministries! Those who just completed 4th and 5th Grades can register for SOS here – but the deadline is fast approaching! Students who’ve just completed kindergarten through fifth grade can register for VBS here. Folks who want to volunteer at VBS or in Sunday morning small groups can email email@example.com.
As Pastor Kyle prepares to transition to a new church, we’re having a celebration picnic on Sunday evening, June 11. Let us know you’re coming here. Also, Pastor Kyle will be with us at Common Grace each week through June 18. Make sure to say goodbye soon! If you’d like to offer a card or gift, please feel free to bring it one of these events or drop it off in the church office.
It’s not too late to help us PAVE THE WAY FOR THE FUTURE? Join us in helping to complete our parking lot project. Details here.
We have lots of volunteer opportunities at CG! To serve our children this summer, email Stacy (firstname.lastname@example.org). To serve our tech team, email Chandler (email@example.com). For other opportunities, email Charlene (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Pastor Kyle (email@example.com).
Giving: You can give to Common Grace’s ongoing mission right now by clicking here!
From the sermon:
Scripture Text: Exodus 2:11-22
Today we’re in week two of a brief series called Found: Following God into an Unknown Future. We’re looking at a few excerpts from the life and story of Moses as we move into the summer and into our pastoral transition. As I’ve been preparing for this series, I kept coming back to some fundamental truths that we see in Moses’ life that will help guide us through celebration, grief, uncertainty, and into the future.
As I was writing this sermon, I couldn’t help but think that we could spend weeks on this topic. Indeed, many people spend years in personal work, or in relationship with a professional, working on dismantling and deconstructing the “false selves” that we harbor. Know that this is an introductory conversation on that work. And know that this is something that is deeply, deeply tied to our faith; it’s what God calls us to, guides us through, and invites us to say yes to. Our hope and focus for this day is about how this work helps guide us into the unknown — and most especially the unknown of the future that we move into in the near future.
For this message, I’ve leaned a lot on a chapter from Ruth Haley Barton’s Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership. It’s a great guide through Moses’ life for any leader or any pilgrim of faith. In the book, she calls this moment the place of Moses’ conversion.
Here’s a nugget that is worth keeping in mind today, from Barton: “Some of us will wear ourselves out trying to change ourselves before we realize that it is not about fixing; it is about letting go – letting go of old patterns that no longer serve us.” Remember that one of the most powerful tools that we have on this journey is to look, with God, at what is not real, to name it as such, and to simply allow it to dissipate (or lose it’s power over us) in the light of the truth of God. Sometimes our proclivity and the felt necessity to ‘fix’ things can actually get in the way of our liberation.
The other source I’ve used extensively in this message is Richard Rohr. I’ve specifically pulled some thoughts from a weeklong exploration of the True and False Self in his Center for Action and Contemplation’s Daily Meditations. By the way – I would absolutely recommend you sign up to get them in your email each day! Do so here.
Two helpful thoughts about this work from Father Richard Rohr:
Your soul is who you are in God and who God is in you. We do not “make” or “create” our souls. We only awaken them, allow them, and live out of their deepest messages. Normally, we need to unlearn a lot of false messages—given by family, religion, and culture—in order to get back to that foundational life which is “hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3). Yes, transformation is often more about unlearning than learning, which is why the religious traditions call it “conversion” or “repentance.”
“Please understand that your false self is not bad or inherently deceitful. Your false self is actually quite good and necessary as far as it goes. It just does not go far enough, and it often poses and thus substitutes for the real thing. That is its only problem, and that is why we call it “false.” The false self is bogus more than bad; it pretends to be more than it is. Various false selves (temporary costumes) are necessary to get us all started, but they show their limitations when they stay around too long.”
Questions for Reflection and Conversation:
- What scripture, phrase, or idea is capturing your attention?
- What patterns have you released in your past to experience more abundant life?
- How might God be calling you to serve in this season of life together at Common Grace?
The full week of Father Richard Rohr’s reflections can be found here.
Ruth Haley Barton’s book can be purchased here. Or, if you ask nicely, you can borrow one of my copies 🙂