Writing On Your Hearts

August 9, 2017 in Uncategorized

Please welcome our newest members, Brandon Weiss (left) and Katie Grams. They are new to Charlotte from Atlanta and are excited to join in the work of Caldwell church. Please seek them out Sunday in worship or at the reception.

Please welcome our newest members, Brandon Barber (left) and Katie Grams. They are new to Charlotte from Atlanta and are excited to join in the work of Caldwell church. Please seek them out Sunday in worship or at the reception.

Dear Caldwell,

As we move from Sunday to Sunday this week, Intern Amy Speas has chosen a scripture for this Sunday that lifts up one of the Bible’s more intriguing images. Last Sunday, we considered the covenant offer God makes to us in Communion. This week, Jeremiah describes that covenant with God this way.

“This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”  Jeremiah 31:33

What does it mean to have God’s promise written on our hearts? Is that a burden or a gift? Is it heavy or, as Christ said, it this “burden” light?

Personally, I am struck by the strong sense of belonging God offers through the prophet, “I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” That’s a promise that whatever burdens I carry from time to time, I never do so alone, nor am I unequipped by God for the task.

What do you think? Come Sunday and hear what Amy has to say about all of that in her farewell sermon.

In Christ,

John

Go Up Into the Gaps

August 1, 2017 in Uncategorized

Dear Caldwell,

Last Sunday we heard the voices of our youth and one adult member of our Heifer Ranch mission trip reflect on what they learned about poverty amidst God’s abundance – and how they will live differently based on what they learned.

As we travel from Sunday to Sunday this week, we will stay with the theme of abundance as it is expressed in two scriptures we will unpack Sunday – Isaiah 55:1-5 and Matthew 14:13-21. Both speak of a God who is constantly calling, “Come, come …”, the same God who can provide more than we need through Christ, as happened one day with two fish and five loaves.

Picking back up on last Sunday, I asked Ann Dorsett to share the portion of her reflection in which she quoted the spiritual writer Thomas Merton. Coincidentally or not, she chose a passage that refers to how we can often find God in the “gaps.”

We’ve been thinking about gaps a lot here since last Easter’s sermon on what it means to be “people of the gap.” This is shaping our consideration of how the abundance of this congregation’s spiritual gifts and abilities can fill the world’s gaps in Christ’s name. In fact, that dialogue will be part of what we gather around at the final Summer Nights at Caldwell, Aug. 10.

Here is the full quote from Ann’s notes – worth the read.

Thomas Merton wrote, “there is always a temptation to diddle around in the contemplative life, making itsy-bitsy statues.” There is always an enormous temptation in all of life to diddle around making itsy-bitsy friends and meals and journeys for itsy-bitsy years on end. It is so self-conscious, so apparently moral, simply to step aside from the gaps where the creeks and winds pour down, saying, I never merited this grace, quite rightly, and then to sulk along the rest of your days on the edge of rage. I won’t have it. The world is wilder than that in all directions, more dangerous and bitter, more extravagant and bright. We are making hay when we should be making whoopee; we are raising tomatoes when we should be raising Cain, or Lazarus.

Ezekiel excoriates false prophets as those who have “not gone up into the gaps.” The gaps are the thing. The gaps are the spirit’s one home, the altitudes and latitudes so dazzlingly spare and clean that the spirit can discover itself for the first time like a once-blind man unbound. The gaps are the clifts in the rock where you cower to see the back parts of God; they are the fissures between the mountains and cells the wind lances through, the icy narrowing fiords splitting the cliffs of mystery. Go up into the gaps. If you can find them; they shift and vanish too. Stalk the gaps. Squeak into a gap in the soil, turn and unlock – more than a maple – a universe. This is how you spend the afternoon, and tomorrow morning, and tomorrow afternoon. Spend the afternoon. You can’t take it with you.

We learned this morning that member Kathy Neal’s mother died last night, so please keep her in prayer. Stay tuned for details of a service or how to contact her.

In Christ,

John

 

 

Where Is The Kingdom of Heaven?

July 27, 2017 in Uncategorized

Dear Caldwell,

This is Intern Kristen again! This Sunday in worship, we will hear from some of our members who went on the mission trip to Heifer Ranch in Perryville, Arkansas. They will reflect on what Jesus says about what the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth in light of the experiences they had at Heifer. The mission trip was an eye opening experience, so I know that their reflections will be thought-provoking and inspiring.

Kalaura Jones offering a presentation at Freedom School.

Kalaura Jones offering a presentation at Freedom School.

I saw a small piece of the Kingdom of Heaven today. Kalaura, our youngest mission trip participant, spoke at the closing ceremony of Freedom Schools at Alexander Graham Middle School. She spoke beautifully about the history of Freedom Schools and about the positive impact it has had on countless people. Freedom Schools is a summer program that celebrates and empowers individuals through learning, and in doing so they help the world become a little more like the world as Jesus would have it. Many of you have supported the Freedom School we help with at St. John’s Baptist, which is for kids from the Enderly Park neighborhood through QC Family Tree.

Good job, Kalaura!

Today is my last day in the office, but I will return for Summer Nights at Caldwell on August 10th! We will have salad, cupcakes, activities, and reflection on where our gifts fill the worlds gaps. Hope to see you there!

KristenThank you so much, Caldwell, for a fantastic summer. I have learned so much about diversity, supportive community, and pure joy from you all. I am so thankful for each and every one of you and I hope that Caldwell continues to be the big-hearted and accepting community that this city needs.

Many thanks,

Kristen Roehrig