Here, the Spirit. Hear the Spirit.
What are you waiting for?
St. Paul's United Church of Christ
Rio Rancho, New Mexico


Showers renew the earth, and the soul.

Showers renew the earth, and the soul.

Rain can make us sing.

Rain can make us sing.

Rain can make us sad.

Rain can make us sad.

Sometimes it's hard to find our way.

Sometimes it's hard to find our way.

We need time to pause and reflect.

We need time to pause and reflect.
Come to a Gathering this Sunday,
August 7, at 9:00 am.

No matter the weather, it's always the season for renewal. We ponder questions, meditate, share and sing. Join us for a splash of adventure.

St. Paul's United Church of Christ

An Open and Affirming Congregation

2701 The American Road SE
Rio Rancho, NM 87124
505-898-7026

http://stpaulsuccrr.org/

Coming from the South on Coors Bypass, turn right just before SAMS Club, go to stop sign and turn left onto Cottonwood Rd. At the intersection with Alameda Blvd, continue straight to the first left (a short block). Turn left on American Rd and turn right at St. Paul's United Church of Christ driveway. (across from MB Transmissions)

Coming from the East or Coors Blvd, take Alameda Blvd west to the traffic light at Cottonwood Rd. (Charter Bank on NW corner). Turn right on Cottonwood for 1 short block to the first left turn. Turn left on American Rd and turn right at St. Paul's United Church of Christ driveway.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Metaphorically Blogging

Back in January, St. Paul's adopted the motto: Jesus Guided, Intentionally Inclusive, Peace Seeking, Justice Committed. The images I selected this month promote the notion of "guided." It is a concept not hard to illustrate. But what does it mean to be Jesus guided?

Two more images came to mind: a lighthouse and a service dog. My mom grew up on the coast of the North Sea and I inherited her affinity for lighthouses. They stand as faithful sentinels alerting nearby ships of dangerous, rocky shorelines, and they can point the way to safe harbors. The Jesus who guides us, with the Spirit's flame as beacon, may likewise send out a steady message for us to follow.

On the other hand, or paw, a service dog is right there in the trenches with you. I have made the happy, tail-wagging acquaintance of the service dog of my friend Lorie. One day this dog sensed Lorie's impending diabetic crisis and brought her a bag of medicine, nudging her back into enough of a wakeful state for her to inject the insulin. Lorie is alive today because she was guided by her dog to take action just in time. In this version of "Jesus guided" the Spirit is as close as the breath on our lips. Attentive, ready to respond to shifting circumstances. Not to mention those wet doggie kisses... The holy kiss of a canine companion. (Yuck)

Are these competing models of guiding -- one, stately and secure, a landmark you can count on -- verses one more dynamic, in your face, proactive? No deciding is necessary. "Jesus guided" is bigger than any two, or four, or a fleet of metaphors. Bigger than a pet store's inventory of squeeze toys to delight a work hard, play hard service dog.

Sandra Chapin

Friday, April 1, 2011

Great Expectations

When you hear the word "open", what images comes to mind? What feelings does it evoke? Sure, it depends on how the word is used. Consider opening the mailbox and opening a letter from someone special -- acts filled with anticipation. The opening move of a chess game is the start of the enjoyable challenge ahead.

In February St. Paul's UCC voted to become "Open and Affirming", and we expect great things as a result -- meeting new people who have felt closed off from Christian community because they were labeled as different. The word "open" is inviting. We like being around folks who are open to new ideas. We flock to businesses that advertise "Grand Opening".

And what do we say when we hand someone a wrapped present: Open it! We want to share in that sense of anticipation as the bow is pulled off and tissue paper floats to the floor. We want to share in that moment of discovery as we watch the face of a friend light up when the treasure is revealed.

Recall the wonder of the open tomb and burial wrappings on the ground, the joy of Jesus' friends when they discovered something new is happening. What started then is what continues to start as people become changed by the life-affirming message of God's love. There is a strong sense of anticipation in following Jesus, then and now. He would open the scriptures to new meanings. He would open the eyes of those whose vision had dimmed.

This Sunday morning there will be followers of Jesus gathering at St. Paul's, open to experience a connection to the Spirit and to one another, anticipating discoveries and challenges and all that comes with being fully human. The Spirit who moves among and within us makes Sunday morning a "Grand Opening!"

Sandra Chapin