“Rules for the Church to Live By”
Rev. Jeff Long-Middleton
Bradford Congregational Church-UCC
September 10, 2017
“Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
Pretty heavy stuff – loosed on earth, loosed in heaven. Do we even believe it? Let’s be honest. Most of the time the church seems a marginalized institution. There was a time when what the religious order proclaimed mattered. Now it is science that claims truth as its purview. And do you know of any church without its problems? I don’t. I have been at this for nearly forty years and served four churches. None of them was without sin. Do you know why?
Because the people were not without sin and although I am loath to admit it, neither was I!
I mention this because it is the first lesson I take from this passage in Matthew 18. Jesus talks about troubles among the faithful because there was trouble among the faithful. You don’t outline how to handle conflict if you never have any. Jesus knew of the need to speak of this from the very beginning of His ministry. Remember how often the disciples seemed clueless? Continue reading Sermon, September 10, 2017
This Sunday we welcome the Rev. Jeffrey Long-Middleton to our pulpit. From the Lectionary Gospel reading he will be leading us to think about what Jesus said and how we can apply His words as rules for a church to live by, always keeping in mind His assurance that “where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.”
The choir returns from its summer break to sing “Draw Us in the Spirit’s Tether” which is listed as this week’s theme hymn in the Lectionary list found in the September Epistle. Composed by Harold Friedell, this is a melodic and lovely reminder that “when humbly gathered in Thy name, two or three are met together, Thou art in the midst of them …”
The hymns we will all sing are familiar and meaningful to this message: The Church’s One Foundation, Love Divine All Loves Excelling (sung to the tune Hyfrydol), and Rise Up Oh (Men) of God (substituting Church for the word Men).
John Atwood’s pieces on the organ will be Pachelbel’s Toccata and Fugue in B flat Major and his Toccata in E minor , as well as Muzète by Dandrieu.
We hope you can join us!
“The Lord’s Prayer for God’s Revolution”
Rev. Dr. Michael Caldwell
Bradford Congregational Church
September 3, 2017
The Lord be with you…
Friends, when I thought about what to share with you in brief Communion sermon, it occurred to me to build on my reflections on the Lord’s Prayer with your children.
Here’s the nugget: The Lord’s Prayer is more than we think it is. I’m not exaggerating to say that it is Jesus’ prayer for God’s revolution. Continue reading Sermon, September 3, 2017
This Sunday Rev. Michael Caldwell returns to our pulpit and will serve Communion and will center us in on Matthew 6’s section concerning prayer and praying. We all, including our beloved children, know the words, yet are always in need of considering why they are so important for us.
Click on this UCC response to Hurricane Harvey and what you can do in terms of donations and any kits needed. The hard copy of this will be inserted into the Sept. 3rd worship bulletin. Our time of Joys and Concerns will include prayers for all those who were devastated, as well as all the First-Responders and Relief organizations.
The offertory this week, “Élévation” by René Vierne, is perfectly suited to transport us into a time of quiet contemplation of the prayer we have learned. The absolutely charming “Allegro” by João de Sousa Carvalho will bring a smile to our hearts!
Whoever you are and wherever you are on your spiritual journey, you are welcome here!
“Who/Whose Am I?”
Deacon Marcia Tomlinson
Bradford Congregational Church
Exodus 1:8 – 2:10
August 27, 2017
This morning we’ve heard the beginning of the Moses story. Wasn’t it fun to see the children act it out for us! … let’s recap what we once learned in Sunday School about Moses.
- He was born when his people were in bondage in Egypt. His mother put him in a basket to save him.
- An Egyptian princess adopted him and raised him as an Egyptian prince. When he grew up he killed an Egyptian beating a Hebrew slave.
- He fled the country but was considered an Egyptian by his language and stature. God instructed him through a burning bush to go back.
- He spoke to Pharaoh, “Let my people go.” He unleashed plagues one by one each time Pharaoh didn’t.
- He and his people were protected as the Angel of Death passed over Egypt. He led his people through the parted Sea. He led them to Sinai.
- He smashed their golden calf. God gave him the 10 Commandments. He led the people 40 years through the desert.
- God would not let him go into the Promised Land but did let him see it from the mountain top. Before his death he is said to have written down all the story of his people that we have in the first 5 books of the Bible.
Right from the beginning, we are reminded of his dual identity: Continue reading Sermon, August 27, 2017
On August 27, 2017 the congregation was swept up in the musical excitement created by this talented duo. This recording is of their final rehearsal of Hovhaness’ Prayer of Saint Gregory.
Click here to hear it.
Shown below is John making last minute revisions to his score. We are so very blessed to have such a musical talent in our midst!
The other pieces in the service were Peeters’ Meditation for the Prelude, Couperin’s Fugette on the Cromorne as Offertory, and Telemann’s La Grace as Postlude. Mr. Pauly played on the hymns and was especially appreciated for his trumpet intro on the final hymn, “God of Our Fathers.”
Filling the pulpit on August 27th is Deacon Marcia Tomlinson, who will lead us in examining the “Who are you” and “Whose are you” questions which face us all. She says, ‘Jesus asked his core disciples, “Who do THEY say I am,” and straight away followed up with the very personal, “Who do YOU say I am?’ Through this week’s Lectionary* scripture readings we’ll be exploring how even the rescue of Moses ties into these “who and whose” questions of spiritual identity and belonging.
Our guest musician this week is trumpeter Josh Pauly. Although he’s often found in a school band room teaching, his performance career has included playing backup to swing style jazz group “Five by Design.” This Sunday Josh will play “Prayer of St. Gregory” by Alan Hovhanes (heard here with harmonium and cornet), and one or two trumpet pieces by Telemann. He will also join in on one or more of the hymns.
And speaking of hymns, one of them is going to be “God of Our Fathers, Whose Almighty Hand” which has that spine-tingling trumpet intro we haven’t heard in many a year!
*The Revised Common Lectionary organizes the Bible into three year-long cycles of readings. Each cycle begins on the first Sunday of Advent. We are currently in Year A which takes us through the Gospel of Matthew. See our EPISTLE for the current month’s listed readings.
What an incredible morning of worship on August 20th with the musical addition of Michael Zsoldas and his so mellow saxophone! Here is the Postlude improv by Michael and our John Atwood on J.S. Bach;s “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring.”
Click here to get just a sample of what we experienced.