Community Updates

Preparing for Worship: Intoxicated by the Spirit, Awakened to Life

Drew Billups
April 14, 2023

         Note: Christian Formation & prayer at 9:00AM.
                  Sunday worship at 10:15 AM (childcare thru 2nd grade available)

                  In-person worship and live stream
Dear Grace Family,

During the worst of the anxiety and uncertainty of the pandemic in the spring of 2020, one bright spot and calming place for me was our yard and garden. I would take frequent breaks from work to walk around out back and get a bit of fresh air. Being stuck at home with the world slowed and everything shut down caused me to be much more aware of tiny beautiful details of the natural world.

Taking a few observant strolls each day enabled me to really see a variety of plant life as it was emerging through the spring. A motion that was usually too slow for me to notice during regular busy life became clear. Watching my apple tree blossoms grow, I was able to see the very first flower that opened. And I was ready when the peony pictured here finally popped open. I had the focus to notice its detail — the folds and shadows of the petals, the contrasting color and texture at the center, and the chance to even glimpse a welcome buzzing visitor.

It is natural, as we age and fill our schedules, to begin to see things around us only as symbols of themselves and to miss their full individual unique vitality - even to treat people in our lives this way. As we suffer loss and disappointment, we can increasingly become jaded or cynical. We can seek distraction and try to numb our senses.

In his book, The Spirit of Life, theologian Jurgen Moltmann speaks about how the modern world can cause us to die a death of apathy in our hearts and souls. But he recognizes that the work of the Holy Spirit is always to bring new vivid life-affirming abundance. He states, "Spirituality is in a holistic sense new vitality. It is not a religious and moral restriction of life and its enfeebling reduction. It is a new delight in living in the joy of God." And Moltmann continues, "The Holy Spirit is the Spirit who sanctifies life, and he sanctifies it with the Creator's passion for the life of what he has created, and with the Creator's wrath against all the forces that want to destroy it."

This week in our journey through Ephesians we will consider how the Holy Spirit awakens us to be alert, connected, and present to the world around us. In doing so, we are able to live wisely in a way that yields flourishing in our lives and the lives of our communities. And when we welcome the Spirit to fill our lives, it results in an abundance of beauty, worship, thanksgiving, and love.

This Sunday: Ephesians 5:14-21 (NIV)

“Intoxicated by the Spirit, Awakened to Life”

Here is the Order of Worship.

Grace and peace,

Pastor Drew