Expanding our Ways of Connecting with God

A few weeks ago, Savior hosted one of our three annual silent retreats. These retreats offer us a chance to slow our busy minds and set aside time to connect with God.

For our most recent retreat, Savior's Pastor of Adult Formation, Sandy Richter, put together a wonderful resource for expanding our ways of connecting with God. This booklet has images for the practice of visio divina, a guide to centering prayer, and a series of reflections on the Psalms and the natural world.

For anyone unable to come to the retreat, Savior is making this booklet available here. Some of you may be familiar with all of the practices described, others with none of them; regardless, we hope that these suggestions help to expand the ways in which we connect with God.

Click to access the retreat booklet.

Image: Christ in the House of Mary and Martha, Johannes Vermeer, c. 1654-56.

Composting Workshop

On Saturday, Amy from the Conservation Foundation led a workshop for Church of the Savior on composting. During this hands-on presentation, the kids flipped logs to discover the creatures that live in the soil, dug up worms, and mixed together yard and kitchen waste to begin the composting process.

IMG_8908.jpeg

This workshop built on our summer curriculum in Children's Worship on creation, both the goodness of God's creation and the problems brought by sin. 

Our children, and our congregation, are considering the question of how they can honor and care for God's good creation. Composting is one concrete way we can reduce the waste we send to landfills and enrich the soil in our flower beds and vegetable gardens.

IMG_8912.jpeg

Composting takes plant-based food waste and yard waste and, with the help of critters from worms to microorganisms, breaks this organic material down into rich soil. The process may sound daunting, but here are some resources to get started composting and to address composting issues as they arise:

Composting Essentials: learn the basics of composting here.

Composting Systems: this guide discusses the cost and work involved in different composting methods.

Balancing Composting Materials: a healthy compost pile balances "green" and "brown" material. Greens are wet, like food scraps; browns are dry, like leaves or shedded paper. This chart gives examples of greens and browns to help balance your compost pile.

Composting Dos and Donts: wondering if you can compost fireplace ashes or leftover rice? This guide has your answer!

And for a wonderful example of composting in action, you can walk out to the community garden behind PHCC! This year, they are composting in the large black bin, and you can watch paper scraps and garden waste turn into lovely, nutrient-rich soil that will feed next summer's vegetables.

IMG_8917.jpeg

Word from Father Kevin: Egalitarian and Orthodox

One of Savior’s values was set forth years ago by Bill and Linda Richardson in this way: "Since God created men and women in his image and poured out his Holy Spirit on both, we welcome leadership and teaching from both men and women.”

Sometimes people come to me and say, “I’ve been looking for a church like this—one that is both egalitarian and orthodox. You don’t know how hard that is to find.” I would simply say that what we are trying to do is: (a) let Jesus radically challenge our larger church culture, which has too often accepted unbiblical limitations on the teaching, ministry, and leadership of women; and (b) let Jesus radically challenge our national culture, which has accepted a vision of human sexuality that is far below the holy vision set forth in Scripture.

Let us, then, follow the words of Abraham Lincoln in his Second Inaugural Address: "With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in…"

Word from Father Kevin: The Witness of Obedience

I know many of you read the works of Anglican bishop and theologian N.T. Wright. Recently, I was reading a transcript of a conference talk he gave and was stopped by this: 

“Throughout the early church, the world as a whole in its easy-going immorality was called to account again and again by the fact that Christians were living as new creation people, faithful in marriage and celibate outside. They didn’t even know such a thing was possible. Most people today in our world don’t think that is possible. That’s one of the things that early Christians did that made people say, ‘That’s a new creation, a new way of being human.’”

Simple obedience is its own witness—and more powerful than we often think.

Jesus Undercuts Tribalism

welcome-3363658_1280.jpg

By Father Kevin Miller

One of the most powerful forces in our world today is what the political scientists call nationalism and the sociologists call tribalism. This viewpoint drives elections and many of our news stories. Tribalism says, “What’s right is the needs of my tribe.”

While not denying the right of nations to make decisions about their interests, the life and teaching of Jesus consistently undercuts tribalism. Consider these verses: "For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us” (Eph. 2:14) and "There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

In Christ, what’s right is what provides dignity and humanity for every person God created. So at the national level, we support policies that treat immigrants and refugees with respect; locally, we support the work of our ministry partner World Relief DuPage Aurora. And in our church, we try to give a warm welcome to every visitor or guest, no matter what their background or how they may be different from us.

Thank you, friends of the Savior, for how you do this.