Do Justice
Love Kindness
Walk Humbly
Woman with Bible

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, First Congregational Church will not be gathering for Sunday worship for the time being. Please check back for news about when we will be returning to a regular worship schedule. In the meantime, please click the tan button above for this week's edition of our virtual worship service, "Worship Where You Are." And please feel free to subscribe to our weekly e-newsletter for ideas about how to nourish your spirit and build community in the weeks ahead. Peace be with you!

Our members are an extended family joining together in worship, education, social action, and cultural activities.

Follow me,” Jesus says. All through our gospel stories, Jesus invites us to follow in his footsteps. This month, as the season of Lent begins, Jesus heads into a vast and silent wilderness for 40 days and nights. All alone among the sun-baked stones, Jesus listens for the still, small voice of the Spirit within and around him. Out in the midst of a vast and silent wilderness, Jesus invites the presence of God to fill him, to call him, and to lead him into his life’s work.

 

It’s hard to believe that this is the second Lenten season we will be spending at home, in the midst of a worldwide pandemic. As the season of Lent begins, we find ourselves in the midst of a lengthy wilderness sojourn that none of us could have imagined last year at this time. And yet, Jesus continues to call to us across the centuries, asking us to silence our cell phones and our televisions long enough to listen deeply for the voice of the Spirit. Even now, Jesus asks us to step into solitude and stillness, listening for God’s call and claim on our lives. 

 

It is a profoundly countercultural practice that we are called to undertake this season. Even as anxiety calls for our attention, Jesus asks us to follow him into solitude and to hold still long enough to remember who, and whose, we are.

 

I hope you’ll carve out some time for silence and solitude this season, perhaps at the beginning or end of each day. Maybe you’d like to take up a practice of contemplative prayer: the kind of prayer that asks us to become silent and still, simply inviting the divine presence to do its work within us. 

 

May the silent wilderness welcome you this season. May you hear the whisper of God’s wild, holy Spirit calling you home.

 

Rev. Yael Lachman

Image by Mara Ket

Once, I was secure

in familiar territory

in my sense of belonging

unquestioning of 

the norms of my culture

the assumptions built into my language

the values shared by my society.

But now you have called me out and away from home

and I do not know where you are leading.

I am empty, unsure, uncomfortable.

I have only a beckoning star to follow.

Journeying God,

pitch your tent with mine

so that I may not become deterred

by hardship, strangeness, doubt.

Show me the movement I must make…

Image by Isabella and Louisa Fischer

700 Marion Street NE

Salem, Oregon 97301

503-363-3660

office@uccsalem.org

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