How to have an Abundant Life
How to have an Abundant Life
photo from Church of the Holy City
Zoom Video Call in at 5pm EST
Greetings!

Dear Friend
of the Holy City:

ZOOM CALL SUNDAY

Last week we tried Zoom for our service. It was great seeing so many of you!

We'll use Zoom again. You can also just call in like a regular conference call. If you can use video, please do. It is great seeing your faces.

Thanks to our member Kateryna Pyatybratova who is a leader at George Washington University's Leadership and Excellence program who will help me again. Also, thanks to Annabel Park our Vice President for helping get people online.

How to Join Sunday

Join Zoom Meeting (click this link)

Here's the registration link:

Meeting ID: 820-8845-7222
Password: 307341

or call in one of these numbers:
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Social Hour is Discussion Hour
Social Hour has become a great venue for sharing and asking long questions.

Going forward we will move our question and answer time from during the service to the Discussion Hour where you can ask questions.

Last Week's Sermon
I’m posting last week’s sermon below and will continue posting previous week sermons in the newsletter.

You can also listen to services you missed by clicking the links below the Service Order on the right.


Service Order
Please save this newsletter and use the service order on the right-hand side . If you’d like to do a reading you can request in advance or I’ll ask for volunteers live.

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You can mail a check to
1611 16 th St NW WDC 20009

Hang in there. I know these are challenging times. I’m glad we have each other and the Lord.



Physical Distancing


Social Outreach


Spiritual Connection


Your Pastor
Rev. Richard L. Tafel

richtafel@gmail.com


LAST WEEK'S SERMON
 
Lessons for Surviving in Liminal Space
 
Today, I want to talk about how we can cope in the in-between times.
 
HDS
Have you had a moment where time slows down and you find yourself in between?
 
Lately many people I speak to describe their time at home as unconnected to time, dates or old rhymes.
 
In the spring of 1984, a had a very surreal experience where time slowed down.
 
After visiting Harvard Divinity School to find out if I was accepted. I was so excited when to find I was and we jumped in my tin can 1976 white Honda Civic with my friend Patti Gilmore to drive back to PA.
 
Little did we know that road from Boston to Philly would be full of surprises.
 
As we were driving it started to snow. We kept driving as we saw the wind ripping road signs down off their poles. This was not looking good. Without knowing it, we had taken a journey into the northeast’s worst blizzard in one hundred years. I hate it when that happens.
 
My tiny tin can car slide back and forth in the snow. We decided to just drive very slowly. But as I tried to slow down, I discovered that my accelerator line was frozen. I could not decrease the speed. I could either try to drive through traffic at a high speed or hit the breaks and spin out.
 
I chose the high-speed strategy weaving in and out of traffic like a crazy man. I told Patti to crunch down in the front seat. In no time the car spun around and around out of control on the Icey I-95 and, everything slowed down into a movie that was in slow motion and I was watching
 
I saw that it wouldn’t end well but tried to keep control by tightening my grip on the wheel. In slow motion, I could see the car crashing. I saw an ambulance with lights with me being put in the back. I felt angels around me.
 
I was in-between time and space.
 
Suddenly, the slow-motion stopped. We found ourselves safely crashed against the guard rail cushioned by a snowdrift. Had I just experienced another possible path for my life? I distinctly felt the presence of angels protecting me that day. We dug out and slowly ventured to a rest stop. I never told many people about it because it was not something that would make sense to others, only me.
 
This began an in-between time in my life. That time between college and graduate school and I was somewhat lost in thoughts and plans. It was a time I was looking for guidance. I felt I got it.
 
I’ve had numerous other experiences like this where I felt in-between time. I later learned this had a name, liminal space. It refers to a threshold between worlds.
 
We experience this feeling of liminal space when we see places that don’t match our the expectation of their use. Many people are taking photos of rush hour on city highways with no cars and sharing that eerie feeling that this just doesn’t feel right.
 
Also, that strange moment when we wake up but aren’t sure what’s real --the dream we were just in or the bed we’re waking up in.
 
Dr. Carrie Barron in a 2013 article entitled “Creativity and the Liminal Space: Tolerating the transition can take you to a better place,” 
describes these times from a psychologist perspective asking, “What happens if you lose what appears to be your “everything” and you do not know what to do next? If you feel that you are anxiously floating in the in-between, perhaps you are in The Liminal Space.”
 
Liminal space is a period of spiritual transformation described by mystics.
 
Father Richard Rohr the Director of the Center for Action and Contemplation describes liminal space this way.
“… It is when you have left the tried and true, but have not yet been able to replace it with anything else. It is when you are between your old comfort zone and any possible new answer. If you are not trained in how to hold  anxiety , how to live with ambiguity, how to entrust and wait, you will run…anything to flee this terrible cloud of unknowing.”
The great mystics lived their lives in liminal states. Swedenborg lived one foot in the physical world even serving in the Swedish Parliament, while also having a foot in a spiritual world of visions of heaven and hell.
 
His entry to this liminal space began with a vision of Christ who asked him if he had a “clean bill of health.” This odd question for us meant something to him. A few years earlier, London held Swedish visitors in quarantine during a pandemic. Swedenborg didn’t know, entered London and was arrested, and almost executed. His physical questions about surviving a pandemic became a spiritual message about his spiritual health. How newly relevant to us his story his to us today/
 
He spent the rest of us life in a liminal space.
 
The story of the road to Emmaus from the gospel today is a story of liminal space—a time in between Christ rising and the new church to come.
 
Two disciples are leaving Jerusalem heartbroken and hopeless. The vision they had for themselves, their community and their country have been crushed. They are in a state of despair. Things are not playing out as expected.
 
Jesus meets the disciples not where he wants them to be but where they are.
 
They do not recognize him.
 
Instead, they give their take on the things that just happened to him. He listens to their story of woe and when they are ready teach them what it all means. He taught them. The asked questions. They sat down to a meal together. They recognized him and he disappeared.
 
 Today we are on the road to Emmaus.
We have grief and anxiety. We aren’t sure what’s next. We tell Jesus how things should be.
 
Fortunately, this gospel offers very practical Lessons for Thriving in Liminal Space.
First, we learn that even when don’t recognize him, Jesus is with us at this time.

We learn that the narrative we’ve grown so attached to for our lives and future may not be true.
 
We learn that faith is not about what happens when we die, but instead, faith is traveling on our spiritual journey being active in our lives.
 
We learn that if we can live into our sense of a loss of control, then we can open ourselves up to greater trust in God and a deeper faith.
 
We learn that being in conversation with others is often the best way to find comfort.
 
We learn that the remembering the Scriptures is a powerful force in times of doubt.
 
We learn that in the breaking of bread and creation of community we can recognize the face of Christ.
 
We learn to stop telling God that he’s got it wrong and we’ve got it right and we can begin to just listen.
 
We learn to let go of the Jesus we created and recognize the Christ that transcends our imagination.
 
We learn that our anxiety will turn to hope, and we will again experience that burning feeling of clarity and closeness to God.
 
We learn that liminal space is necessary for spiritual transformation. If you run from it, you miss the chance to grow.
 
We are living in an in-between time of liminal space.
 
We have lessons on how to survive it.
 
Resist your desire to control it and the temptation to give in to despair. Instead, embrace it. Walk, talk to others, break bread with others and open yourself to Christ who has been walking with you all along.
 
AMEN
Amen
 
View of our Congregation Last Week (above)

Dr. Peck's Altar. Please send in yours! (below)

Order of Worship

Prepare
Light your own candle.

Set up your Bible or holy book at home.

Opening the Word
Open your Bible at home.

Put yourself on mute when you arrive and we will "greet" you as you come in the door.

Welcome from Rev. Tafel

Rev. Tafel will greet everyone and ask for readers of the texts.

Confession
Everyone will be unmuted.

All: Eternal God, in whom we live and move and have our being,
whose face is hidden from us by our sins,

and whose mercy we forget in the blindness of our hearts:
cleanse us from all our offenses,

and deliver us from proud thoughts and vain desires,

that with reverent and humble hearts we may draw near to you,

confessing our faults, confiding in your grace, and finding in you our refuge and strength;

Amen


Minister:
If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Amen


Readings

Manna and Quail from Heaven
16  Then the whole community of Israel set out from Elim and journeyed into the wilderness of Sin,[ a ] between Elim and Mount Sinai. ...
“If only the Lord had killed us back in Egypt,” they moaned. “There we sat around pots filled with meat and ate all the bread we wanted. But now you have brought us into this wilderness to starve us all to death.”
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Look, I’m going to rain down food from heaven for you. Each day the people can go out and pick up as much food as they need for that day. I will test them in this to see whether or not they will follow my instructions.  On the sixth day they will gather food, and when they prepare it, there will be twice as much as usual.”
So Moses and Aaron said to all the people of Israel, “By evening you will realize it was the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt.  In the morning you will see the glory of the Lord, because he has heard your complaints, which are against him, not against us. What have we done that you should complain about us?”  Then Moses added, “The Lord will give you meat to eat in the evening and bread to satisfy you in the morning, for he has heard all your complaints against him. What have we done? Yes, your complaints are against the Lord, not against us.”
Then Moses said to Aaron, “Announce this to the entire community of Israel: ‘Present yourselves before the Lord, for he has heard your complaining.’”  10  And as Aaron spoke to the whole community of Israel, they looked out toward the wilderness. There they could see the awesome glory of the Lord in the cloud.
11  Then the Lord said to Moses,  12  “I have heard the Israelites’ complaints. Now tell them, ‘In the evening you will have meat to eat, and in the morning you will have all the bread you want. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God.’”
13  That evening vast numbers of quail flew in and covered the camp. And the next morning the area around the camp was wet with dew.  14  When the dew evaporated, a flaky substance as fine as frost blanketed the ground.  15  The Israelites were puzzled when they saw it. “What is it?” they asked each other. They had no idea what it was.
And Moses told them, “It is the food the Lord has given you to eat.  16  These are the Lord’s instructions: Each household should gather as much as it needs. Pick up two quarts[ c ] for each person in your tent.”
17  So the people of Israel did as they were told. Some gathered a lot, some only a little.  18  But when they measured it out,[ d ] everyone had just enough. Those who gathered a lot had nothing left over, and those who gathered only a little had enough. Each family had just what it needed.


Swedenborg Insight
Peace holds within itself trust in the Lord, the trust that he governs all things and provides all things, and that he leads toward an end that is good.

When we believe these things about him we are at peace, since we fear nothing and no anxiety about things to come disturbs us. How far we attain this state depends on how far we come to love the Lord. Everything bad, especially trust in ourselves, robs us of the state of peace. ( Secrets of Heaven  §8455)


Gospel
John 10:1-10
Jesus said, “Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.”

Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.
So again Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”


Sermon

Discussion
Press one on your phone to raise your hand to ask a question.

This is an opportunity to ask questions. Please keep your questions brief so everyone can ask their question.


Offering


Mail to: 1611 16th St NW WDC 20009


Community Prayers
Here you can simply say your intention with a word or phrase. There's no need to explain details. The Lord knows what's on your heart. All of us will respond together after a prayer is made by saying,
"Lord Hear Our Prayer."

Pastor Prayer
Lord's Prayer (in unison)
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
10  Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
11  Give us this day our daily bread.
12  And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.


Benediction
POEM
by Dylan Thomas
shared by Elfa Halloway
read by Maria de los Angeles
Every morning when I wake,
Dear Lord, a little prayer I make,
O please do keep Thy lovely eye
On all poor creatures born to die
And every evening at sun-down
I ask a blessing on the town,
For whether we last the night or no
I’m sure is always touch-and-go.
We are not wholly bad or good
Who live our lives under Milk Wood,
And Thou, I know, wilt be the first
To see our best side, not our worst.
O let us see another day!
Bless us all this night, I pray,
And to the sun we all will bow
And say, good-bye – but just for now!

Social Time
Please stay as long as you like to update each other on how you are doing. Rev. Tafel will stay until the last person has shared.
This Sunday I'll be preaching about Trust. Would you trust this man? Can you guess what this mask is made from?
Members shared this quote from Brene Brown that resonates with my Easter Sermon.

Thanks to attendee Sheri Smith for sending me this newsletter from Susan Gleeson that resonates with the sermon from last week.

Richard Rohr wrote about liminal space in his meditation this morning. He defined liminal space as ‘where we are betwixt and between, having left one room or stage of life, but have not yet entered the next.’
There is no doubt this is a liminal time in our personal, community and global lives. We know things are not going to return to the way they were, and we don’t know what our new reality is going to look like. My question to myself this morning was, “How do I stay stable while inhabiting liminal space?”
My bible reading for today was Luke 11: 5-11. This passage describes a friend going to another friend at midnight, knocking on his door and asking to borrow some bread to feed to a friend who arrived late at night. Initially the friend refuses to lend him the bread, but because the man is very firm about his request, he gets what he is asking for. Jesus then says, “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”
Other scriptures came to mind along these lines:
“Be anxious for nothing , but in everything by prayer and supplication make your requests be made known unto God, and the peace of God which passes all understanding will keep your minds and hearts in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4: 6-7
“ You have not, because you ask not.” James 4:2
What came home to me today was that the key to feeling stable in liminal times for me is to remember to simply ask God for what I need. Serenity and stability come when I take everything ‘in prayer and supplication’ to God.
It isn’t so much getting an answer that brings the feeling of stability, but having a reliable place to take my worries and cares.
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