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FACES OF OUR FAITH

This October, we go back to looking at people in the Bible who have bold, but often, untold stories to tell.

Just who are these "Faces of Faith" and what makes them stand out?

Come to Sunday worship throughout October and see. 


All three Sunday worship services

8:15 & 10:30 am


October 7th

Philemon


October 14th

Daughters of Zelophehad


October 21st

Vashti


October 28th

Joseph of Arimathea






  • Philemon

    Sunday, October 7th

    Artist: Sarah Are

    “I am sending him, who is my very heart, back to you” (Philemon 1:12)


    These are strong words to describe another—words saturated in love and hope, words saturated in connection and promise. 


    Paul writes these words to Philemon, a “dear friend and co-worker,” about Philemon’s runaway slave, Onesimus. In ancient Israel, almost anyone could become a slave, and nearly 30-40% of the population were enslaved. Slaves were treated poorly, like property, and could be killed for running away. However, somewhere along the way, Paul meets Onesimus, Philemon’s runaway slave, and chooses not to view him by his status alone, or as a criminal for running away, but as a son.


    Paul pushes and challenges his readers to see the full humanity of Onesimus. Paul does not do this perfectly, still blinded by the societal structures of the day, but he does take big steps toward justice here—steps toward equality and love—and we are called to do the same.


    In what ways are we being like Philemon—ignoring social change we could help enact? In what ways could we be like Paul, bending, step-by-step, the social arc of our society toward equality and justice for all? In what ways could we do better? 


    I am starting to believe that Paul was onto something—that maybe all justice work must begin by believing that others carry our hearts.   - Sarah Are



  • Daughters of Zelophehad

    Sunday, October 14th

    Artist: Lauren Wright Pittman

    I imagine the daughters had to fill the entire tent in order to be heard. I imagine Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah took the shape of the tent of meeting, a place where they were met by powerful men, a place of sacrifice and worship—not a place where a woman’s voice was often heard. The text says the women came forward; they stood, they spoke, they questioned, and they even demanded. Any one of those actions alone is difficult for the unseen and unheard. All they wanted was to receive the inheritance of their father and to keep his name from fading. I’m sure the pain of their father’s death was potent, but they needed to be recognized, valued, and seen as human beings in order to survive. 


    The catalyst for this moment isn’t only the women’s strength; it also took a man in power to listen, to open his heart, to wrestle, and to offer his grasp over this patriarchal law to God. When Moses offered up his control and dared to consider a new way, God heard the voices of these women. “They are right,” God said. The old law was no longer suitable, so God made way for change. Though the laws were probably carved into stone, God shows us in this text that the law is living, breathing, adaptable, and changing. This text invites us to come forward, to stand, to speak, to question, and to demand change when we experience injustice. When the powers in place don’t budge, that is not the end of the story. When you personally aren’t experiencing injustice, that does not mean you should bask in your comfort. For those whose voices are less valued, for those who go unseen, for those who have fought a long and continuing fight, we must breathe life into those old, tired, worn-out laws. In this image, the winds of change, the breath of God, surrounds the tent of meeting and the voice of God descends on these women, hearing their cry. New life sprouts from the ground as the law is heard afresh.  - Lauren Wright Pittman

  • Queen Vashti

    Sunday, October 21st

    Artist: Hannah Garrity

    Having the bravery and confidence to stand up to an inappropriate request from a superior is both paramount to the moral foundation of society, and extremely difficult. We each know deep down when we are doing right or wrong. 


    In this text, Vashti's modesty and fearlessness resonated with me.  I imagined her recognizing that her husband's demand for her to show her beauty to his drunken friends overstepped his bounds. 


    Her simple reply, "no," is feared by the male "sages who knew the laws." (Esther 1:13). They advise the king to cast Queen Vashti out ond to replace her with a new queen. 


    Here I have represented Vashti dancing alone.  I see her living into her refusal with grace and beauty, exhibiting independence and strength in her solitary righteousness.  - Hannah Garrity

  • Joseph of Arimathea

    Sunday, October 28th

    Artist: Hannah Garrity

    How heavy is the body of a dead man? Only with superhuman strength would this pose be possible. Yet, Joseph of Arimathea alone carries Jesus’ lifeless body. How did he do it? Why did he do it? Luke says, “He came from the Jewish town of Arimathea, and he was waiting expectantly for the kingdom of God” (Luke 23:51). Is this act good enough? 


    He was on the council. He disagreed with the majority. Why could he not stop the crucifixion from happening in the first place? Why did he fail to convince his fellow council members? Is this good deed enough to make up for such a monumental failure? 


    Or is Joseph of Arimathea at the right place at the right time? Is he able to dignify Jesus’ body after death? Does he play the vital role of the dissenter, picking up the pieces of the wrongs of the group? Does Joseph forward God’s plan for Jesus’ death and resurrection.


    How weighty a task. What superhuman strength must we each have to forward God’s plan. Yet, God prepares us. We are ready. - Hannah Garrity