Peter Fitch used songs from various bands and choirs as icons for us to remember our need to fix ourselves and our broken societies, the blend of human giftedness and divine need, how important it is to stand against hate crimes afflicting Asian people, our indebtedness to healthcare workers, and the glory of Easter. His talk focused on St. Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 1, that we would know the hope of Christ’s calling, the riches of His inheritance, and the surpassing power that is available to us to grow in life and to stand for just causes. The last part of the talk comes from St. Julian of Norwich who believes that we would be changed forever if we could see the joy in Christ’s face and His love for us.
Peter Fitch expressed his view that Palm Sunday is a great reminder of the need for discernment. There is more than one way to think about God and what “the good” might look like. People welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem but turned on Him soon after that. Behind it all are questions about the nature of God. Peter next looks at the story of the leper who wants to know if Jesus is willing to heal him and, after that, he turns to a story about Brother Masseo, one of the original Franciscans, as he discovers that God’s willingness is different, and better, than he could have imagined.
Peter Fitch introduces Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179), a genius and polymath whose prophetic wisdom was sought by kings and queens during the 12th century. She is gifted in theology, science, herbal knowledge, medicine, music and art. Her views seem strange to us, however, because they come through her medieval lens and understanding. This leads Peter to ask questions about the illusions we carry today and whether or not we can ever expect to get an understanding of something that hasn’t been tainted by our own worldviews and values. Speculating about this results in a new way of looking at Jesus’ words in Matthew 5: “Blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God.”
This Sunday Peter Fitch spoke on the first anniversary of St. Croix Church, the name that we took as we morphed away from our denomination a year ago this weekend. He chose to speak on Revelation 21 and 22, seeing the description of the new Jerusalem as an ancient means of encouragement for people who were undergoing persecution and oppression. As such, it works in a similar way for us. Instead of hopelessness in the face of challenges, we can be confident in the Spirit of God’s Presence, bringing comfort and creativity as we walk through life together, always pushing toward kindness and justice.
Peter Fitch uses quotes from Thomas Merton, Meister Eckhart, and St. Paul to convey the idea that there is a core of each person’s being where God dwells and can be continually birthed. The result of God’s Presence in this place, as we conform our lives to His purposes, and as we wait for Him to speak in our inner silence, is a radiance that overflows through our entire being.
Before the talk we listened to Here Comes the Sun by Jon Bon Jovi from President Biden’s Inaugural Concert and The Lord’s Prayer by Steve Bell.
After the talk we listened to Johnyswim sing Diamonds and we finished with Lauren Daigle’s You Say.
In this first Sunday of Lent, Peter Fitch describes thoughts that he had this week that reminded him of the beauty of tradition, ritual and orthodox belief. Quite a few of these were influenced by music and writings from Canadian musician, Steve Bell, so Peter chose to play songs of his before and after the talk. In preparation for Easter, Peter suggests that we remember that it takes a community of friends to show us who we really are because we have many hidden aspects. We are all spinning jewels. Then he asks if God might be the same way and shares his desire to see God in this season in a different way than he normally does.
Before the talk, we listened to Steve sing Bruce Cockburn’s “All the Diamonds.”
Then we listened to Steve’s version of the Lord’s Prayer.
After the talk we listened to Steve sing Bruce Cockburn’s “Lord of the Starfields”.
We finished the service with Steve singing “Kindness”.
Peter Fitch began speaking out of the letter called 1 John at the end of June. This is his 18th and last talk in this series, although he does plan to spend some time after this summarizing some of the main ideas. Today he focuses on the last half of Chapter 5, verses 13-21. In this passage the writer encourages people to hold on to the vision they have received from God through Jesus because there is a wonderful quality to the life of this community, despite some of the difficulties and temptations that come our way.
After the talk, we recommend watching Audrey Assad sing “Drawn to You”.
After that, “Wings of an Eagle” by Steve Bell.
Peter Fitch works on the first half of the last chapter of 1 John. It’s a difficult passage but it has an important message. The author is very concerned about some errors that have been taught about who Jesus is and how to live for him. Understanding these errors can help us identify ones in our day that we need to avoid. In the midst of the passage, and in the talk, there are some reminders about why all of this is important.