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John Johns

John Johns

Thursday, 16 November 2017 14:24

Space to Be Holy

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In the Orthodox Church, icons (paintings of saints, often on gold backgrounds) are considered a window into the beauty of the kingdom of God. Craftspeople spend decades perfecting their art, learning to make pigments out of natural materials and techniques so their creations last for centuries. They dedicate their talent so the rest of us can step away from our ordinary lives and experience a glimpse of something sacred.

To sanctify something means to set it aside; to make it holy. We give it extra effort, we respect it, we don’t rush it. Sacred art – stained glass windows, fabric vestments on the altar, candles, flowers, statues, church buildings, and so many other offerings crafted by talented artists – draws our attention to scripture, prayer, and worship. We walk into a sacred space with sacred objects and we are inspired to see, hear, and act like the Christians we are called to be.

God is all around us all the time – in nature, at home, at work, in worship. We don’t need anything else to bring us closer to God. But symbols, artwork, and sacred spaces serve as reminders to step out of the secular nature of our lives and be holy. We set aside this space, along with a portion of our time, talents, and treasures, to be sacred.

As we move into the Advent season we'll have extra opportunities at Lord of Life to worship and enjoy our own sacred spaces; and to further lift them up as we decorate for the Christmas season. Watch the schedule for our Advent Adventure midweek worship, Pageant, Blue Christmas, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day worship opportunities.

Thursday, 12 October 2017 13:37

Discovering Common Ground Through Worship

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Singing, praying, learning, fellowship, and service – these are all things that bring us together each week within our community at Lord of Life. There shouldn’t be any surprise that the same things could bring together people from other communities, too. Our first REFORM event with Roman Catholics and Lutherans from West Chester and Mason exceeded our expectations of how powerful the experience would be.

We began with a worship moment led by musicians from St. Max, Christ the King, and Lord of Life (the next event will include leadership from St. John’s as well). Through common words and common songs, we infused the evening with a joyful prayer that continued into our conversations. We heard from Lutheran and Catholic clergy from St. Susannah Catholic (Mason), Prince of Peace Lutheran (Loveland), and Zion Lutheran (Middletown) who presented different views, but we heard even more common views. We listened to a biblical message that defined us all as part of the same vine. The same body. One faith, one hope, and one baptism.

I found myself at a table made up of Catholics from various parishes. We asked questions and discussed among ourselves how we each came to the body of Christ and what that means to us. About half the table had been born into the Catholic church. But one young woman shared how she found the church through an ecumenical sports team. An older gentleman started going to Methodist Sunday school after his mother died when he was nine, and then converted to Catholicism after years of seeing the positive impact the church had on his wife. We all had stories about how we saw people’s faith overflow in their actions.

The thread that kept weaving its way to the top was: “We need to do more of this.” We need to find ways to maintain the natural bond we have through Christ and the Spirit. We need to worship together and talk together and serve together. Our connection to each other is too powerful to let ourselves be kept apart.

As the clock forced the evening to a close, we put notes on a door describing how we wanted to move forward in our relationships. More combined worship. More dialogues. More learning. More outreach opportunities together. Singing, praying, learning, fellowship, and service.

Even though the next two REFORM events are self-contained – they are three separate events rather than one continued event, I suspect we’ll see some of the same faces coming again and again because we are so inspired to move forward as one body. Come be a part of the conversation on October 19 at 7 pm at Christ the King or October 21 at 10 am at St. Max.

Monday, 18 September 2017 14:07

Go! Sermon Series

"Go!” This command shows up almost more than any other in the Bible. Go to Pharaoh. Go to Nineveh. Go to Jerusalem. Go up, go down, go over, and go between. Go tell, go find, and go share. Go and baptize. God is constantly telling people of faith to “Go!” We are a people on the move. God calls us out, inviting us to go to places and people in the name of Jesus. This fall, we’ll hear twelve “Go!” stories from the Hebrew Scriptures and see how they shape us to listen, learn, and go!

SEPT 10 Go Create - Genesis 1:1-2:4a
SEPT 17 Go Sacrifice - Genesis 21 and 22
SEPT 24 Go Bless – Genesis 27 and 28
OCT 1 Go Speak - Exodus 2, 3, 4
OCT 8 Go Share - Exodus 16:1-18
OCT 15 Go Hear - 1 Samuel 3:1-21
OCT 22 Go Look - 1 Samuel 16:1-13; Psalm 51:10-14
OCT 29 Go (W)holy - REFORMATION 500!
NOV 5 Go Reclaim - 1 Kings 19:1-18
NOV 12 Go Seek - Amos 1 and 5
NOV 19 Go Walk - Isaiah 9:1-7
NOV 26 Go Settle - Jeremiah 29:1, 4-14

Wednesday, 02 August 2017 10:39

The Ever-changing Fabric of Music

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What does church music look like to you? As Lutherans, we embrace a rich tapestry of styles and textures from traditional hymns to praise songs; from chants to global rhythms. We lift up the gifts of those who wish to offer them. Some days, that might look like piano, drums and singers. Other days we might hear guitar and violin. Every day, everyone assembled is invited to sing along to lift up our message and praise.

This year, as some of the threads of our musical brocade come out, what threads will we weave in to replace them? What musical gifts do you have to offer? Could you play your clarinet once in a while?

Do you play the cello and haven’t been sure if we might work it into worship? Please let me know the next time you see me or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.!

I’d especially like to work on special music offerings, as we build up to our 500-year Reformation celebration in October.

Thursday, 06 July 2017 16:54

The Other Sacrament

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For those of us who start our morning worshiping at St. Arbucks (that’s StarbucksTM, for those of you who don’t take your coffee as seriously as I do), coffee is our first step to facing the world each morning; it provides an opportunity to stop and think about the day ahead; it is a vehicle for conversation and fellowship. I could write a few chapters drawing parallels between coffee and our life as a worshiping community!

For now, I’d like to talk about fellowship and the opportunities we have at Lord of Life. So how does coffee affect our lives in fellowship with each other?

Thursday, 18 May 2017 09:05

Hawk

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The expanse of green space on our property gives us a unique opportunity to serve the community by growing food for our local pantries. The same expanse provides an especially fruitful hunting ground for one of nature's most keen predators. I love all the bunnies and chipmunks and squirrels so it is hard to stomach the idea that each day one of them becomes a victim of our resident hunter.

Mary Oliver, one of the greatest poets of our lifetime, gives beautiful imagery to the hawk's stalking of its prey.

Thursday, 04 May 2017 14:16

Making a Difference

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The good work we do at Lord of Life makes a difference in our community. From Stepping Forward to Faith Food Pantry; from big projects like Family Promise to actions as simple as helping to pay fines at Woodland Elementary Library so students can continue to explore and check out library books; we are always looking for ways we can help.

We're always glad when we find out what an impact we are having in the world.

Thursday, 23 March 2017 14:13

E = mc2

albert einstein e mc2

We’ve all heard that E=mc2. I’m not a physicist, so I won’t pretend to understand how mass and speed come together to make energy or how energy divided by speed becomes mass or however that works. I was probably sitting at a piano when I should have been studying for a science test. I managed, at least, to rattle off for a test that the E in the equation stands for “energy.”

So what does the E in ELCA stand for?

Friday, 17 March 2017 10:05

Make Music with us for Easter

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Do you play an instrument? Join us for Easter worship for the Easter Vigil (April 15, 8:30 pm) and/or Easter Sunday (8, 9:30, and/or 11 am) to add extra joy to our celebrations. Let John know at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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