Concerns, Announcements and Devotional Thought
A Weekly Ministry of Indianapolis First Friends Meeting
As Way Opens by Ruthie Tippin
Politics and religion… two things we’ve been taught never to discuss in ‘polite company’. Things have been anything but polite in Indiana this week, as legislators and lobbyists have wrangled over the RFTA legislation, signed into law by the governor. Add the national and international press corps, and it’s been a raucous and rousing conversation… as well it should be. In a participatory democracy such as ours, we are all given a voice, and it is our responsibility to express our views.
Jesus was one who understood the complexity of living a religious life in a highly political world. As a Jew, he lived under Torah – the law of God. As one living under occupation, he lived under the law of Rome. As the Son of God, he lived under the law of love. This did not always make for ‘polite conversation’. He was challenged on all three fronts… and Jesus’ answer was most always given in the form of a challenge returned. Those who knew him, who heard him, who saw him, were not given easy answers… they were asked by Jesus to discover for themselves their own motives, their own prejudices, their own integrity, and thus, their own response. What, in careful examination, does God speak into your heart and mind regarding any challenge that comes?
As we move through Holy Week, I am reminded of those swept up in Pilate’s courtyard, shouting “Barabbas!” They had been given a choice… in fact, they were asked twice, ‘Whom do you want me to release for you – Jesus Barabbas, or Jesus who is called the Messiah?”. [Matthew 27:17] Is Barabbas truly the one they would have chosen, without lobbyists, without press corps, without prejudice?
We are challenged by Jesus the Messiah to think for ourselves, to consider first the law of love. He quoted from the Torah when asked what the most essential rule of law was: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. [Deuteronomy 6:5] And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
One of the greatest strengths of the Quaker faith is our need, our practice, our intention, to listen. We make this a part of our worship in a conscious way. What are we listening for? The voice of God, our Teacher, speaking to us individually and corporately, through the power of the Holy Spirit. We believe that it is not only our voices that speak, but our very lives that speak. Because of this, we are careful to listen first, to listen always, for the often still, small voice of God that cuts through the confusion of politics and religion, and speaks to the heart of our faith… the indwelling present spirit of God. May we always be good listeners. May we always speak plainly. May we always have something to say, that comes from a deep and centered place of love.
Announcements, Reports, & Opportunities
Easter is this Sunday, April 5th! Bring your family and friends as we celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord together on Easter Sunday! Here is the schedule for Easter Sunday:
9:00 am Sunday School for All Ages
10:15 am Meeting for Worship; ‘The Power of a Resurrected Life’
Egg Hunt during Children’s Worship
11:30 am Easter Fellowship Brunch
Please join us for Community Soup on Friday, April 3rd, anytime between 5:30 – 7:00 p.m. Enjoy soups, bread, and dessert in a relaxed atmosphere. No cooking, no dishwashing, and no charge.
Gathering Group is Tuesday, April 7th at 7:00 pm. Friends gather to do all kinds of handwork: crochet, knitting, rug working, whatever you want to do. All are welcome to join in and create.
Join us for the final show in an Eco-Film Series here at First Friends, at 7p.m. on Friday, April 10th at 7p.m. called “The Rise of Ecology, 10 disasters that changed the World”. Ecological disasters are examined as to the shaping role in environmental awareness and change they have played. The ten worst disasters are examined and the response from the global communities. We forget these disasters at our own global peril. (52 minutes.)
‘Zabur’ is a gift! A collection of Jewish, Muslim and Christian texts have been woven together to form a musical celebration, and will be given its premiere performance Friday, April 24, at 8:00 pm at Hilbert Circle Theatre. Composer Mohammed Fairouz met with leaders of these faith traditions (including our own Ruthie Tippin) last year, as he began the composition. Commissioned by the ISO, the work will be performed by the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Choir, and Children’s Choir. Dan Rains and Bill Paraskevas from our Meeting are in the Choir. ‘Requiem’ by Faure will be paired with the premiere of ‘Zabur’ for the concert. Tickets begin at $20, and are available at www.indychoir.org or by calling 639-4300.
Are you in need of any Home Comfort Care? Anxious Farukayi comes highly recommended by a member of First Friends. She provides Certified Nursing Assistance, including overnight stays if needed, house cleaning and/or driving you around for errands. She is looking for more people who need her assistance. Her contact information is 317-654-7897 or email@example.com. If you would like a personal reference, please contact the office.
Welcome to the Garden: We have labeled plots requested by former gardeners and now there are some raised beds and some open spaces available for others who want space. With our new cistern, we ought to have a much easier time watering. We are still asking if anyone feels led to plant and care for extra tomatoes or other crops to share with the whole meeting or possibly with the food pantry. Contact Linda Lee at 317-465-0628 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with requests and desires. Maybe we can get this going without having a meeting for worship for gardening. May God bless the seeds we sow!
Join Diana Hadley at Indy Reads Books, an independent book store located at 911 Massachusetts Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46202 on April 17th from 7-9pm as she discusses the book she co-authored, "The Peace Class." Diana says, "The book came from a feeling that the instructional resources, activities, and experiences from a class about nonviolence should be shared with others. The dream of "the Peace Class" -- people how could transform the world to practice peaceful conflict resolution -- evolved from observing and absorbing the power of nonviolence from the study of successful peace initiative sand the people who have led them." Learn more at: www.facebook.com/thepeaceclass
The Co-Op is gearing up with preparations for the rummage sale on April 18th. Here is a list of things that are needed:
1. Baked goods - Please consider donating the following: Cookies, Bars, cakes, pies, etc...Homemade and store bought are great! Drop-off for these items will be all day Friday April 17th in the Fellowship Hall kitchen. Email email@example.com if you can help!
2. Paper Grocery Bags - These will be used the day of the sale and we would appreciate as many as we can get. Please drop these off on the table in the Spring Sale room.
3. Hangers, Hangers, Hangers - Please bring your old children's hangers, your wire dry cleaning hangers, any extra hangers! They are needed to hang up clothing to make shopping easier and more organized.
4. Your STUFF! The more that we have to sell, the more our sale will make. Please bring items to the Fellowship Hall stage. There is one more furniture/large item pickup on April 11th, from 11am to 1pm. Email Ashli at firstname.lastname@example.org for pickup!
Join us for the next Woods Work day, April 18th from 9 am-12 noon! We're inviting everyone to join us as we continue to care for our Meditational Woods. We are concentrating on eliminating non-native invasives like amur honeysuckle and wintercreeper ground cover. These plants take over the area and crowd out the native plants that feed our birds and insects. After removing these invasive invaders, we will be planting native species to improve our biodiversity. All volunteers are welcome. We welcome any volunteers who would rather make some healthy snacks instead of digging weeds. Bring some tools and a cheerful spirit and we will have fun while we work. Future 2015 workdays are as follows: May 9, September 26, and November 7.
Discovering God in a Changing World. Save the date for the third session in an exciting 4-part program series with Dr. Dan Moseley right here at First Friends! The session is April 25th-26th, where Dan will focus on generosity, and creating space to be generous in spirit, just the way spring makes room for growth after winter. It will consist of a Saturday retreat from 9-1pm, Meeting for Worship on Sunday at 10:15am followed by a luncheon and then a Q&A with Dan. There is no fee, but you are encouraged to pre-register with Amanda Bow in the office at email@example.com. Copies of Dan’s book, Lose Love Live: The Spiritual Gifts of Loss and Change is available in our office for $10 each.
Mark your calendars for Friday, May 15th, 7pm - First Friends Meeting presents Concert Pianist Randall Frieling and Organ Virtuoso Martin Ellis. They will be showcasing our Casavant organ and newly-refurbished Steinway piano. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children under 18 years old, available by calling 317-255-2485 or at the door.
The Friends Educational Fund Scholarship for undergraduate African American students is available again this year. The deadline for application is May 31, 2015. For an application please contact the office at 255-2485 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Overman Family Scholarship, in memory of Jess and Mark Overman, is available again this year. High school seniors through graduate students are welcome to apply. Undergraduate students will be given first consideration. The scholarship fund is designated to support the members and attenders of Indianapolis First Friends Meeting. Scholarship funds may be applied to any school related expense, i.e. books, supplies, tuition, housing, computer, etc. The deadline for application is May 31, 2015. For an application please contact the office at 255-2485 or email@example.com.