We Are Saving Your Seat
What Can I expect on Sunday morning?
Lynnwood Church presently has worship on Sundays at 9:45 a.m. (9:00 during the summer months of July and August).
At Lynnwood we believe that what is most important is the fact that God searches for us and meets us where we are at in order to invite us on a lifelong journey of growing into the likeness of Jesus Christ. In this way, we welcome you to come as you are and find that we are saving a seat for you.
What is worship like?
One value worth mentioning is that we believe worship is the act of the community. And so we welcome and celebrate all people who have gifts and talents that may be shared in worship. We love to see people of all ages sing, dance, read scripture or prayers, and give children's messages. Whatever your gift we would love to have you share it! If interested, reach out to Pastor Garret.
The first thing you will notice about the sanctuary is the unique architecture. It is a half round, which allows for people to see each other and also suggests that at the center of our life together are God's Word and sacraments. When we gather we sing, read scripture, pray, and celebrate sacraments to remember who God is and who we are as God's beloved, and we listen for the speech of the Holy Spirit to stir our souls with words that give abundant, unending life for us and this world.
We recognize that each of us are at different points on our spiritual journey and hope that worship is a good place to be in the presence of God and a community that is journeying by faith together seeking understanding.
Who is welcome?
Jesus was a man who would share a meal with anyone. As the gospel writer Luke recounts in chapter 15, some religious leaders grumbled at this because he ate with even the sinners and the crooked tax collectors. So, in response to this Jesus tells a story about who God is. He speaks of a father who had two sons: one dutiful in doing the right thing, careful, and who committed himself to 'working like a slave'; and the other was rebellious, promiscuous, and committed himself to every bad choice.
After a short trip down dissolute living drive and having spent all his inheritance given to him by the Father, the younger son returns home with hunger sunken cheeks, clothes from a garbage heap, and the pungent perfume of pig manure. When his father saw him coming, his father ran to him, greeted him, and threw him a party. The story ends with the father standing outside the banquet hall and the older brother clinging to his constitution of what is fair and possessing an understandable anger, but one that reveals he loves his certitude more than his brother or father. And though this action is an insult to the father, the father stands with him. Waiting. Waiting for his last son to come home.
We serve a God who waits with a constant longing for us to be in his presence. We serve a God whose welcome is unfathomably wide. We serve a God who longs to welcome you home.
And so we welcome you wherever you might be in life right now. We welcome the young and the old; the single, married, and the widowed; the long time believers and those who are skeptical of organized religion; the ones who are wrestling with large questions about identity, faith, and life.
We welcome you to come as you are right now because that is enough. We welcome all to come and hopefully experience the of God found in Luke 15 who never shames or condemns us, but always embraces and celebrates our coming into his presence.
What happens after?
After worship we would love for you to join us for a cup of coffee in the Fellowship Center, the gathering space located to the right of where you enter the building.
A note From the Pastor:
I remember how I carefully, yet confidently, scooted my way to the end of the pew to follow my mom and grandma as they entered into the great procession of people heading forward to receive communion.
I was five years old. I was curious and yearning to participate in the holy feast of the Eucharist, yet old enough to know that I was not allowed to take communion in the Catholic Church since I had yet to receive my first communion. My careful movements were meant to escape attention, and my confidence was to make those who were suspicious to think I was warranted in going forward. I remember inching forward until finally I made it to the priest. He took one look at me and said, "You know what, why you don’t help me serve communion?"
So for a few minutes I helped serve communion to the good people a small Catholic parish in Glen Arbor, Michigan. After all was done, the priest put his hand on my head, blessed me, and sent me back to sit with my grandma and mom. We three recall this moment and laugh about it often. Who would have thought that years later I would again find myself at the front of the church once again offering God’s abundant grace to others, though this time as an ordained minister?
With one single action this kind priest blessed me by inviting me into something far greater than I could understand at that moment, but which would have a lasting impact. His hospitality taught me I was welcome. He taught me that God embraces our seeking after him. As the Psalmist writes in Psalm 27, "my heart says, seek God's face, and so your face Lord I will seek." Though,
just as I served wafers of communion rather than received it, the end of our search might look different than that we originally expect. In the same way, I imagine many were blessed that day because of the faithful and hospitable act of a country priest who invited a little one to serve them the bread of mercy.
My prayer for you is that wherever you find yourself – searching for God after a long season of spiritual narrowness, having been following Jesus for a long while, skeptical and yet yearning for some deeper meaning in life – that you might find the Lynnwood family of faith to be like unto that faithful priest. I pray that Lynnwood is a community open to the work of the Holy Spirit in such a way that people are unconditionally embraced and invited into something greater than is understood at the time - namely, the redemptive ministry of Jesus Christ. My hope is that through faithful and meaningful worship, rich and playful fellowship, and relational mission in Guilderland and beyond, the Holy Spirit leads us to find our identity as beloved children of a generous God, and our vocation as imitators of Christ Jesus.