Holy Week – Service Schedule

jesusSchedule of services this week that six:eight is participating in or leading:

Maundy Thursday service: April 2, 2015, 7pm, at Good Shepherd United Methodist Church (3800 Roland Avenue, Hampden)

Ecumenical Cross Walk: Friday, April 3, 10:30am, starting at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church on the Avenue in Hampden, and going to different points around the neighborhood before finishing at Good Shepherd United Methodist Church.

Good Friday service: Friday, April 3, noon, Good Shepherd United Methodist Church .

Easter Sunday ecumenical sunrise service: Sunday, April 5, 7am, at Roosevelt Park in Hampden (corner of 36th and Falls Road). Six:eight Pastor Amy Sens will be preaching. Light refreshments will be served afterwards at Woodberry Church of the Brethren (corner of 36th Ave and Poole). Woodberry COB is also the rain location of the sunrise service.

Easter Sunday six:eight church service: Sunday, April 5, 5pm, St. Luke’s Lutheran Church on the Avenue in Hampden, where we worship every Sunday.

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Help Us Volunteer at the Maryland Food Bank on 3/28

lois and priscillaOur March community service event is helping sort food at the Maryland Food Bank on Saturday, March 28, from noon to 3pm.

We always have a lot of fun and certainly help the food bank by sorting thousands of pounds of food every time we’re there.

Join us! Email Heather if you’d like to come.

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“Online Worship” for March 1

Part 1: Announcements and etc.

Thank you for visiting! The idea here is to have a little online meditation and reflection, since we aren’t meeting in person today.

If you’d like make an offering this week, scroll down and look to your right for the Paypal button, and consider adding 2-3% on to help cover the online fees. Thank you!

Wednesday there is a Lenten Soup Supper on Spiritual Disciplines at 6:30pm at Amy & Heather’s. Please RSVP to Amy if you’d like to come! pastoramy (at) sixeightucc.org

Here’s my idea for this – first, click on the link to the song in Youtube & it should come up in a new window, and then read the blog section below it. But first, here’s the Scripture: Matthew 20:1-16. Bonus points for reading it, since I’ll summarize below.

Canticle of the Turning

The Story

This parable from Jesus comes after a rich young leader has approached Jesus, asking him how he can be perfect. Jesus answers: sell everything you have, and give it to the poor, then follow me. The young man goes away sad because he is very rich. Jesus tells his disciples: in the kingdom of God, some of the first will be last, and the last will be first. Then he tells the story for today:

Imagine a landowner, a farmer with a big vineyard. He needs to get a lot of work done that day, so early in the morning – 6am-ish – he goes to the town square and rounds up some day laborers, contracting them to work for the day for the standard daily wage, one denarius. A denarius at the time would be enough money to buy food for a family for a day, but not much extra. No retirement savings are being padded here. The workers agree, and go with him to the vineyard to get started on their work.

Around 9, the farmer goes back to the town square and hires some more workers, then at 12, then at 3, and finally he goes at 5. There are still some workers hanging around, unemployed for the day, and he says, “Why are you still here?” They say, “Because no-one hired us.” So he hires them and sends them to his fields for about an hour of work.

When the day is over and it’s time to be paid, the landowner lines the workers up in order of being hired – last hired, first paid, and he gives the workers hired at 5 a denarius each. Workers farther back in the line, who came earlier, see this and think “Ooh, maybe we’ll get something extra if he’s so generous with those guys.” But when they get to the front, the landowner gives them the same wage as everybody else – one denarius each.

So then they’re disappointed and grumble about it. The landowner says to one of them, “Why are you upset with me? I am paying you what I said I’d pay you. Are you mad because I’m generous with these other ones? It’s my money – I’ll do what I want!”

So, Jesus says, in God’s way of doing things, the last sometimes come first and the first come last.


Worker Justice

Wayfaring Stranger sung by Johnny Cash

So we still have day laborers today in the US. Check out Eastern Avenue in Fells Point early on a weekday morning, for example. The prospect of being a day laborer carries with it the uncertainty of knowing whether you’ll be hired, whether you’ll earn anything, each and every day. The workers in Jesus’ parable, standing in the market until 5 in the afternoon, just hoping against hope, have to work if they want to eat that day. And in our day and age, workers can be taken advantage of by contractors who know that they won’t necessarily face consequences if they stiff the men they hire. Here’s an organization, the Centerville Labor Resource Center, that serves as an honest broker for day laborers and contractors.

In recent months, we’ve also seen shifts for low-wage workers – labor organizing for fast food workers, Wal Mart’s recent announcement that its minimum wage will go up to $9 per hour next year and $10 per hour the year after that, and at the same time, it’s still very possible to work 40 hours a week and be below the poverty line.

And, last, white collar workers have their own problems with being overworked, being able and therefore expected to work all the time. Thanks to Cy for posting these articles:

Exhaustion is not a status symbol (Washington Post

Busy is a sickness  (Huffington Post)


What is fair?

Be Still My Soul

In Jesus’ story, the landowner does something generous that he doesn’t have to do – he pays the workers who have only done an hour of work the same amount as the ones who worked all day for him. The question of what’s fair seems to rest in what character you identify with in the story. If you feel like one of the early-hired workers, then it doesn’t seem fair – your hourly wage is way less than the one hired last – 1/12th or so at the most extreme. On the other end of the scale, the person hired last probably wasn’t expecting to get paid for the whole day, so the denarius feels like a very welcome gift, not something earned – an unexpected escape from going to bed with a hungry family. In the kingdom of God, Jesus seems to say, everybody has enough to eat, whether they earn it or not.

I of course, just like with the story of the prodigal son, identify right away with the people who feel like they’ve worked really hard, done the right thing, and are getting cheated in the deal. I think moving out of this space means recognizing that, 1. no, actually, I’m fooling myself  about some of my own behavior, a perfectly human and frequently problematic way of doing things, and 2. God’s grace is so extravagant, so tremendous, that it actually can never be earned. That’s the whole point of grace. God’s love, the wonders of this world, the beauty of love and life, all come without asking, and without price.


Living into it

Ain’t No Grave

This leads me to suggest two spiritual practices – 1. honest self-examination (coincidentally, we’ll be talking about The Examen at Wednesday’s soup supper and 2. gratitude. We move into God’s kingdom by recognizing again and again the bounty of God’s grace and our own limitations in the face of it. And, as we move into that kingdom, we also move toward a world where everyone, no matter their ability to earn it, has the things they need, their daily bread, to survive.

Thanks be to God. Amen.


So, put it in the comments! Does this seem fair? How good is this news if you’re currently first in line? What about if you’re currently last? Where does the unearned, generous nature of God’s love and grace come in?

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No in-person worship this week – Annual Meeting postponed

Rainbow by Steve Snodgrass smallWhat with the freezing rain predictions, we’re not going to be getting together tonight for worship. Come back to the website in the afternoon for reflections on the week’s scripture, and stay tuned for a new Annual Meeting date.

Science brunch at 10 is still on. :)


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Tony Simmons gets some great press

hch3 - CopyWe’ve had the great joy to work with Tony Simmons when we do our volunteer work with our homeless neighbors in Baltimore (that’s him in the gray trenchcoat in the photo during one of our volunteer events). Tony is a phenomenal advocate and we were thrilled to see this great NPR piece about his hard work.

“You must start with yourself. Get up. Get going. No excuses. That’s what I tell myself every morning after prayer. ‘Cause every time I help one person, I get a little part of me back,” Simmons says.

Tony is an awesome guy and we’re better people for knowing him and working with him. Great job, Tony!

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Coming in January – Authentic Relationships Sermon Series

WhaBird in handt are the building blocks for good relationships? And what ancient wisdom does the Christian tradition hold? Join us for a thought-provoking exploration of love, the Bible, and living it out in real life.

Jan 11—Honesty
Jan 18—Self-Awareness
Jan 25—Kindness
Feb 1—Acceptance

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Christmas Eve Worship at six:eight

Christmas Stuff 01 Small by Luciano Martin 5647050185_b36f671f6d_o


Join us on Christmas Eve, December 24th, as we celebrate the birth of Jesus!

The service is at 5pm, with candlelight, traditional carols sung in a bluegrass style, and all the magic of Christmas. Come as you are to experience this story of love, joy, and wonder.

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Donations needed for helping our homeless neighbors on 11/23

lunches3We’ll be distributing fruit, bottled water, and winter supplies to our homeless neighbors along The Fallsway in Baltimore on, Sunday, Nov. 23, at 2:30pm. Want to donate and/or come with us? Email Heather! If you can’t make it, you can still donate,  of course. You can see what winter supplies are needed here on this wish list (PDF) from Health Care from the Homeless.

We’ve done this numerous times now over the years, partnering with Tony Simmons of the Homelessness Speakers Bureau. Tony walks with us and talks to us more about the realities of being homeless in Baltimore and how we can help in the short- and long-term.

Please donate and/or join us on Sunday!

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Make your commitment to another year with six:eight

As we gear up for 2015, this is a great time to consider what your commitmeRainbow by Steve Snodgrass smallnt will be to six:eight’s mission of connecting people to each other, to God and to making a difference. The 2015 commitment card is a chance to put in writing what you plan to invest in terms of time, talent and treasure to this mission. We’ll begin receiving pledges on November 9th at the 5 o’clock service. Thank you for being part of our success!  2015 Community Commitment Card

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Volunteers needed for November community service project!

bingo-cardOur November community service project is Tuesday, November 18, at 6:30pm. We’ll be running a bingo night over at Keswick Multicare (nursing home) in Hampden. We’ll be calling out numbers and assisting the folks who need a little help filling their bingo cards.

We always have a blast and the seniors who live at Keswick really look forward to it! We’ll be done a little after 8pm that night.

RSVP to Heather if you can make it. Or if you can’t, let Heather know if you’d like to donate some small prizes.

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