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Pastor Donald B. ShenkWe invite you to worship with our faith community. We are a close-knit group of families, neighbors, and friends who strive to discover God’s direction for our lives. We encourage searching minds and spirits as we celebrate together our faith in God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, through the guidance of the Holy Scriptures. Emphasizing individual choice and conviction, members follow the Word of God according to the dictates of their own consciences. Our church is called “Congregational”, reflecting our heritage in the New England Pilgrim experience in which local congregations retain control of their own decisions and direction. We are also a member church of the United Church of Christ denomination, which is dedicated to realizing God’s just and loving purpose in the world.

Pastor Donald B. Shenk
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GOD, RID ME OF GOD

Matt Laney, Pastor and StillSpeaking Devotional Writer

“‘I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, who is, and who was, and who is to come.” – Revelation 1:8

Every so often someone will confide this to me: “I’m not sure I believe in God anymore…” It’s a refreshing confession compared to flashing one’s piety around the minister. Taking cues from William Sloane Coffin, I inquire: “Tell me about the God you don’t believe in.”

They might describe an image of God they rightly outgrew decades ago: an old man in the sky doling out rewards and punishments while, paradoxically, not doing enough to stop evil. I can honestly respond: “I don’t believe in that God either. Tell me about the God you would embrace.”

Often they say something like: “I’d embrace a God big enough to hold all reality yet close and personal enough to care about me.” To this I respond: “That’s the God I know and experience in Christ.”

If we ever think we have outgrown God, we are mistaken. What we have outgrown is not God. What we have outgrown is an image, concept or idea about God. The goal is not to replace one concept for another but to go beyond all concepts.

The 13th century theologian, Meister Eckhart, prayed, “God, rid me of God,” which sounds absurd. Eckhart’s aim, I believe, was to get free of ideas, even good and holy ones, which would inevitably limit direct experience of divine reality. Words matter, images help, concepts point us in the right direction, and they are a poor substitute for the One who is the beginning and the end.

Prayer
Alpha and Omega, I rejoice that I am always at the beginning, and will never outgrow you.