Preparing for Worship

mustain-heather_138x197.jpgPsalm 23, a psalm of confidence or trust, is probably the best-known and most-loved psalm in the Psalter. A psalm that metaphorically speaks of God as both caring shepherd and gracious host.

A few weeks ago, upon invitation, I presented to the second and third grade classes of William Lipscomb Elementary. It was their annual career day, and I’ll admit I felt a bit awkward claiming my vocation as a minister in a public school setting, but even more so as I bumped elbows with highly educated and qualified engineers, musicians, IT specialists, servicemen and funeral directors at the welcome breakfast. Claiming clergy status in public can be a great conversation opener, but more often than not, for me, it’s a killer. I’m small in stature, young and a female, not necessarily the typical “pastoral” image.

I knew I had 30-minute rotations to fill, and while brainstorming ideas as to how to clearly articulate the role of a minister, and mine in particular, I decided to use the metaphor of a shepherd. I began my presentation by explaining my journey to ordination and Wilshire, included my educational background and my more formative mission team experiences. Finally, I showed the kids a picture of a shepherd on a hillside and asked them to identify the little boy’s role.

The richness of the metaphor immediately fell flat. Unlike the original and intended audience of the Psalter, the metaphor didn’t translate well to a modern, urban setting. The teachers and I had a good laugh, and I continued on with the metaphor anyway. I explained that as a minister, my main roles are to provide nourishment, guidance and to offer a sense of protection to our community, making sure no sheep gets left behind to vulnerability.

And in order to do this, I went on to explain, ministers have to embody certain characteristics. Love has to be central, a love of God, of self and others. It is the glue that holds everything together. It takes compassion and humility, kindness and the ability to admit our own need to grow and learn from others. What I like most about being Baptist is the theological belief that although I have vocationally chosen to become a minister, God calls us all to ministry and even more so to embody the roles and characteristics of a shepherd for the sake of others.

Psalm 23 gives us the confidence that God is our shepherd and God will always embody perfectly what I or you will never be able to. I hope more than anything the students at Lipscomb Elementary now know of a church in the neighborhood where a lot of shepherds reside.

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Have you responded to the survey?

speak-up-image.jpgWilshire’s online Member Engagement survey administered by the Gallup Organization is now live. All members should have received an email from George Mason on Friday, March 24, with access to the confidential survey site.

As part of our Lenten emphasis on finding a spiritual way other than our own, the Gallup Member Engagement process will provide guidance for our Vision 20/20 strategic plan, as we seek to identify where Wilshire members believe they are doing well in their spiritual lives and where they need help in their spiritual lives. 

If you have an email address registered with Wilshire but did not receive the email, check your junk mail folder or spam filter. Paper copies also are available in the front office for those without Internet access. Or use this link to access the survey.

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Order Easter lilies

bouquet-of-white-lilies-small.jpgIt’s time to order lilies to adorn Wilshire’s Sanctuary on Easter Sunday. The flowers may be given in honor or in memory of others. A complete list of honorary designations and memorials will be published in the Easter Sunday worship folder.

Cost is $12 per plant. Memorial and honorary gifts offset budget expenditures for these seasonal decorations. Place your order using forms available in the church office or online at wilshirebc.org/registration. Deadline for inclusion in the listing is Palm Sunday, April 9.

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UT choir in concert on March 30

175x175bblonghorn.jpgThe 50-voice University of Texas Concert Chorale, under the direction of Suzanne Pence, will appear in concert at Wilshire on Thursday, March 30, at 7 p.m.  The concert, “this amazing LIFE,” will be a celebration of creation with works by Whitacre, Hindemith and featuring the masterwork In the Beginning by Aaron Copland with mezzo soprano Page Stephens. The concert is free and open to the public.

 

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MLK remembrance April 4

220px-martin_luther_king-sm.jpgApril 4 is the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s famous speech Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence given at The Riverside Church in New York City. Wilshire will join Riverside and other churches around the country in commemorating this speech by live-streaming an evening with Michelle Alexander and Ruby Sales, voices of the past and future of the Civil Rights Movement. 

Delivered exactly one year to the day before his assassination, in Beyond Vietnam King set out a moral agenda for America to address issues of racial justice, poverty and war.  Read and here the sermon here.

All are invited to Community Hall at 7 p.m. to view the live stream, followed by a time of in-person discussion. RSVP required for child care only (birth through sixth grade). 

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Holy Week and Easter services

During Holy Week, Wilshire will offer brief midday worship experiences in McIver Chapel at 12:15 p.m. Monday through Friday, April 10-14.

On Maundy Thursday, April 13, the traditional worship in the Sanctuary will be led at 7:30 p.m. by the Sanctuary Choir using selections from Bob Chilcott’s Saint John Passion as the centerpiece, in addition to the Lord’s Supper. Soloists will tell the passion story through the voices of key characters, with the choir representing both the crowd and the Roman soldiers. 

On Easter Sunday April 16, two identical worship services will be offered in the Sanctuary at 8:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.

Also, the annual community Easter sunrise service will be at TP Hill at White Rock Lake at 7 a.m.  on April 16. This is a come-as-you-are event that lasts about 30 minutes.

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News Briefs

UT choir concert. The 50-voice University of Texas Concert Chorale, under the direction of Suzanne Pence, will appear in concert at Wilshire this Thursday, March 30, at 7 p.m. in the Sanctuary. The concert is free and open to the public.

Weekly Witness. The March 27 Weekly Witness legislative briefing from Texas Impact will focus on the death penalty. Join the dialogue in Room 3301 at noon tomorrow or contact Katie Murray for a link to watch the briefing from work or home. 

Computer classes. A new term of Wilshire’s free computer classes will begin on Tuesday, March 28. Classes will be offered for PC and Mac users as well as for iPads. iPhones and Android devices. Attend one of two registration sessions, Tuesday morning at 9:30 or Tuesday evening at 6:00 in Room 3103. Classes will begin the following week and run for six weeks. For more information, contact Max Post at (214) 823-6733. 

Interfaith program. George Mason will be the featured speaker at an “Exploring Faiths” event sponsored by the Dialogue Institute Southwest on Thursday, April 6, at 6:30 p.m. The Institute was established in 2002 as a nonprofit educational organization by Turkish-Americans and their friends. RSVP at www.thedialoginstitute.org for the free event, which will begin with a simple dinner at 6:30, followed by the presentation at 7 p.m. Location is the Turquoise Center at 1416 E. Collins Blvd., Richardson. 

Wednesday adult classes. Three Wednesday evening classes for adults are currently offered at 6 p.m.: Mark Wingfield continues a weekly Lenten dialogue about the daily devotional book A Way Other than Our Own by Walter Brueggemann in Room 1205-H. Pastoral residents are leading a four-week study titled “Praying in Poems,” exploring the works of great poets, in Room 1205-L. Heather Mustain and Katie Murray are leading a study on “Faith and Immigration” in Room 1205-G.

Life Line Screenings. Preventive health screenings will be offered at Wilshire on Monday, April 10, through Life Line Screening. Three key tests check for blocked carotid arteries, an irregular heart rhythm called atrial fibrillation, and high blood pressure, which are the three leading risk factors for stroke. Other tests check for abdominal aortic aneurysms and hardening of the arteries in the legs, as well as bone density screening to assess osteoporosis risk. Single tests cost about $70, and combination packages are available. To schedule an appointment, call (888) 653-6441 or go to lifelinescreening.com/communitycircle

Condolences to: Amy Duval on the death of her grandson, and Jerry and Carole Duval on the death of their great-grandson, Allister Hyder, March 20; Sarah and Allan Stafford on the death of Sarah’s uncle, Leslie Shelburne, March 18. Ann Marie and Mark Mihm on the death of Ann Marie’s stepbrother, Kip Heuertz, March 21. 

New member: William “Scott” Igo.

Koinonia Café March 29: Beef stroganoff, tomato-herb chicken, buttered noodles, green bean casserole, fried zucchini, broccoli and cauliflower, balsamic wilted spinach, French bread, butterscotch parfait.

Foundations of Faith begins Acts and beyond. Foundations of Faith Sunday School class will begin a study of the New Testament beyond the Gospels April 9. This 38-week study includes the Acts of the Apostles, the Epistles and Revelation. The class is open to those who attend for a period or who come and stay. A variety of Wilshire members, staff and pastoral residents will lead the Bible study. The class meets in Room 3202.

Lenten art show. Visit the South Lobby for a new Lenten art exhibit titled Ecce Homo, which is Latin for “Behold the man.” This declaration refers to the presentation of Christ by the Roman ruler Pontius Pilate before the Jewish mob as described in John 19. The nationally touring show is part of the Bowden Collection and is on loan to Wilshire. 

Adventurers to Waco. Senior adults are invited on a Wilshire Adventurers day trip to Waco on March 30. Cost is $55, which covers motor coach transportation, admissions to all sites, including Mammoth National Monument, Magnolia House and the Texas Rangers Museum, as well as lunch at Buzzard Billy’s. Sign up with payment to Kathi Lyle in the associate pastor’s office at (214) 452-3130.

Brown Bag Book Club. The next Brown Bag Book Club will be Thursday, April 6, discussing Whistler by John Grisham. Bring a lunch and come join the conversation at noon in Room 1205-L. No reservation is required, and guests are welcome.

RoughRiders Baseball game. As part of Wilshire’s Wednesday night Music and Missions program, the Young Musicians (4th-6th graders) will travel to Frisco on April 8-9 on a music and missions trip.  On Saturday, April 8 at 7:05 p.m., they will sing the national anthem at the RoughRiders baseball game. Senior Pastor George Mason will throw out the first pitch. Extra tickets to the RoughRiders game are available via wilshirebc.org/registration or in the church office for $20 per person, which includes admission plus all-you-can-eat hot dogs, brats, chips, peanuts and Dr Pepper products. Also, those who have already ordered tickets online can now pick them up in the church office.

Vision Day. All adults and any interested youth are invited to Vision Day on Sunday, April 23. Adult Sunday School will be cancelled, except for one class offered in the Parlor. Worship will continue as usual at 8:30 and 11:00. Choose from three Vision Day sessions: 8:30, 9:45 or 12:15. Vision Day will provide an opportunity to gather around tables and share stories of spiritual engagement that will help shape the church’s future through Vision 20/20.

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Ecce Homo art show on exhibit

smallboxeccehomo.jpgVisit the South Lobby for a new Lenten art exhibit titled Ecce homo, which is Latin for “behold the man.”

This declaration refers to the presentation of Christ by the Roman ruler Pontius Pilate before the Jewish mob as described in John 19. Jesus, who had been falsely accused by the high priests and elders, was beaten, mockingly dressed as a king with both a crown of thorns and a purple robe, and then presented to the mob.

The nationally touring show is part of the Bowden Collection and is on loan to Wilshire through special arrangement.

The earliest depictions of the ecce homo scene appear in the ninth and 10th centuries in the Syrian-Byzantine art. Many high-ranking Jewish officials attended the questioning of Jesus, but to remain ceremonially clean, they did not wish to enter the house of the Roman ruler. Therefore, historians believe Pilate had to bring Jesus outside of his house to present him to the crowd. The early Syrian-Byzantine artists often pictured Jesus, crowned in thorns and wearing a purple robe outside of Pilate’s palace.

In contrast to these early Christian artists who depicted the presentation in its entirety, many 15th century artists began to portray a wounded Jesus alone with a focus on the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Historians surmise that this image became almost a symbolic remembrance of the event. This idea developed around 1400 in Burgundy and then spread in popularity to Northern Europe

The ecce homo scene has three main characters who represent the struggles within each of us—Pilate, the mob and Jesus.

Show curator Sandra Bowden suggests when viewing this art to be reminded that you have the option to be any of the three. “Sometimes we respond like the mob of Jewish officials, who were so blinded by their self-centeredness that they could not recognize the Messiah. Other times we act like Pontius Pilate, whose ambivalent nature and inability to use his power for truth resulted in the death of Jesus. Or, we can be like Jesus, who while we were yet sinners suffered the ultimate rejection and followed his Father’s will. He utterly submitted himself to God’s will and this is what he requires of us.” 

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George Mason interfaith dialogue

George Mason will be the featured speaker at an “Exploring Faiths” event sponsored by the Dialogue Institute Southwest on Thursday, April 6, at 6:30 p.m.

The Institute was established in 2002 as a nonprofit educational organization by Turkish-Americans and their friends.

The April program will focus on the history and beliefs of Baptists, with attention to the Baptist view of Jesus, individual practice of faith, views on social justice, race and gender, mission and community service.

RSVP at www.thedialoginstitute.org for the free event, which will begin with a simple dinner at 6:30, followed by the presentation at 7 p.m. Location is the Turquoise Center at 1416 E. Collins Blvd., Richardson. 

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Weekly Witness every Monday

legislative-session-sml.jpgContinuing every Monday in March and April, Wilshire will be a livestream site for legislative briefings offered by Texas Impact.

Coordinated by Katie Murray and the Christian Advocacy Committee, these are part of Wilshire’s public witness through Christian advocacy. 

“As Texas enters the 85th Legislative session, we have an opportunity to use our voices to create change that positively impacts our state,” said Katie, Wilshire’s Christian advocacy specialist. “Each Monday we will livestream a legislative briefing, hear from one of our mission partners directly impacted by this policy, and have the opportunity to respond as we individually feel called. Bring a lunch and join the conversation.” 

The event will be held each Monday in Room 3301 from noon to 1 p.m., except during Holy Week (April 10) when the start time will be 12:45. Anyone desiring to participate remotely may contact Katie for an online link.

The remaining schedule of topics is:

  • April 3: Public education 
  • April 10: Foster care and domestic violence  *(WW not meeting because of Holy Week, but livestream can be viewed via Facebook)
  • April 17: Immigrants, refugees and human trafficking
  • April 24: Climate, water, energy and other environmental issues
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