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- September 24, 2023 | 4:15 PM62 E 92nd St, New York, NY 10128, USA
- September 26, 2023 | 9:00 PM62 E 92nd St, New York, NY 10128, USA
- September 27, 2023 | 12:00 PM62 E 92nd St, New York, NY 10128, USA
- Weekly Events | Brick Church
Weekly Events The Brick Church recognizes that one of the challenges of living in a large city is creating a way to reach beyond the anonymity to live in community. One of the ways we seek to do this is by creating opportunities for men’s, women’s and co-ed ministries through specific events, but also through education, outreach, and worship programming. Below is a typical week at Brick Church between Labor Day to Memorial Day. Sundays 9:00 AM - 8th Grade Confirmation Class 9:00 AM - Sunday Child Care 9:30 AM - Adult Education 11:00 AM - Sunday Church School 11:00 AM - Sunday Worship 12:00 PM - Coffee Hour 12:15 PM - High School Youth Group 12:30 PM - Prayer Partners 12:30 PM - Prayer Shawl Knitting (Monthly) Mondays 12:00 PM - Working Women's Bible Study (Monthly) 6:00 PM - Bridge Class 6:00 PM - Pickleball Group 7:00 PM - Book Club (Monthly) Tuesdays 9:30 AM - Parent's Morning Out 5:00 PM - Tuesday Night Dinner Party Wednesdays 3:00 PM - Cherub Choir 3:40 PM - Carol Choir 4:30 PM - St. Cecilia Choir 6:00 PM - Wednesday Evening Worship 6:45 PM - Co-Ed Bible Study (Semi-monthly) Thursdays 7:45 AM - Men's Bible Study 9:15 AM - Women's Bible Study 4:00 PM - Pickleball Group Saturday 10:00 AM - Pickleball Group Full Calendar Our semi-weekly Newsletter delivers Brick Church news to your inbox. Sign Up Here (O pt out anytime) Subscribe Thanks for submitting!
- Events | Brick Church
Featured Events Men's Bible Study Thu, Sep 14 The Session Room Sep 14, 2023, 7:45 AM – May 16, 2024, 8:45 AM The Session Room, 62 E 92nd St, New York, NY 10128, USA Sep 14, 2023, 7:45 AM – May 16, 2024, 8:45 AM The Session Room, 62 E 92nd St, New York, NY 10128, USA Join us for a weekly Men's Bible Study. We'd love to see you there! Learn more Women's Bible Study Thu, Sep 14 The Session Room Sep 14, 2023, 9:15 AM – May 16, 2024, 10:15 AM The Session Room, 62 E 92nd St, New York, NY 10128, USA Sep 14, 2023, 9:15 AM – May 16, 2024, 10:15 AM The Session Room, 62 E 92nd St, New York, NY 10128, USA Join the Women's Bible Study for an enriching and transformative journey through Scripture. We would love to see you there! Learn more Foundations of Our Faith Sun, Sep 17 The Living Room Sep 17, 9:30 AM – Oct 01, 10:30 AM The Living Room, 62 E 92nd St, New York, NY 10128, USA Sep 17, 9:30 AM – Oct 01, 10:30 AM The Living Room, 62 E 92nd St, New York, NY 10128, USA Join Rev. Dr. Thomas Evans for an insightful discussion about the foundations of our faith Learn more Working Women's Lunch Mon, Sep 18 The Dining Room Sep 18, 2023, 12:00 PM – May 13, 2024, 1:00 PM The Dining Room, 62 E 92nd St, New York, NY 10128, USA Sep 18, 2023, 12:00 PM – May 13, 2024, 1:00 PM The Dining Room, 62 E 92nd St, New York, NY 10128, USA Join this special lunchtime Bible study for working women! Learn more High School Youth Group Sun, Sep 24 The Brick Presbyterian Church Sep 24, 2023, 12:15 PM – Apr 14, 2024, 2:00 PM The Brick Presbyterian Church, 62 E 92nd St, New York, NY 10128, USA Sep 24, 2023, 12:15 PM – Apr 14, 2024, 2:00 PM The Brick Presbyterian Church, 62 E 92nd St, New York, NY 10128, USA We have an awesome lineup of activities, games, and unforgettable moments planned just for you! Learn more Tuesday Night Dinner Party Tue, Sep 26 The Brick Presbyterian Church Sep 26, 2023, 5:00 PM – May 28, 2024, 7:00 PM The Brick Presbyterian Church, 62 E 92nd St, New York, NY 10128, USA Sep 26, 2023, 5:00 PM – May 28, 2024, 7:00 PM The Brick Presbyterian Church, 62 E 92nd St, New York, NY 10128, USA Serve God by serving others at Tuesday Night Dinner Program! Learn more Breakfast Discussion with Prof. Laurence Jurdem Wed, Sep 27 The Carnegie Room Sep 27, 8:00 AM – 9:00 AM The Carnegie Room, 62 E 92nd St, New York, NY 10128, USA Sep 27, 8:00 AM – 9:00 AM The Carnegie Room, 62 E 92nd St, New York, NY 10128, USA Please join us as Laurence Jurdem presents his latest work, The Rough Rider and the Professor. Learn more Fall Fling 2023 Thu, Sep 28 The Garden Sep 28, 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM The Garden, 62 E 92nd St, New York, NY 10128, USA Sep 28, 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM The Garden, 62 E 92nd St, New York, NY 10128, USA The Fall Fling is the perfect occasion to connect with fellow congregants, forge new friendships, and strengthen existing bonds. Learn more World Communion Sunday Sun, Oct 01 The Sanctuary Oct 01, 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM The Sanctuary, 1140 Park Ave, New York, NY 10128, USA Oct 01, 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM The Sanctuary, 1140 Park Ave, New York, NY 10128, USA We are so excited to celebrate World Communion Day and represent the global church! Learn more Sacraments Class for 2nd and 3rd Graders Sun, Oct 01 Watson Hall Oct 01, 11:15 AM – 12:00 PM Watson Hall, 62 E 92nd St, New York, NY 10128, USA Oct 01, 11:15 AM – 12:00 PM Watson Hall, 62 E 92nd St, New York, NY 10128, USA The Children's Ministry kindly invites our 2nd and 3rd graders to join us for a sacraments class! Learn more Men's Association Oktoberfest Thu, Oct 12 The Garden Oct 12, 6:00 PM – 8:30 PM The Garden, 62 E 92nd St, New York, NY 10128, USA Oct 12, 6:00 PM – 8:30 PM The Garden, 62 E 92nd St, New York, NY 10128, USA Please join us for a memorable evening of fellowship, good food, good drink, and singing! Learn more Festival of Hymnody: The Story of Salvation Sun, Oct 15 The Sanctuary Oct 15, 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM The Sanctuary, 1140 Park Ave, New York, NY 10128, USA Oct 15, 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM The Sanctuary, 1140 Park Ave, New York, NY 10128, USA Our eighth annual Festival of Hymnody traces the story of God’s love through favorite hymns for choir, brass, and congregation. Learn more Pioneers Youth Group Sun, Oct 15 The Brick Presbyterian Church Oct 15, 12:15 PM – 2:00 PM The Brick Presbyterian Church, 62 E 92nd St, New York, NY 10128, USA Oct 15, 12:15 PM – 2:00 PM The Brick Presbyterian Church, 62 E 92nd St, New York, NY 10128, USA Calling all Pioneers (5th - 7th Graders)! Get ready for a day filled with inspiration, connection, and impactful actions as we come together to read scripture, pray, eat, play games, and engage in meaningful mission projects. Learn more New Member Reception Sun, Oct 22 The Manse Oct 22, 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM The Manse, 17 E 89th St, New York, NY 10128, USA Oct 22, 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM The Manse, 17 E 89th St, New York, NY 10128, USA New members of The Brick Church are cordially invited to a joyous reception party at The Manse, the residence of Pastor Tom Evans! Learn more Organ Recital: Thomas Ospital Tue, Oct 24 The Sanctuary Oct 24, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM The Sanctuary, 1140 Park Ave, New York, NY 10128, USA Oct 24, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM The Sanctuary, 1140 Park Ave, New York, NY 10128, USA Acclaimed French organist Thomas Ospital will make his New York City debut with a recital at Brick Church. Learn more Masterclass: Thomas Ospital Wed, Oct 25 The Sanctuary Oct 25, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM The Sanctuary, 1140 Park Ave, New York, NY 10128, USA Oct 25, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM The Sanctuary, 1140 Park Ave, New York, NY 10128, USA The day after his solo recital, Thomas Ospital returns to Brick Church to teach a masterclass with students from the New York area. Learn more Pledge Dedication Sunday Sun, Oct 29 The Sanctuary Oct 29, 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM The Sanctuary, 1140 Park Ave, New York, NY 10128, USA Oct 29, 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM The Sanctuary, 1140 Park Ave, New York, NY 10128, USA Join us for Pledge Dedication Sunday where we will pledge our support and commitment to Brick Church for 2024! Learn more Kirkin' of the Tartan Service Sun, Oct 29 The Sanctuary Oct 29, 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM The Sanctuary, 1140 Park Ave, New York, NY 10128, USA Oct 29, 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM The Sanctuary, 1140 Park Ave, New York, NY 10128, USA Join us as we celebrate the annual Kirkin' of the Tartans! Learn more Load More Our semi-weekly Newsletter delivers Brick Church news to your inbox. Sign Up Here (O pt out anytime) Subscribe Thanks for submitting!
- Ministry of Music | Brick Church
Ministry of Music Sacred music proclaims the Word of God and gives us glimpses of God’s beauty. The voices of the Chancel Choir lead us each Sunday in prayer and praise, and our Worship & Arts series presents special musical events throughout the season. Music at Brick is led by Minister of Music Raymond Nagem . Our congregation loves to sing, and we lift our voices in worship to sing what we believe. The words and music of our hymns, drawn from the early days of the Church all the way to the 21st century, bind us together as a community and teach the central ideas of our faith. To learn more about A Legacy of Sacred Songs, a collection of Brick Church’s favorite hymns, click here . Upcoming Events Festival of Hymnody: The Story of Salvation Sun, Oct 15 The Sanctuary Oct 15, 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM The Sanctuary, 1140 Park Ave, New York, NY 10128, USA Oct 15, 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM The Sanctuary, 1140 Park Ave, New York, NY 10128, USA Our eighth annual Festival of Hymnody traces the story of God’s love through favorite hymns for choir, brass, and congregation. Learn more Organ Recital: Thomas Ospital Tue, Oct 24 The Sanctuary Oct 24, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM The Sanctuary, 1140 Park Ave, New York, NY 10128, USA Oct 24, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM The Sanctuary, 1140 Park Ave, New York, NY 10128, USA Acclaimed French organist Thomas Ospital will make his New York City debut with a recital at Brick Church. Learn more Masterclass: Thomas Ospital Wed, Oct 25 The Sanctuary Oct 25, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM The Sanctuary, 1140 Park Ave, New York, NY 10128, USA Oct 25, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM The Sanctuary, 1140 Park Ave, New York, NY 10128, USA The day after his solo recital, Thomas Ospital returns to Brick Church to teach a masterclass with students from the New York area. Learn more Chancel Choir The professional singers of the Chancel Choir include some of New York City’s finest choral musicians, who are also extraordinary soloists in their own right. The choir sings each week during Sunday worship, as well as at special services for Christmas, Holy Week, and Easter. The Chancel Choir also includes volunteer choristers with excellent sight-reading and musicianship skills. To arrange an audition, contact Raymond Nagem . Listen Here Youth Choir Brick Church offers children exceptional opportunities to lead worship through music. Led by Julianna Grabowski , the Youth Choirs learn a wide variety of music, grow in faith, and develop vocal skills for a lifetime of joyful music making. The choirs rehearse on Wednesday afternoons, and sing regularly on Sundays, as well as at signature events such as the Park Avenue Tree Lighting. Register Worship & Arts Brick Church opens its doors and welcomes all to experience the joyous, uplifting power of the performing arts. Music, dance, and drama can comfort, inspire, challenge, and bring us closer to the divine, showing us God’s glory reflected in all beautiful things. In addition to incorporating music and the arts into our regular worship services, we host multiple special events throughout the year. Click below for this season's flyer. Learn More Our Instruments Brick Church has two world-class pipe organs: the Sanctuary organ built by Casavant Frères (2005) and the Chapel organ built by Guilbault-Thérien (1996). Also in the Sanctuary is a fully restored 1898 Steinway “C” grand piano. Learn More Dr. Raymond Nagem Minister of Music and Organist firstname.lastname@example.org Julianna Grabowski Director of Children’s Music Ministries email@example.com Daniel Jacky Wilson Family Sacred Music Intern firstname.lastname@example.org Learn More Our semi-weekly Newsletter delivers Brick Church news to your inbox. Sign Up Here (O pt out anytime) Subscribe Thanks for submitting!
- The Story of Salvation: The Fall
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39 Last week, we began exploring the one story of the Bible. Scripture is a complex book because there is poetry. There is history and biographies of a sort, and there is apocalyptic literature with terrifying images of monsters. It can be hard to find the thread of what the story is all about, and my hope is by the end of the series, the one story of the Bible known as “The Salvation History of God,” will become clear. We began by exploring paradise, the perfect place in which humanity is at one with God, each other, and with creation, and today human brokenness enters into our story. But despite this reality, we will find that this story ends even better than it began! Better than paradise, so tune in over the next few weeks to discover what that is. But sadly, there is a tremendous amount of heartache and tragedy that leads the way. The story of Adam and Eve in Genesis, chapter 3 gets at the most intractable of problems within the human condition: our ability to shoot ourselves in the foot, so to speak, when all is right with the world. Yet in some ways, it seems the fall of humanity is inevitable; a finite creature of flesh and blood, subject to sleep deprivation, hunger, and disease, endowed with free will? And besides, endless bliss is boring. I love sitting on the beach, feeling the mist of the ocean spray, hearing the waves crash on the surf…but frankly, my patience only lasts about an hour, and then I’m ready to move on to something more exciting. On a visit to Augusta National, perhaps the most famous golf course in the world, at first, I was awed by how perfectly everything was maintained. Not a blade of grass out of place! But by the end, I was frustrated. Show me a weed, please! Surely God made humanity for something more than endless strolls in beautiful gardens. Adam and Eve must’ve gotten stir-crazy. They wanted some weeds. And they wanted to be something more, but sadly they wanted to become something more than they were spiritually ready for, they wanted to become as gods, with the knowledge of good and evil. And there are a few facts within this story – telling things within the story that at first reading, we may not catch – that show how, despite its age, scripture’s keen insight remains perfectly pertinent. Very quickly, the blame game enters the human heart. Eve blames the serpent, and Adam, blames God! “The woman YOU gave me offered me the fruit!” Secondly, perhaps even more tragically, those in power to shape this story in the retelling multiplied sin upon sin! For centuries men twisted this story to justify patriarchy! But it is telling that the Bible does not blame Eve more than Adam, but both equally, and in fact, the Apostle Paul, in the New Testament, blames the original sin on Adam not Eve. The whole rest of the Bible is trying to undo this fundamental brokenness within the human heart, our propensity to push each other down; our fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of God, and ourselves. This becomes clear in Paul’s words to the Galatians. “No longer male nor female; slave no free; Jew nor Greek, all are one in Christ.” Paul is telling the Galatians and us to stop this nonsense. The priorities and the power dynamics have all been leveled. It is meant to be the unwinding of original sin. But we are not yet at the end of the story. And we daily face the nature of this powerful Tree of Knowledge. Will we choose good or will we choose evil? Despite our sin, God doesn’t want us beating our breast all day in anguish. Rather God wants us to add to the goodness of the world, for the only thing that can overcome evil is the power of love. How will you use your power and your knowledge to be a force of good for God’s sake?! How are you going to work to let them know that God; that through God, we are more than conquerors. As the Apostle Paul wrote, “nothing can separate us from God, not death, not earthly powers, nothing in all creation can separate us from the love of God in Christ, Jesus, our Lord!” God calls us to be people of courage and of action; one man, one woman, one person can make a difference! Look at the life of Stew Clifford, God rest his soul, longtime member of Brick Church, specifically in his support of the Seminarian Program. Through his generosity an entire generation of pastors were nurtured by Brick, and they are now all around the world sharing God’s love. Just last year one of our interns wrote these words: The Brick Presbyterian Church …changed my life and deepened my faith. This program will always be responsible for connecting me with the place and the congregation where I first waded into the waters of ministry, where I felt the presence of God in helping to lead worship, where my discernment became formed. …I had the privilege to be surrounded by an unbelievably hardworking and talented team of ministers and staff. All of these things I will cherish and carry with me throughout my life and especially throughout my ministry, which, in no small part due to this program, I am excited to begin. My Seminarian Internship here has been without a doubt the most important part of my education and formation at Princeton Theological Seminary. That is a legacy that Mr. Clifford left us. Using your resources and choosing good one day at a time can be phenomenally powerful. And resources are not only counted by dollars in the bank. In the ninth grade, my brothers, father, and I spent the summer in San Luis, Colorado living in a trailer with a woman of titanic strength and grit, Thea Adler. She was gruff and foreboding and more than a little scary to a 14-year-old boy. I learned she was a force to be reckoned with. She fought for water rights for the local people, she fed the hungry, she clothed the naked, she lived out the mandates of God. Twenty years later I took a mission trip back to that valley. Thea had passed away by that time, but the story of her love had only grown stronger. Though she had almost no dollars in the bank, her investment in people for her whole life turned her into a legend of good for the choices she made. But of course, the good and the evil are not always so easy to distinguish. At times it is so impossibly difficult to not only do the right thing, but to know what the right thing is. Because God has imbued us with such fantastic potency that we have such astounding capacity not only for good, but for evil. For those of you who have seen the absolutely stunning and remarkable movie,Oppenheimer, directed by Christopher Nolan, you remember an early scene in which Oppenheimer approaches Einstein with his fear that a bomb might ignite the atmosphere, thus setting the entire world on fire and destroying humanity in one stroke. This turns out not to be the case, as we know from history. But near the end of the movie, Oppenheimer visits Einstein again. “When I came to you with those calculations, we thought we might start a chain reaction that might destroy the entire world.” “What of it?” Einstein replies. The camera holds on Oppenheimer's face for a beat, and then he says the dagger of a line, “I believe we did.” Oppenheimer’s fears eerily reflect the events of Adam and Eve and the situation. Each of us finds ourselves in a daily battle. We have knowledge, we have power, and even in trying to do good we can also do harm. But the Bible’s message is always ultimately one of hope. Hope in God. And this brings us to Maltbie Babcock, Brick minister who wrote another favorite hymn of mine. He tragically died after pastoring here for only a year in the 1901. “Though Babcock only served our congregation for 18 months, he made a lasting impact on both the church and community. In February of 1901, Babcock traveled to Egypt and the Holy Land, and died suddenly in Naples en route home three months later.” (Brick Hymn notes) ….After his death, his wife Katherine Babcock published several of his poem’s including This is My Father’s World. The tune that accompanies it is sweet, endearing us to a God who claims us as children. And the text tells us in whose hands the battle rests. This is my Father's world: Oh let me ne’er forget; that though the wrong seems oft so strong God is the ruler yet, This is my father’s world The battle is not done Jesus who died shall be satisfied and earth and heaven be one Use your knowledge to choose the good and know that when we inevitably fail, the battle and our story is not done until that day when God in Jesus Christ unites earth and heaven into one, Amen.
- The Story of Salvation: Created Out of Love
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. - Romans 8:38-39 After two thousand years and more, one might reasonably assume that we have learned all there is to know about the Bible. But it is the story about God so there will always be more to understand. Over the next several weeks we shall distill this book into one theme and hopefully by the end of this series you will have a grasp of that plot line – God’s Salvation of humankind. It is complex so most of it is written as story, humankind’s way of making meaning out of diverse events and finding purpose. I used to be concerned with finding meaning from scripture by determining which events I thought were true and which were just stories. But a medical doctor turned preacher convinced me I was on the wrong path when he said, “I no longer try to turn it into a completely explained rational phenomenon… I wanted everything explained as medical student, but the further I went along… the mystery came back in; science does not explain everything… The further I got down the path of faith, the less important explaining it all seemed to be; I am happy with mystery but want to keep exploring it.” Story and art have that same power to become something greater than the sum of its parts. True art is more than the sum of its colors and shadows of light and dark; true art comes to us in the form of a lightning rod attached to your soul. When I first saw Van Gogh’s Starry NightI felt as If I was transported to this magical, mysterious place. I feel that lightning rod, that mystery, that meteor on my soul when I hear the first chapters of Genesis. And for me whether or not Adam and Eve are real people is beside the point; either way I most powerfully and passionately, perhaps more than anything, believe in the story of Genesis 1 and 2 and the whole story of God’s love found in the Bible. And it is an incredible story. The greatest story ever told. There are heroes, and villains, fantastic miracles, epic battles of good versus evil, human frailty along with historic courage, poetry and poignancy, tales of romance and treachery, God… born, God… murdered, God… resurrected, humankind… saved. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Our story, this story starts at the very beginning. No,not like fairy tales, or action movies. The actual beginning of EVERYTHING! We find ourselves in paradise, the Garden of Eden where there is perfect harmony between God and us, between people and the planet. All that is needed is there. It is a vision of shalom, a wholeness, a unity of all things. And God has fashioned all of it out of overflowing love. I have felt this universal harmony while standing atop the Grand Tetons in Wyoming and gazing at the Snake River below, the majesty and grandeur, the beauty is mesmerizing. Perfect. And in our story today there is true humanity found, uttered by Adam as he seeks to find a partner to dwell in paradise, apparently even paradise isn’t perfect until you find someone you love; when Eve finally comes you can almost feel his heart mend and soar, “At last bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh!” Now it truly is perfect. Now it is complete. There are no clothes, because there is no shame. It almost cannot be imagined. A world without shame, without guilt, without fear. This is the world God created for us. This is how we were meant to live and be with one another. The whole rest of the Bible is about getting us back to this place… But in truth to something even better, BETTER THAN PARADISE! These chapters of Genesis were written during the time Israel emerged into the Promised Land and while they were living amongst their enemies in Babylon. This story was written with a purpose; to combat the false narratives these other cultures were telling. There were popular tales from other religions and cultures, such as the Epic of Enuma Elish and the Epic of Atrahasis they told of ancient battles amongst the gods fighting for supremacy. Stories of evil, gods slain, whose carcass created the heavens and the earth. Stories about the nature of humanity not made out of love, but rather made to be slaves of the gods out of the blood droppings of a despotic tyrannical and nasty jealous god! In contrast, what does this beautiful story of Genesis teach us… But the heavens and the earth are created by the will of God, and that they are beautiful, and that they are good, and that they are very, very, very good, and that humanity far from being created to be slaves out of something evil, that we were created out of love to offer joy and praise. But it is not only authors, ancient or modern, that weave stories, but each one of us! The stories we tell of ourselves in our family are the ones that shape who we are today. My story is that of being born in the jungles of Brazil. It is not simply a fact, but it creates a certain solidarity with people from that place, and for the poor and the oppressed since this is why my parents were there. It is a soul place for me and Portuguese – though I cannot speak it –ignites a part of my brain that centers me in a sublime rapturous peace. The same peace I knew as a child with my brothers and my parents. When all was good and we were all together. But just like paradise it didn’t last but that is a story for another time. You have a story that has a beginning that has shaped and molded you as well. You have the Adam – like place in which you feel, “At last, at last, at last, at last….” This soul longing of people or places was grafted by God into the human spirit that can make you experience the womb-like safety of being enveloped in love. It is your beginning, and you would do well to understand it. Brick Church has a story thanks to Deanne Turner, Margaret Stocker and others. We know the story of past pastors, and we continue to tell the story of grand elders like Ellsworth Stanton. They capture something of the core of this place, and as we weave the stories today they shape who we will be tomorrow. Brick Church has this beginning. In its January 4, 1768, issue the New York Mercury reported: On Friday last, being the first day of this year, the Presbyterians of the city, in communion with the established Church of Scotland, opened their Brick Church, lately erected on the green. The Reverend Mr. Rodgers conducted the worship and preached from these words of the Prophet Haggai: ‘I will fill this House with my Glory, saith the Lord of Hosts.’ There was a very crowded audience and by the solemnity of the occasion and the address of the Preacher, the whole assembly seemed to be impressed with a mixture of Seriousness, Gratitude and Joy, more easily conceived than expressed, and highly becoming the dedication of a House to the worship of Almighty God. That was 255 years ago! This place, this church was founded to fill the earth with praise to our maker. In fact, it is thought the first chapter of Genesis was used in worship for this same purpose: to praise our Creator! In fact, all creation was made for this purpose. As the Westminster catechism tells us. “What is the chief end of humankind? ‘To glorify God and enjoy God forever’!” And Brick has been pursuing that purpose all these years, and who knows how the story unfolds for the next quarter millennia… What we do here, in our time will write the next chapter. It has been an historic story both for this country and this denomination. During the Revolutionary War the British occupied Brick Church and frankly made a mess of it, but after the war our first pastor, John Rogers, in a supremely Christian act welcomed back the loyalists to the church. As a sign of thanksgiving none less than George Washington wrote Rogers a letter (which hangs in my study) of thanks for Rogers’ effort to heal the nation. John Rogers was also the denomination’s first moderator! The Day School too has its beginnings, some 80 years ago and because of that vision not only have we nurtured good Presbyterians, but we have shaped generations of leaders within this city and around the world. There is a story of etiquette classes in the mid-1900s. A concept that sounds archaic to us and yet it was just last year a woman from East Harlem who attended those some 50 years ago was expressing her thanks and joy of having had that opportunity. A favorite hymn of mine was written by our most famous pastor, Henry Van Dyke in the late 1800s, Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee to Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy!” Mortals, join the mighty chorus, Which the morning stars began; God's own love is reigning o’er us, Joining people hand in hand. Ever singing, march we onward, Victors in the midst of strife; Joyful music leads us sunward In the triumph song of life. That’s God’s promise. That God will triumph and restore us. This text discloses the reason for the story of Adam and Eve and of us all, thanksgiving, joyous rapturous thanksgiving for this incredible God, the gift of life and of this world. Next week our story takes us to the Fall of Humanity. Despite the tragedies this creates we will find that God’s power of goodness is more than a match for the frailty of the human heart. Amen.
- The Story of Salvation
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. - Romans 8:38-39 God’s story of salvation teaches us that the cosmos was created out of overflowing love, and this world we are given is very, VERY good! In an act of supreme generosity, each one of us was crafted with a spark of the divine within us. Even though we have strayed, God remains steadfast, assuring us that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Read below for the story of salvation in Ten Words in the Bible. Creation: Out of love, God created the universe and made humankind in the divine image. When God finished, God rested and declared it very good! Original Sin (time unknown): Humanity rebelled and was expelled from paradise, and creation suffered from the disconnection. Our perfect relationship with God and with one another was severed. [Genesis] Patriarchs and Matriarchs (about 2000): Despite our pride and neglect, God remained faithful and continued a loving relationship with humankind. God did this through a certain couple, Abraham and Sarah, their child (Isaac), and grandchild (Jacob). Through Jacob's twelve children rose the nation of Israel, and through them, God will restore and reconcile all of creation. God chose them out of abundant grace, and Abraham's trust in God. [Genesis] Exodus (1600-1200): God's people, the Israelites, because of a famine, were forced to go to Egypt. At first, they were welcomed, but then the Pharaohs turned evil and enslaved God's people for 400 years. God heard the cry of the Israelites and freed them to the promised land. The land [called Palestine, Canaan, and Israel] is a sign of their good standing with God and is intimately connected with their identity as a people. [Exodus] Judges (1200-1000): When the nation of Israel arrived at the promised land, it was inhabited. Through various battles, Israel possessed Canaan. The nation of Israel was a loosely knit group of 12 tribes (named after the sons of Jacob) that shared the belief in God but had no leader. The nation as a whole constantly disobeyed God at this time and went through a cycle of success, apostasy, defeat, repentance, and reinstatement. Certain Hebrews emerged from the tribes, called judges (Gideon, Samson, and Deborah), who helped them through these crises. [Joshua and Judges] Kings (1000-587): The Hebrew people, because of constant wars and fear of neighboring countries, wanted a king to unify their nation and make it less vulnerable to outside attack. God had been their king up to this point, but reluctantly, God agreed to give them a king (God was reluctant because God knew that human kings would abuse the power given to them). At first, despite the kings' deficiencies, it seemed the nation was stronger, but soon there was an argument about who the successor would be, and the nation split into two countries called Israel and Judah. [I, II Samuel; I, II Kings; and I, II Chronicles] Prophets (1000-500): Many of the kings were extremely wicked and led the people away from God. Because of this, the prophets arose to tell the people to return to faithfulness in God or else their nation would be destroyed. [Isaiah, Jeremiah, Amos, and Hosea] Exile (585-540): The prophets were right, and the Hebrews were taken away from their promised land given to them by God and exiled to Babylon. They were now a people without a home. [Ezekiel and Lamentations] After about 50 years, they were returned but were no longer in control of their own land. [Ezra, Nehemiah and Daniel] Messiah (0-30 A.D.): The entire history of God's people is a continual story of humankind's disobedience, disaffection from God, repentance, and reinstatement. The prophets and others realized that this would always continue unless something or someone could stop this cycle. They recognized that only a change in the nature of a person could effect a more permanent change, which could avoid continual separation. Thus, they prophesied that one would come who could permanently fix humankind's sin and separation from God. This Messiah who came was God's very Son. He died that we might be permanently restored to a right relationship with God. Apostles (30-70 A.D.): Before Jesus ascended back into heaven, he charged a group of people, the apostles, to spread the good news not only to Israel but to everyone. Thus, through Israel, all of the world was restored into a right relationship with God if they say "YES!" to the person and the work of Jesus. It was through the work of the apostles that Jesus' name was spread throughout the Earth, particularly the work of Paul. [Romans, Galatians, and Corinthians] Prayer of Confession Lord, You have loved us immeasurably through Your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. He has blessed us with salvation but we have sought other paths to find meaning and hope. We have allowed our fears to erode our trust in You and the path to life that You have given us. Give us strength to live as people of Your way, filled with the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. Amen.