Ordinary Goodness in Gathering Together, AND...

Ordinary Goodness in Gathering Together, AND…..

We find ourselves in ordinary time, a time in which we learn to pay attention to the good news in the particulars of that which is routine and regular. Within the ordinary, God’s goodness abounds. Together, we act on, nurture, and discover the good news of what God continues to do among us, as we participate in the unfolding kingdom of God here and now. We take time to celebrate the goodness of God, the goodness in one another, and the good news. During this season, we are stretched to grow in our imagination of what could be. We consider what it looks like to grow in the ordinariness of gathering together, not only among ourselves, but with our neighbors in ordinary spaces. Consider using this guide as you gather together.


*Readings each week come from the revised common lectionary.

June 16: Ordinary Goodness

June 23: Presence as Goodness

June 30: Discover

July 7: Brunch Sunday in the Park  

July 14: Goodness of Love

July 21: Act

July 28: Good & Gracious God

August 4: Nurture

August 11: Goodness Promised

August 18: Boundaryless Good News

August 25: A Community in Conversation


Act: Name where the Spirit is moving in our lives and calling us to embodied participation in God’s redeeming activity in the world. Together, reflect on these experiences and identify how you might be held accountable to re-integrate that reflection back into practice, as we continue to discover the good news and be nurtured in it.

Nurture: Wonder together. Hold space to tell, and listen to, stories. Ask questions with compassionate curiosity. In what ways does the good news need to talk hold in our lives? And how God is moving us to embody the good news in the world?

Discover: As we foster a haven of belonging, name the good news at work in one another’s life. Exploring this week’s scripture reading(s), name the ways in which you see God re-narrating the world, or sharing your experience of the love of God enfolding you in divine union. Together, discover the kingdom of God breaking forth here and now.


Ordinary Gathering Guide

*The following is a suggested list of books and music and per usual, there’s a wide variety of thought and content (some will be challenging, some you may not agree with) that is meant to spur conversation and continued growth.

Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott

The Very Good Gospel by Lisa Sharon Harper

Luminous by T. David Beck

Present Perfect by Gregory Boyd

Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

God Can’t by Thomas J. Oord

Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

A Guidebook to Prayer by MaryKate Morse

Disunity in Christ by Christina Cleveland

Roadmap to Reconciliation by Brenda Salter McNeil

Strength to Love by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Brother, album by The Brilliance

KOSMOS, album by William Matthews


Paul’s letter to the churches of Galatia reveals an essential element of the gospel: freedom. We all deeply want to experience freedom in our lives, in our very being. And yet, we live lives shaped by an alternative narrative to that which God is writing in the world - by news that is not good and lacks the freedom God intends. Boundaries and laws have been created to exclude, to control and bind the good news - which is meant for all people. Christ sets us free! Being formed in the ways of Jesus is about graciously receiving that freedom, in faith, through the Spirit. As we become more like Jesus, we become more human, more ourselves. We become known by God and Christ grows in us. This season of Pentecost, we make space for the Spirit to works among us, in the context of community, as we share our stories of freedom and are shaped by the good news. We experience freedom.


April 28: Intro & Freedom within Christ (Galatians 1:1-12)

May 5: Freedom from the News (Galatians 1:13-2:14)

May 12: Freedom and Faith (Galatians 2:15-4:7)

May 19: Freedom in Being Known (Galatians 4:8-31)

May 26: Brunch

June 2: Spirit of Freedom (Galatians 5:1-26)

June 9: Freedom Experienced in Community (Galatians 6:1-18)


-Sit with today’s text. What is God revealing to you about the nature of freedom?

-What are the loudest alternative, not good news, narrative at play in your life today? How might Jesus meet you there and release you from the bondage?

-As you read the book of Galatians, consider substituting the word “allegiance” for faith. How does it change the reading of today’s text to dismantle the binary between faith and works - the not good narrative that has been at work in the church?

-In what ways have we been conditioned to see freedom as a negative, rather than the life-giving, good news of Christ?

-What has the Spirit been revealing to you about who you are and how are you experiencing freedom in being known?



Free of Charge by Miroslav Volf

Salvation by Allegiance Alone by Matthew Bates

The King Jesus Gospel by Scot McKnight

The Gift of Being Yourself by David Benner


One, album by Birdtalker

Through the Deep, Dark Valley, album by The Oh Hellos

Trinity Kids Ministry Lent Curriculum

*image credit: Amalia Howard


The Awkward Season

Much of the broader Church observes Lent - the 40 day period, not counting Sundays, before Easter. The Passion and Resurrection continue to significantly shape the identity of Jesus followers. And yet, as we live into our common mission at Trinity, we also recognize the significance of the incarnation and Jesus’ journey - all that comes before the cross - as we discover and embody the love of Jesus in the world. Therefore, lent is a season of pilgrimage, an awkward season in which we allow the weight of darkness to be named, felt, and ultimately redeemed as we journey with Jesus toward the cross and resurrection. It is also awkward to focus on these things on Sundays, the time (even during Lent) historically reserved for celebration and recognition of the resurrection. Throughout this season, we gather together in a posture of contemplation as we observe the darkness growing, lament over that which is dead, and repent in preparation for Easter. We are invited to release all that stands in our way and distracts us from God. We are invited to receive what God desires for us. We are invited to return to the world, open to new ways of being with Jesus in the unfolding Kingdom of God.

Week by Week:

Ash Wednesday Service - March 6 @ 7pm

March 10: Temptation (Deuteronomy 26:1-11  • Psalm 91:1-2, 9-16  • Romans 10:8b-13  • Luke 4:1-13)

March 17: Missing the Signs (Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18  • Psalm 27  • Philippians 3:17-4:1  • Luke 13:31-35 or Luke 9:28-36, (37-43a))

March 24: Wasting Away (Perishing) (Isaiah 55:1-9  • Psalm 63:1-8  •  1 Corinthians 10:1-13  • Luke 13:1-9)

March 31: Depravity of Sin (Joshua 5:9-12  • Psalm 32  •  2 Corinthians 5:16-21  • Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32)

April 7: Counting it all as Rubbish (Isaiah 43:16-21  • Psalm 126  • Philippians 3:4b-14  • John 12:1-8)

April 14: Palm Sunday - Laying it Down (Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29  • Luke 19:28-40)

April 21: Easter - Rise!: “I have seen the Lord”/ Rise Again (Acts 10:34-43 or Isaiah 65:17-25  • Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24  • 1 Corinthians 15:19-26 or Acts 10:34-43  •  John 20:1-18 or Luke 24:1-12)

Discussion Prompts:

-Spend time in prayer, using a labyrinth. Click here to download paper copies of the prayer labyrinthWe are invited to release all that stands in our way and distracts us from God. We are invited to receive what God desires for us. We are invited to return to the world, open to new ways of being with Jesus in the unfolding Kingdom of God. As you released, received, and returned, what did you notice about God? About yourself?

-Read the gospel passage for the week again. What catches your attention? What word or phrase catches your attention or causes you to ask questions, piques curiosity, or maybe causes confusion? What images stay with you? What might God wish for you to discover and receive from this reading?

Resources & Music:

The Awkward Season by Pamela C. Hawkins

Atheism for Lent with Peter Rollins

Click here to download Trinity's Guide to Lent.

Lenten Lamentations - blog posts starting with day one (from 2017, but day by day you can follow and connect with daily - each day shares a story from history, reflection on scripture, confession and lament, and prayer; go to the bottom of linked page to click to subsequent days)

Good Friday to Easter, album by Page CXVI

Lent, album by Liturgical Folk

Christian Passover Meal from A Holy Experience

Parents: If your child especially connects with prayer labyrinths, you may want to invest in a handheld pewter labyrinth. Make your own using cardboard and sharpies, air-dry modeling clay, or masking tape on your carpet or rug. Pick any form that resonates with your family’s personality. However, although paper copies are simple, they can be just as meaningful.

Trinity Kids Ministry Lent Curriculum

New Paradigms of our Common Mission

Trinity is fostering a haven of belonging where wanderers and wonderers gather to discover and embody of the love of Jesus in the world.

But what does that mean? As we reclaim who we are, bringing clarity to our common mission, we recognize that the light of Christ needs shed upon our old paradigms. Christ came; Christ continues to come to each of us; Christ will come again. This truth has significant implications on the way we see the world. Our common mission challenges our disoriented spiritual paradigms. Each week we’ll consider the new paradigm that Christ’s presence compels us toward as we unpack our common mission.


*We’ll be adding Scripture references as we journey along…

Jan. 6: Intro: New paradigms of our common mission (Mark 2.18-22)

Jan. 13: Fostering - God is always present and at work (Mark 4.1-9, 26-29 & John 3.8)

Jan. 20: Haven - God is the haven

Jan 27: Belonging - God is just like Jesus and meets us where we really are (Luke 5:27-32)

Feb. 3: Wanderers & Wonderers - We engage in compassionate curiosity (John 20.24-29)

Feb. 10: Gather - Parish inspired: the Church as “grounded” and “rooted” people (Hebrews 10.19-26 & Acts 2.42-47)

Feb. 17: Embody - We learn love through embodied participation [*yep, we’re going “out of order”] (Romans 12)

Feb. 24: Discover - Love as source: God cares more about all of it than you do

March 3: World - What God does through you God also does in you


-Re-read today’s text. What do you notice about God, yourself, and how it speaks to who we are at Trinity?

-As you consider the theological foundations of this week’s topic, how would you describe who we are at Trinity to someone else?

-In what ways is Christ shedding light on our disordered spiritual paradigms we hold today?

-Where are you sensing the Spirit leading you to participate and grow in our common mission?


*These resources are in no particular order. Also, we value a diversity of perspectives so it is quite likely that there will be things we don’t agree with. Hopefully, the provide food for thought.


-Surrender to Love by David Benner

-Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott

-Exclusion and Embrace by Miroslav Volf

-Faithful Presence by David Fitch

-Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

-Embodying Our Faith by Tim Morey

-Foreign to Familiar by Sarah Lanier

-Just Hospitality by Letty M. Russell

-Grounded by Diana Butler Bass

-A More Christlike God by Bradley Jersak

-A Fellowship of Differents by Scot McKnight

-Disunity in Christ by Christena Cleveland


Unknowing by Richard Rohr


-On Being

-Theology on Mission

-The Liturgists

Advent: Practicing the Presence

Practicing the Presence

The Advent season marks the beginning of the Christian year, a time in which the ordinary is jolted with the presence of Emmanuel - God With Us - a presence which births hope, joy, peace, and love in the world. We walk forward with lenses of beauty, noticing how Christ came, how Christ comes to each of us, and how Christ will come again. We practice the presence of Christ in the everyday - an extraordinary presence, in ordinary spaces. Through embodied practice, we rejoice in the birth of Jesus, the expression of God’s unending love.


During Advent, we’ll be exploring revised common lectionary passages. The lectionary is a selection of scripture readings which the global Church uses for worship, study, and retelling of the story of God.

Dec. 2: Jolting Presence  (Jeremiah 33:14-16  • Psalm 25:1-10  • 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13  • Luke 21:25-36)

Dec. 9: Preparing Presence (Malachi 3:1-4  • Luke 1:68-79  • Philippians 1:3-11  • Luke 3:1-6)

Dec. 16: Rejoicing Presence (Zephaniah 3:14-20  • Isaiah 12:2-6  • Philippians 4:4-7  • Luke 3:7-18)

Dec. 23: Awakening Presence (Micah 5:2-5a  • Luke 1:46b-55 or Psalm 80:1-7  • Hebrews 10:5-10  • Luke 1:39-45, (46-55))

Dec. 24: Christmas Eve Gathering: Forever Presence (Isaiah 9:2-7  • Psalm 96  • Titus 2:11-14  • Luke 2:1-14, (15-20))


In both our individual lives and communal gatherings, the following prayer is meant to help us practice the presence of Christ in the midst of the ordinary routines of everyday life.:

“Christ before me; Christ behind me; Christ to my left; Christ to my right.” - Celtic prayer of St. Patrick


-Reread the text(s) for this week. What else do you notice in the story?

-Godself was revealed through Christ’s coming; what is God revealing to you in this season?

-As you practice the presence of Christ, what do you notice stirring within you?

-What is the Spirit prompting you toward in patterning the whole year after Advent - to embody the love of Jesus in the world?


The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence

Daily Prayer with the Corrymeela Community by Padraig O Tuama

Apps: Pray as You Go;  Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals by Shane Claiborne

Websites: Daily Office - Northumbria Community

Music: Oh Light by the Liturgists - http://www.theliturgists.com/oh-light; Josh Garrels The Light Came Down


Trinity's Advent Guide

This guide was created for individuals, couples, families with children, or Trinity Groups. It includes Advent readings and other ideas like the Jesse Tree, Advent calendars, and throwing a birthday party for Jesus. 


Illustrated Children’s Ministry Advent Guide


Gift Giving Catalog

As we consider Jesus’ gift and what he calls us to do and be in the world, we’d like to give you an opportunity to give actual life-giving gifts to folks who are showing the love of Jesus to those in need here in Indy and around the world. In the pages that follow you’ll find out more about some of Trinity’s ministry partners. Please consider how you might give to them as they show the Good News of Jesus’ gift in very tangible ways. Click below to download the catalog.


Sing a New Song (Beautiful)

By Dave Pappas

Praise the one who made the sunrise at the break of day

Praise the maker of the autumn’s colorful display

Praise the great creator who churns the deepest seas

Praise the beauty of the earth that brings me to my knees

Sing a new song


For the beauty of the earth, the water, and the skies

I praise the beauty maker for opening my eyes

I offer up my hands and heart to humbly recreate

An offering of beauty, a sacrifice of praise

Sing a new song


Beauty Series: Changing Lenses

Everything has beauty but not everyone sees it. - Confucius

Over the years, the concept of beauty has surfaced for us at Trinity. We have been questioning the lens through which we view our world. Many of us have been shaped to see the world through a lens of brokenness; this is not the lens through which God first sees the world.

In order to wade through difficult concepts in Scripture, embrace and value diversity within our community of believers, and understand how we are to interact as followers of Jesus in the world, we need to change our lenses. The fundamental truth of this world is that it is good and beautiful.  And while it is true there is brokenness in this world, that brokenness does not erase the beauty of God’s creation.

This series on beauty will hopefully give us a starting point from which to begin to shift the way we see both God and the world, as well as understanding our place in the story of God, giving us a radically different perspective on what it means to follow Jesus.


You may also listen through the Trinity Church Broad Ripple Podcast or click over to the Teachings page.

September 9: God is Beauty (Psalm 27)

September 16: A Beautiful World (Genesis 1)

September 23: Beauty and Ecclesiology (Mark 11 and Jeremiah 11)

September 30: Beauty: What Which Endures (Leviticus 23)

October 7: Beauty and Worship (Exodus 31)

October 14: Beauty and Eschatology: The Streets of Gold (Revelation 21)

October 21: Beauty and Justice/Shalom (Isaiah 11 & Psalm 101)

October 28: Beauty and the Gospel (Isaiah 52 & Romans 12)

November 4: Beauty and Salvation (Zechariah 9)

November 11: Sheer Poetry and the Blank Canvas (Ephesians 2)

November 18: Beauty and Kairos (Ecclesiastes 3)

*From time to time we may need to switch things up in the series, but this will give you a good picture of where we're going. 


-Identify the ways in which God has always showed up as beauty in your life.

-By looking at God and the world through a lens of beauty, what might you need to shed in order to grow in your faith journey?

-In what ways do you see the Spirit moving among us at Trinity toward that which is beautiful?

-Discuss the relationship between the good news (gospel) and beauty and the challenges we face in our world today.  

-In your walk with Jesus, what new experiences of beauty are popping up?

-What might you need to adjust in your life, or what practice might you need to take up, in order to regularly become more aware of beauty?

-In what ways do you sense the Spirit moving you toward justice or shalom?


*As with any resource, nothing is perfect. There will be things in these resources that may or may not reflect where we are at individually or as a community. May they provide more food for thought, spark further conversation, and deeper growth.


The Good and Beautiful God - James Bryan Smith

Beauty Will Save the World - Brian Zahnd

The Artist’s Way - Julia Cameron

The Most Beautiful Thing I’ve Seen - Lisa Gungor

Awaken Your Senses - Brent Bill and Beth Booram

Mary Oliver poetry


The On Being Podcasts on beauty, particularly the episode with John O’Donohue


Walk in Beauty - Richard Rohr

1 Cor 12: Diamond

By Caroline Mosey


Could our Savior 

be inside us

and above us, 

all the same? 


If He’s anything, 

He’s with us. 

It’s embedded 

in His name. 


But He’s more 

than simply with us; 

He is buried in our chest. 

He’s our brightest part--

our purest heart,

the rhythm 

of our breath. 


He’s the radiance of Zion 

Scattered wide 

across the sea. 

Every piece of Him 

a diamond 

hidden in humanity. 


Now to Him 

who buries diamonds

and who writes The Symphony--

To Him who weaves 

the thread of glory 

into you and me.

To Him who spins the gold 

inside the castle 

of the soul.

To Him who scatters pieces 

of a most 

exquisite Whole. 


We hear the call 

you’ve issued 

and we’ve heard 

the Voice Divine.

You are my Diamond-Planter, 

but my diamond 

isn’t mine.

It’s part of something greater, 

something bigger you’ve designed,

refracting all the colors 

of a realm we’ve yet to find. 


The realm the prophets spoke of 

and the Witness Cloud professed.

The one we can’t see 

with our eyes 

but burns inside 

our chest. 

The realm we’re trained to fight into 

 and feel compelled to step into

 and know that we were born to do

 our part to make it real. 


This man

he gets the clearest eyes 

and uses them to see

what’s wrong, what’s right, 

what’s left, what’s right

and now 

he’s telling me. 


You, Sir, 

you hear words differently.

Your hearing’s 

not like ours.

Could you translate 

to our table

from the Language of the Stars? 


That woman’sfeeling premonitions

stronger than we could.

So my destiny,

relay to me,

And point me 

at the Good. 


The diamond in that little girl

is heavy with her faith,

an anchor in the wavering 

the rest of us will face. 


And you

you’ve got the static 

in your hands we need tonight.

Your diamond 

holds the healing 

from the One 

who makes things right. 


But there’s dirt 

on top of diamonds 

and we think 

they’re ours to keep.

Then wonder why 

the Brotherhood

stays limping, 



We hold our diamonds tighter,

all our knuckles 

turning white.

Or we never dig 

to find them

and expose them 

to the light.


Our restlessness increases

When our gifts 

are left obscured. 

They stagnate 

til we’re sick

But I’ve heard diamonds 

are the cure. 

Encapsulating light and magic


 and green 

 and blue.

The rock that 

sharpens steel

And pulls the Kingdom 

into view. 


So pick your shovels 

up and dig 

until you hit the Truth.

‘Cause what you find in there

might be meant 

more for me

than you. 


Then we’ll raise 

our glasses higher 

to the Wholeness 

found above--

To our Reconnector, 

Gem Collector,

Source of Lasting Love. 

To the Slayer of Division

and the Banisher of Shame

To the Alchemist,

the Strategist

who reconstructs The Game. 


And we, 

as One,

but many,

waxing holier to say,

“I need your light, 

and you 

need mine.”

The purest Namaste. 





By Scott Smith

Made with ashes, the sign of the cross on the forehead has marked the beginning of Lent for Christians for two millennia. But why? Why is it that followers of Jesus embrace an instrument of execution and torture as the primary symbol of this season we call Lent?

On the surface the answer seems obvious. The season of Lent culminates on Good Friday when we rehearse the story of the crucifixion of Jesus, an event in which we locate God’s infinite grace and forgiveness. While grace and forgiveness certainly are central to the Christian faith, if we dig beneath the surface of this familiar story, we discover that the conspiracy that culminated in the execution of Jesus was intended to silence him and his gospel of the Kingdom of God, a message that was a clear threat to current social order.

This gospel that Jesus preached was a particular vision for the world. It was a vision built on the foundations of shalom, compassion and justice, a vision for a world where everything that is wrong is made right, a vision that necessarily implied actual transformation in human society. It was for that “good news” and the movement he began that Jesus was murdered.. Jesus was fully aware that, like the prophets before him, he would pay with his life for this message he proclaimed.

As we journey through Lent, it seems only logical to reflect on this other dimension of the cross and then ask ourselves a most unsettling question, “Do I really want to deny myself, take up a cross, and follow Jesus?”

"Do not give your heart that which does not satisfy your heart."

By Scott Smith

For centuries Lent has been considered a penitential season – a time of intentional self-examination, and penitential practices have long been understood to be a vital catalyst toward that end.  The original purpose of these practices was to create an atmosphere within the heart that both propelled us toward an honest appraisal of our brokenness and pointed us in the direction of repentance, of returning to God.  These practices were not meant to be an end in themselves that gain us better standing before God.  They weren’t intended to “solve” the problem of human brokenness, rather, they are meant to create an environment which makes self-examination possible so that we can find our way out of the darkness.  Lent is a gracious invitation to perceive and name those things in our lives that are obstacles to the wholeness that God passionately wants to give us, a wholeness that we can never experience apart from learning the many ways in which all of us are broken. 

Of course self-examination will do no one any good at all unless it is approached with a measure of honesty as well as a genuine desire for transformation.  The problem is, however, being completely honest with ourselves is something that we are inclined to shy away from both consciously and unconsciously.  Our natural tendency is to clothe ourselves in layers of denial and dishonesty that disguise our true condition, the result being that we only become more alone in our brokenness.

So what do we hope to discover through these penitential practices.  In the church of my formational years, the goal was to search high and low and see “if there be any wicked way in me,” the result being a list of “sins” we needed to confess “lest we eat and drink damnation” unto ourselves on Communion Sunday.  This approach is terribly reductionistic and ineffective.  I would argue that gaining insight into the mechanisms of our brokenness is a better goal.  I can’t remember for certain who it was, but a renowned psychologist argued that even our most destructive behaviors are rooted in a survival instinct.  As crazy as it may seem, even at our worst, we are driven by a desire to live.  If this is even remotely true, then the insight we need is what areas of brokenness are our trying to address through behaviors that will never get us what we want or need.

The truth is that we are forever filling our lives with things that do not satisfy our hearts, things that actually compound our brokenness.  When our hearts start to ache because of the vacuum of spiritual hunger, we try our very best to soothe that ache in ways that don’t work.  When we are overwhelmed by anxiety and existential angst we are given to a plethora of distractions.  And when we become acutely aware of the profound emptiness of our hungry hearts, we consume that which can never satiate that hunger. 

Abba Poemen (4th/5th century, Desert Father) offers wise counsel, “Do not give your heart that which does not satisfy the heart.”   That is a good word for the season of Lent.  It is an invitation to identify and abstain from those things which do not leave us satisfied.  Lent offers us an opportunity to fast from that which is not food for our souls.  It is a good time to reflect with some measure of honesty about how hungry our hearts really are.  But more than being a chance to recognize that we may be spiritually starving to death, Lent is also an invitation to a feast – an invitation to eat and drink from the wellspring of God’s inescapable love which is genuine food for our souls. God wants our hearts to be satisfied, and God wants to satisfy our hearts.  To borrow from C.S. Lewis, our problem, however, is not that we desire too much joy, rather we desire too little.