Joined Together

The words to this Irish prayer remind me of the sacred ties that hold us together as friends and family in the body of Christ. Every time we share a funeral I become more aware of these very special connections. In informal moments of visitation and on occasion in words of eulogy we gratefully reflect on “the bonds of Christian faith” that make us one in Christ.

It is truly a special relationship when we can say that we are “joined together in discipleship and in obedience to Christ.”

Shared experience creates a bond that allows an acquaintance to become a dear and treasured friend. As you may recall, at a very significant moment in his ministry Jesus said to his disciples, “I do not call you servants any longer . . .but I have called you friends . . .” John 15:15   We are fortunate to share the journey of faith with loved ones who are dear to us.

                            Grace and peace,

Hope Against Hope

Going through these Lenten days we are reminded to  “hope against hope” as it says in Romans 4:18a.  Below are poetic words from Jan Richardson that speak to us as we share this 40-day journey.

Hope nonetheless.                                    Hope that draws us past our limits.
Hope despite.                                           Hope that defies expectations.
Hope regardless.                                       Hope that questions what we have known.
Hope still.                                                 Hope that makes a way where there is none.

Hope amid what threatens hope.                        Hope that takes us past our fear.
Hope with those who feed our hope.                   Hope that calls us into life.
Hope beyond what we had hoped.                      Hope that holds us beyond death.
Hope that blesses those to come.

Grace and peace,

Lenten Discipline

      As you may know the 40-day season of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday which is next Wednesday February 22. We as a church family embrace this as a season of voluntary spiritual discipline. We choose to remember the 40 days Jesus spent in the wilderness, as well as recalling the 40 days of wilderness sojourn for Moses and Elijah. And there was that 40 year journey from the slavery of Egypt to the Promised Land.

 We begin these 40 days of discipline with the sign of the cross on our foreheads and in our heart as we hear those powerful words “Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return.”(Genesis 3:19)  Let me know how Lent is going for you. May God bless each one of us.     The tradition of giving up something for Lent has thankfully evolved to a more generous spirit of discipline whereby we voluntarily “take on a spiritual discipline.” We embrace opportunities for growth  like rising 30 minutes early for prayer and meditation fasting of one meal a week or a day and donating that amount to Week of Compassion writing a letter to someone we have missed seeing at church or to someone we need to stay in contact with reading scripture, you might try praying the Psalms during this time or reading the Gospel According to Luke or reading one of the fine books in the church library – praying for persons who are your friends or enemies and asking God to touch their heart and yours embrace the joy of following Christ in this sacred and beautiful season exercise your heart physically and spiritually as the earth begins to renew itself.

                                                                                       Grace and peace,

Servant Leadership

Last Sunday I mentioned one of the characteristics of a leader is a person who moves from leading to being led. Henri Nouwen speaks of a leadership in which power is constantly abandoned in favor of love. There is a beautiful sense of humility in what is called “servant leadership.”

Nouwen continues “Powerlessness and humility in the spiritual life do not refer to people who have no spine and who let everyone else make decisions for them. They refer to people who are so deeply in love with Jesus that they are ready to follow him wherever he guides them, always trusting that, with him, they will find life and find it abundantly.”

In our desire to “be a leader” we are tempted to choose power over love and to try mightily to be “in control.” Many of us have been there and done that and found it less than fulfilling. Our statement of identity says,

“We are Disciples of Christ, a movement for wholeness in a fragmented world. As part of the one body of Christ, we welcome all to the Lord’s Table as God as welcomed us.”

It is truly an honor when we become instruments that God can use to welcome others to the body of Christ. In our brokenness we find a way toward being whole again and it is so beautifully portrayed each time we take the bread and cup together.

Grace and peace,


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