Spirited Wednesday


Whose Side Are You On?

11/2/2016

"To be faithful is to participate in the broken and imperfect world of politics." - Rev. Shepard Parsons

Non-Competitive

10/19/2016

"It's not a competition. Really, it's not." - the Rev. Rochelle Stackhouse

Checking Pride

10/12/2016

"The truth is that all of us can fall into that pattern of self-pride and self-congratulation very easily" - Rev. Gordon Bates

Curing Versus Healing

10/5/2016

"There is a difference between "cure" and "healing." - Rev. Max Grant

Do You Carry Faith in My Size?

9/28/2016

Scripture: Luke 17: 5-10 (NRSV) The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!" The Lord replied, "If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it would obey you. "Who among you would say to your slave who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field, 'Come here at once and take your place at the table'? Would you not rather say to him, 'Prepare supper for me, put on your apron and serve me while I...

The Pilgrim's Way

9/21/2016

Scripture: Luke 16:19-31 There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man's table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores. The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far ...

Prayer Needed

9/14/2016

Scripture: I Timothy 2:1-7 (CEV) First of all, I ask you to pray for everyone. Ask God to help and bless them all, and tell God how thankful you are for each of them. Pray for kings and others in power, so that we may live quiet and peaceful lives as we worship and honor God. Reflection: Sometimes it's overwhelming how many people we find we ought to pray for. Every Sunday we lift prayers in worship and then can't quite remember all those names by the time we get home. We meet someone in the ...

Baking for St. Phanourios

9/7/2016

Scripture: Luke 15:1-10 (NRSV) Now all the tax-collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to him. And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, 'This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.' So he told them this parable: 'Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices. And when he comes ...

Reworked

8/31/2016

Scripture: Luke 14:33 (NRSV) So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions. Reflection: I knew there'd be two or three hymns. I knew that "In the Bulb" would be one of them about every 5 weeks or so, despite my best efforts to keep the hymns fresh - it's just such a good and singable hymn. I knew the pause of silence just longer than comfortable that would arrive right before people started sharing the aches and pains on their hearts during the ...

Love At The Ready

8/24/2016

Scripture: Jeremiah 2:4-6a (The Message) Hear GOD's Message, House of Jacob! Yes, you?House of Israel! GOD's Message: 'What did your ancestors find fault with in me that they drifted so far from me, took up with Sir Windbag and turned into windbags themselves? It never occurred to them to say, "Where's GOD, the God who got us out of Egypt, Who took care of us through thick and thin?"' Reflection: It is tempting to pounce on the use here of "Sir Windbag" as an opportunity, permission even to ...

Putting Words In One's Mouth

8/17/2016

Scripture: Jeremiah 1:4-10 (NRSV) Now the word of the Lord came to me saying, 'Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.' Then I said, 'Ah, Lord God! Truly I do not know how to speak, for I am only a boy.' But the Lord said to me, 'Do not say, "I am only a boy"; for you shall go to all to whom I send you, and you shall speak whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver ...

Long Division

8/10/2016

Scripture: Luke 12:49-56 (NRSV) 'I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! I have a baptism with which to be baptized, and what stress I am under until it is completed! Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division! From now on, five in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three; they will be divided: father against son     and son against father, mother against daughter     and ...

I Am A Promise

8/3/2016

Scripture: Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16 (NRSV) Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Indeed, by faith our ancestors received approval. By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible. By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to set out for a place that he was to receive as an inheritance; and he set out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he stayed for a time in ...

From Divide to Divine

5/4/2016

Scripture: John 17:20-26(NRSV) 'I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have ...

Because I Live

4/27/2016

Scripture: John 14:23-29 (NRSV) Jesus answered him, 'Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me. 'I have said these things to you while I am still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said ...

Why Include Revelation?

4/20/2016

Scripture: Revelation 21:1-6 (NRSV) Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe every tear from their ...

Power & Voice

4/13/2016

Scripture: Acts 9:36-43 (NRSV) Now in Joppa there was a disciple whose name was Tabitha, which in Greek is Dorcas. She was devoted to good works and acts of charity. At that time she became ill and died. When they had washed her, they laid her in a room upstairs. Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, who heard that Peter was there, sent two men to him with the request, 'Please come to us without delay.' So Peter got up and went with them; and when he arrived, they took him to the room ...

Are We There Yet

4/6/2016

Scripture: John 21:15-19 (NRSV) When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, 'Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?' He said to him, 'Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.' Jesus said to him, 'Feed my lambs.' A second time he said to him, 'Simon son of John, do you love me?' He said to him, 'Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.' Jesus said to him, 'Tend my sheep.' He said to him the third time, 'Simon son of John, do you love me?' Peter felt hurt because he said to ...

Waves of Love

3/30/2016

Scripture: John 20: 26-28 (NRSV) A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, 'Peace be with you.' Then he said to Thomas, 'Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.' Thomas answered him, 'My Lord and my God!' REFLECTION: As I sat down to ponder what few hundred words I could say about Jesus' post resurrection appearance to ...

Letting Go

3/23/2016

Scripture: John 24:16-17 (NRSV) Jesus said to her, "Mary!" She turned and said to him in Hebrew, "Rabbouni!" (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, "Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, 'I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'" REFLECTION: This week, the stakes are high as we preachers get ready to welcome the largest crowds of the year into our sanctuaries to celebrate Easter. As always, ...

Slash & Burn Meets Heal & Restore

3/16/2016

Scripture: Luke 18: 35-43 (NRSV) As he approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard a crowd going by, he asked what was happening. They told him, 'Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.' Then he shouted, 'Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!' Those who were in front sternly ordered him to be quiet; but he shouted even more loudly, 'Son of David, have mercy on me!' Jesus stood still and ordered the man to be brought to him; and when he came near, he asked him, ...

Action or Contemplation?

3/9/2016

Scripture: John 12:1-8 (NRSV) Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. There they gave a dinner for him. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him. Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus' feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), said, 'Why was ...

The Waiting God

3/2/2016

Scripture: Luke 15:18-20 (The Message) I'm going back to my father. I'll say to him, Father, I've sinned against God, I've sinned before you; I don't deserve to be called your son. Take me on as a hired hand. He got right up and went home to his father. When he was still a long way off, his father saw him. His heart pounding, he ran out, embraced him, and kissed him. REFLECTION: I learned as a human parent, no matter how many nights my sons kept me awake crying, or however many glasses of ...

Near-Sighted

2/24/2016

Scripture: Luke 13:1-3 (NRSV) At that very time there were some present who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. He asked them, 'Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were worse sinners than all other Galileans? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish as they did. REFLECTION: Ever notice how we blame others for our failures and take credit for our successes? OK, maybe that's just me. From where I ...

Managing Change

2/17/2016

Scripture: Luke 9:33 (NRSV) Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah. REFLECTION: Life is change, so it is said. Beyond change, 'transfiguring' means to change form, to take on a new shape, a new body; it is the outer expression of an inner transformation, it is the word become flesh claiming more body space. Transfiguring in scriptural imagining is a changing form toward the divine. The past several years have been a ...

Body and Soul

2/10/2016

Scripture: Matthew 6:1-6, 16-20 (NRSV) Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven. So whenever you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be praised by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be done ...

Transformed

2/3/2016

Scripture: Luke 9:28-36 (NRSV) Now about eight days after these sayings Jesus took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. And while he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly they saw two men, Moses and Elijah, talking to him. They appeared in glory and were speaking of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. Now Peter and his companions were weighed down with sleep; but since they ...

Though The Midst

1/27/2016

Scripture: Luke 4: 21-30 (NRSV) Then he began to say to them, 'Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.' All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They said, 'Is not this Joseph's son?' He said to them, 'Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, "Doctor, cure yourself!" And you will say, "Do here also in your home town the things that we have heard you did at Capernaum." ' And he said, 'Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in ...

Mix Well

1/20/2016

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 12:12-31 (NRSV) For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body - Jews or Greeks, slaves or free - and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot were to say, 'Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body', that would not make it any less a part of the...

Where Miracles Hide

1/13/2016

Scripture: John 2:1-12 (NRSV) (NRSV) On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, 'They have no wine.' And Jesus said to her, 'Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.' His mother said to the servants, 'Do whatever he tells you.' Now standing there were six stone water-jars for the Jewish rites of ...

Transformed Travelers

1/6/2016

Scripture: Matthew 2:1-12 (NRSV) In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, 'Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.' When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They told him, ...

Shining Light

12/30/2015

Scripture: John 1:1-9 (NRSV) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all ...

Out of Darkness

12/23/2015

Scripture: Isaiah 9:2 (NRSV) The people who walked in darkness    have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness-    on them light has shined. Reflection: I was born at the winter solstice - December 21st. People refer to it as the darkest day of the year, the shortest day, or the longest night. It is all that, but the actual solstice is the moment in the earth's orbit around the sun that our hemisphere begins tilting a little more toward the sun again. So I like to ...

Broken Silence

12/16/2015

Scripture: Luke 2:39-45 (NRSV) In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the ...

Don't Worry

12/9/2015

Scripture: Philippians 4:4-7 (NRSV) Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Reflection: I will admit that two of the most annoying phrases in the English language can be "don't ...

Living Here

12/2/2015

Scripture: Luke 3: 1-6 (NRSV) The Proclamation of John the Baptist In the fifteenth year of the reign of Emperor Tiberius, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was ruler of Galilee, and his brother Philip ruler of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias ruler of Abilene, during the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. He went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance...

The Promise of Advent

11/25/2015

Scripture: Jeremiah 33:14-16 (NRSV) The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfil the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. And this is the name by which it will be called: 'The Lord is our righteousness.' Reflection: Winter isn't officially ...

Side By Side

11/18/2015

Scripture: John 18:33-37 (NRSV) Then Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, 'Are you the King of the Jews?' Jesus answered, 'Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?' Pilate replied, 'I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?' Jesus answered, 'My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over ...

We Want More, God

11/11/2015

Scripture: Mark 13:1-8 (NLT) As Jesus was leaving the Temple that day, one of his disciples said, "Teacher, look at these magnificent buildings! Look at the impressive stones in the walls." Jesus replied, "Yes, look at these great buildings. But they will be completely demolished. Not one stone will be left on top of another!" Later, Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives across the valley from the Temple. Peter, James, John, and Andrew came to him privately and asked him, "Tell us, when will all ...

Beware The Scribes!

11/4/2015

Scripture: Mark 12:38-44 (NRSV) As he taught, he said, 'Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and to be greeted with respect in the market-places, and to have the best seats in the synagogues and places of honour at banquets! They devour widows' houses and for the sake of appearance say long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.' He sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. ...

On Sacred Ground

10/28/2015

Revelation 21: 1-4 (NRSV) Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death ...

And Jesus Stood Still

10/21/2015

Scripture: Mark 10:46-52 (NRSV) They came to Jericho. As he and his disciples and a large crowd were leaving Jericho, Bartimaeus son of Timaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the roadside. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out and say, 'Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!' Many sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly, 'Son of David, have mercy on me!' Jesus stood still and said, 'Call him here.' And they called the blind man, saying ...

You Make the Grass Grow

10/14/2015

Scripture: Psalm 104: 33, 34 (CEB) I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God while I'm still alive. Let my praise be pleasing to him; I'm rejoicing in the Lord! Reflection: One of my chores as a teenager was to mow the lawn. It was a chore that always stood between me and my freedom to do what I wanted. Mowing my parent's yard was "domestic drudgery." I had other important things to do. I did not care that God made the grass and caused it to grow. Yard work was not...

Boldness Meets Weakness

10/7/2015

Scripture: Hebrews 4:16 (CJB) Therefore, let us confidently approach the throne from which God gives grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace in our time of need. Reflection: Manantial de Gracia's children & youth ministries name is based on the premise of Hebrews 4:16 (NIV) "Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." The children in our church need the mercy and grace that can only be achieved by sitting at the feet of God's throne. But how can they be part of the promise if we (adults) do not allow them to be their authentic selves? </p><p> Our youth struggle in their Christian life. They count on us adults to share our wisdom, to love them as they are, and to bring them to God's Throne in prayer while they endure their trails, confusions, and doubts. The battle is not theirs; neither is it ours. The battles that we endure are God's and God's alone. Our battle weapons are the prayers that we bring to the throne, the prayers that sustain us, prayers of mercy and compassion that will bring glory and grace to the reality of our youth. On a recent Youth ...

Where Is Jesus?

9/30/2015

Scripture: Mark 10:13-16 (NRSV) People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, 'Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.' And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed ...

For or Against

9/23/2015

Mark 9:38-41 (NRSV) John said to him, "Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us." But Jesus said, "Do not stop him; for no one who does a deed of power in my name will be able soon afterwards to speak evil of me. Whoever is not against us is for us. For truly I tell you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ will by no means lose the reward." Reflection: As election season begins...

Why Us?

9/16/2015

Esther 4:14 (NRSV) For if you keep silence at such a time as this, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another quarter, but you and your father's family will perish. Who knows? Perhaps you have come to royal dignity for just such a time as this. REFLECTION: Feeling secure in our own homes, we watched and felt scandalized by the many images of thousands of Syrian refugees. As we drank our coffee in our comfortable chairs, the images of dead children and toddlers washed ashore ...

Who Is Jesus To You?

9/9/2015

Mark 8:27-38 (NRSV) Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way he asked his disciples, 'Who do people say that I am?' And they answered him, 'John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.' He asked them, 'But who do you say that I am?' Peter answered him, 'You are the Messiah.' And he sternly ordered them not to tell anyone about him. Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be ...

Thank You, Stranger

9/2/2015

James 2:1-17 (NRSV) My brothers and sisters, do you with your acts of favouritism really believe in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ? For if a person with gold rings and in fine clothes comes into your assembly, and if a poor person in dirty clothes also comes in, and if you take notice of the one wearing the fine clothes and say, 'Have a seat here, please', while to the one who is poor you say, 'Stand there', or, 'Sit at my feet', have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become ...

Gazelles And Stags And Turtledoves... Oh My!

8/26/2015

Song of Solomon 2:8-13 (NRSV) The voice of my beloved!   Look, he comes, leaping upon the mountains,   bounding over the hills. My beloved is like a gazelle   or a young stag. Look, there he stands   behind our wall, gazing in at the windows,   looking through the lattice. My beloved speaks and says to me: Arise, my love, my fair one,   and come away; for now the winter is past,   the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth;   the time of singing has come, and the voice of ...

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