Fasting by feasting

*** a sermon for Ash Wednesday based on Isaiah 58:1-9 and John 60:30-35, 41*** Today is the beginning of Lent – a 4o day period of repentance and fasting as we prepare for the coming of Easter. It is a time of self-examination and reflection in which we focus on our relationship with God, often giving up something as a…

Lent: Feast or fast?

A Service for Ash Wednesday based on Isaiah 58:1-9 (1-14) and John 6:30-41 Call to worship (based on Isaiah 58:1-9 – The Message) Shout! A full-throated shout!     Hold nothing back—a trumpet-blast shout! Tell my people what’s wrong with their lives,     face my family Jacob with their sins! We’re busy, busy, busy at worship,     and love studying all about You. To…

Grow up!

In Ephesians 4:1-16, the apostle Paul provides a perfect picture of what it means to be a Christian: walk – no! RUN – on the road God has called us to travel. No one sitting on their hands idle. No one strolling down a path that leads to nowhere. No one declaring at the top of their lungs, “I’ll do…

The power of a name

When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You know that your name is safe in their mouth. ~Tess Scott In John 20:11-18, angels, titles, roles, designations – mommy, wife, daughter, reverend, sister, friend – cannot break through Mary’s blinding loss and grief. Yet by uttering her name, Jesus changes EVERYTHING! What, then, does the name that I use for…

Salt, light, law alive – a starting point for educational reform

Pretend for a moment that you’re writing a Maths test. After struggling through it you come to a question which seems easy to answer and you breathe a deep sigh of relief that at least you’ll get these three marks. The question reads, “Bob has 39 slabs of chocolate. He eats 26 of them. What does Bob have now?” Your…

Light-shedding

(A series of prayers for Education Sunday based on Psalm 119:33-37 and Matthew 5:13-20) Invoking the light  We gather this day to worship and wonder at the Father of all creation who, in the beginning, spoke, “Let there be light! and there was light. (a candle is lit) We gather this day to listen to and learn from Christ Jesus,…

Psalm 27 – Stay

At the start of the year, it is relatively easy to stay close to the Source of our Song and Salvation. Our spirits are high; we feel energized and refreshed following a time of rest; and the newness of it all has us imagining the best case scenarios of how we intend life to be. But by the time that…

Promises

Meditating on Covenant, preparing to make promises, wondering why we rank eloquence and emotionalism over simplicity and integrity in judging whose promises are trustworthy…. “Just say a simple, ‘Yes, I will,’ or ‘No, I won’t.” Anything beyond this is from the evil one. ~ Matthew 5:37 May my “yes” mean “yes” and my “no” mean “no” Why do we always have…

Lifesong – Psalm 40:1-11

Years ago, a quirky TV character, Ally McBeal, made a lasting impression on me when her new therapist suggested that the first step to regaining her confidence was finding a song theme for her life. I decided in that moment that I needed one too: wonderful words and an uplifting tune that would pick me up when I was feeling down…

A new song for a new year

I patiently waited, Lord,     for you to hear my prayer. You listened and pulled me from a lonely pit     full of mud and mire. You let me stand on a rock     with my feet firm, and you gave me a new song,     a song of praise to you. ~ Psalm 40:1-3a O God, our Composing Creator, who listens intently amidst the vast symphony…