God has place this wonderful creation in our hands. As U2 sings, "It's a beautiful day, don't let it slip away." We have this one life to live on this beautiful planet so enjoy these reflections on God, faith, life, and music. "After the flood all of the colors came out. It's a beautiful day."

Friday, December 1, 2017

Wonderful Counselor

 6 For a child has been born for us,
   a son given to us;
authority rests upon his shoulders;
   and he is named
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
   Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.Isaiah 9:6
This Advent I am spending time reflecting on the royal names given to the child in Isaiah 9:6 which we use to foreshadow who Jesus should/could be.


2 The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him,
   the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
   the spirit of counsel and might,
   the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. Isaiah 11:2
Wonderful counselor,
as we rest a moment in your presence
as we wait for your coming
we invite your Spirit to rest on us

May your Spirit of wisdom and understanding come upon us
   we need your wisdom
   this week there has been so much that we don't understand
   we don't understand how powerful men can treat women as objects
   we don't understand how powerful men can use their position to hurt women
       to see them as object for their use
       to see them as not worthy of respect
       to see them as less than
Wonderful counselor may your Spirit of wisdom and understanding come upon us

May your Spirit of counsel and might come upon us
   there are so many decisions being made right now
   decisions about nuclear weapons
       where the language is ripe for misunderstanding
       may the counsel given be true, honest and open
   decisions about how economies work, who is taxed are being decided
       the decisions started for reason that seem to lake counsel
       donors want a tax cut and now there is not enough money for children to be ensured
       fear of lost jobs and identity lead to a vote that may hurt the very people who agreed to the vote
   decisions about who is allowed where
       there are so many people right now without a safe home
       people who had no choice but to flee their countries
       they need a safe place to live and thrive
        yet they are left waiting or pushed back
       there are so many refugees
          Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia, the Rohinga, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo,   
          Sudan, South Sudan
Wonderful counselor may your Spirit of counsel and might come upon us

May your Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord come upon us
   it seems funny to ask that the fear of the Lord come upon us
   yet this fear is because it means you are present
   this is a fear that means awe, reverence, worship
   during this waiting season may we learn more about you
  during this time to expectation and pregnant pauses may we seek knowedge of you
  may we be swept up in wonder and awe
Wonderful counselor, may your Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord come upon us
  

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Advent the Name of that Moment



“The house lights go off and the footlights come on. Even the chattiest stop chattering as they wait in darkness for the curtain to rise. In the orchestra pit, the violin bows are poised. The conductor has raised his baton. In the silence of a midwinter dusk, there is far off in the deeps of it somewhere a sound so faint that for all you can tell it may be only the sound of the silence itself. You hold your breath to listen. You walk up the steps to the front door. The empty windows at either side of it tell you nothing, or almost nothing. For a second you catch a whiff of some fragrance that reminds you of a place you’ve never been and a time you have no words for. You are aware of the beating of your heart…The extraordinary thing that is about to happen is matched only by the extraordinary moment just before it happens. Advent is the name of that moment. .Frederick Buechner, Whistling in the Dark: A Doubter's Dictionary, pp 2-3.
Have you experienced that moment? A moment when you are waiting for the show to start – Hamilton, Wicked, Lion King, etc is just about to start. The lights have dimmed. The phones are off and there is this breath that everyone takes as they wait for the opening notes, for the start off the show. In that moment there is so much hope. The waiting is full of longing. As Buechner says Advent is such a moment. It is a time for us to pause, to wait, to be filled with longing and hope for what is to come.
The Salvation Army Santa Claus clangs his bell. The sidewalks are so crowded you can hardly move. Exhaust fumes are the chief fragrance of the air, and everybody is as bundled up against any sense of what all the fuss is really about as they are bundled up against the windchill factor. But if you concentrate just for an instant, far off in the deeps of you somewhere you can feel the beating of your heart. For all its madness and lostness, not to mention your own, your can hear the world itself holding its breath.Frederick Buechner, Whistling in the Dark: A Doubter's Dictionary, pp 2-3.
This time of year is pregnant with the expectation and waiting. The leaves have fallen off the trees. The birds are leaving or gone already. And when that first snow hits the world is wrapped in white and quiet. It is as if the entire world is waiting. We are in that in between moment, that moment of breath. What if we enter the season of Advent with our breath held, waiting, longing, hoping? What if we see this moment as one of expectation where we are not yet experiencing the event, instead we are to live in the pause, that held breath? We live in the moment where we can’t wait and yet can only wait. We are given these twenty-four days to be in that held breath where we wait for God to come and heal us, hallow us, save us.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

O Lord, Hear; O Lord, Forgive; O Lord, Listen and Act.



Call to Worship
Pastor:  Today, this hour, in this moment
People:  O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, listen
Pastor:  When the world around us seems so cold, so hurt, so broken
People:  O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, listen
Pastor:  Meet us here, in this space, with your love

     People:      O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, listen




Prayer of Confession the Scripture Reading from Daniel 9



Pastor:  O God, your love is steadfast and you keep your covenant in faithfulness. We have sinned, we have been evil, we have done wrong.
People:  O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, listen
Pastor:  We have rejected what you commanded us to do and have turned away from what you showed us was right.
People:  O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, listen
Pastor:  We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our rulers, our ancestors, and our whole nation.
People:  O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, listen
Pastor:  Our kings, our rulers, and our ancestors have acted shamefully and sinned against you, Lord.
People:  O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, listen
Pastor:  Listen to us, O God; look at us and see the trouble we are in and the suffering of the city that bears your name. We are praying to you because you are merciful, not because we have done right.
People:  O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, listen and act.
Pastor:  Do not fear, for from the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words.  (Daniel 10:12) 

Scripture Reading                        Daniel 9:1-19


Darius the Mede, who was the son of Xerxes, ruled over the kingdom of Babylonia. In the first year of his reign I was studying the sacred books and thinking about the seventy years that Jerusalem would be in ruins, according to what the Lord had told the prophet Jeremiah. And I prayed earnestly to the Lord God, pleading with him, fasting, wearing sackcloth, and sitting in ashes. I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed the sins of my people.
I said, “Lord God, you are great, and we honor you. You are faithful to your covenant and show constant love to those who love you and do what you command.
“We have sinned, we have been evil, we have done wrong. We have rejected what you commanded us to do and have turned away from what you showed us was right. We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our rulers, our ancestors, and our whole nation. You, Lord, always do what is right, but we have always brought disgrace on ourselves. This is true of all of us who live in Judea and in Jerusalem and of all the Israelites whom you scattered in countries near and far because they were unfaithful to you. Our kings, our rulers, and our ancestors have acted shamefully and sinned against you, Lord. You are merciful and forgiving, although we have rebelled against you. 10 We did not listen to you, O Lord our God, when you told us to live according to the laws which you gave us through your servants the prophets. 11 All Israel broke your laws and refused to listen to what you said. We sinned against you, and so you brought on us the curses that are written in the Law of Moses, your servant. 12 You did what you said you would do to us and our rulers. You punished Jerusalem more severely than any other city on earth, 13 giving us all the punishment described in the Law of Moses. But even now, O Lord our God, we have not tried to please you by turning from our sins or by following your truth. 14 You, O Lord our God, were prepared to punish us, and you did, because you always do what is right, and we did not listen to you.
15 “O Lord our God, you showed your power by bringing your people out of Egypt, and your power is still remembered. We have sinned; we have done wrong. 16 You have defended us in the past, so do not be angry with Jerusalem any longer. It is your city, your sacred hill. All the people in the neighboring countries look down on Jerusalem and on your people because of our sins and the evil our ancestors did. 17 O God, hear my prayer and pleading. Restore your Temple, which has been destroyed; restore it so that everyone will know that you are God. 18 Listen to us, O God; look at us and see the trouble we are in and the suffering of the city that bears your name. We are praying to you because you are merciful, not because we have done right. 19 Lord, hear us. Lord, forgive us. Lord, listen to us, and act! In order that everyone will know that you are God, do not delay! This city and these people are yours.”
Sermon      The Courage to Atone
 
Prayer 
O Lord, hear;
 Hear the cries from amidst the earthquake ruins of Mexico.
Hear the cries of your people in stormed battered communities – Puerto Rico, the Virigin Islands, Florida, and Texas
Hear the cries from the refugee camps of Myanmar, Africa, the Middle East, and Europe.
O Lord, forgive;
We ask your forgiveness for the systemic racism in this country
We ask your forgiveness where hatred inflames the hearts of people.
We ask your forgiveness for letting there be people who do not have enough or any food to eat today.
O Lord, listen and
Listen to your people that are facing bombs and guns
Listen to your people who are suffering in the midst of broken relationships,
        illness, 
        grief
O Lord, act.
Spirit inspire us to ay yes I am willing to  volunteer and lead in those places where we are needed.
Give us the courage to use the gifts and talents you have given us
 Raise within us generous visions.