Words of Joy – Advent 3

Joy

“Let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy.  Spread your protection over them, so that those who love your name may exult in you.”

                                                                           Psalm 5:11

Psalm 16:11 – In God’s presence there is joy.

Psalm 30:4-5 – Joy comes in the morning.

Matthew 2: 10 (story of the wise men is 2: 1-12)

Luke 1:44- John leapt for joy in Elizabeth’s womb when Mary arrived

Luke 2:10-angels bring shepherds new of joy

Philippians 1: 3-5-I thank God for you.

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What surprised you about how and where joy is mentioned in the Bible?

Where do you find joy this Advent season?

How will you share joy this Advent season?

What You Do is Appreciated

Not too long ago I had a call from my supervisor asking me to stop by her office. Maybe you are one of those people whose mind doesn’t jump to the worst case scenario immediately. I am not. While driving to her office, I wondered what I had done wrong. Had I missed visiting a new patient? Did I offend a patient or family member? Did I chart incorrectly? The questions ran through my mind as I tried and tried to figure out why I was being called to her office. When I arrived, she thanked me for my work and gave me a bag full of goodies as appreciation for all the good work I was doing. I shared with her how I had been worried the entire time I was driving to her office. We laughed. I wish I could say that I learned my lesson and never worry about being called to the office. It isn’t true. I try. And because I felt so much love and appreciation when I received this bag of goodies, I wanted to share it with you. Know that you are loved and the work you do makes a difference in the lives of many others. You are enough. You are God’s beloved.

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Words of Peace – Advent 2

Peace

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not let them be afraid.” – John 14: 27

Many times in Old Testament people are told to “go in peace.” For example Jethro to Moses in Exodus 4:18 and Eli to Hannah in 1 Samuel 1:17.

Psalm 29:11 – “May the Lord bless his people with peace.”

Psalm 34:14 – “Seek peace and pursue it.”

Isaiah 9:6-7 – A child has been born to us.

Matthew 10: 34-39-Jesus did not come to bring peace.

Luke 1:79 – Zechariah speaking

Luke 2: 14- angels to shepherds

 

What surprised you about how and where peace is mentioned in the Bible?

Where do you find peace this Advent season?

How will you share peace this Advent season?

 

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A Gratitude List

Tomorrow we interrupt our regular lives and say thank you. I encourage you to express your gratitude to your loved ones for all the ways they brighten the world. I encourage you to notice your abundance and share. I encourage you to get outside and enjoy creation. That is how I hope you’ll spend your Thanksgiving! And as we celebrate this holiday, I am thankful for you, dear readers, for walking this journey with me. Thank you!
I’m going to start this prayer/gratitude list and hope you join me by adding those people, places, and things for which you are grateful-
Dear God, We thank you for
turkey, stuffing, cranberries, green beans, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, rolls, and pumpkin pie
tables where we gather to eat together
farmers who grew our food
family, friends, and all our loved ones
changing seasons
warm drinks and fuzzy socks
dishwashers and people who love to cook
the warmth of the sun
a day off of work
work we are called to do
laughter
small children learning and growing
elders among us who share their wisdom
candles and tablecloths and paper plates
stories of our ancestors
family recipes
naps and games
memories
walking around the block to make room for dessert
opportunities to notice our abundance and share
traditions and flexibility…
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Words of Hope-Advent 1

Years ago, I was asked by a church to lead a four-week Advent study. I’ve always loved the ritual of the Advent candle lighting, so for the study I decided to explore where does the Bible mention hope, peace, joy, and love. Each Sunday in Advent, we met and opened our Bibles together. It was such a rich experience that I’d love to do that again here on my blog. Each Monday morning, I’ll share Scriptures for the next week of Advent. I do my sharing a week early to help out any clergy friends in need of inspiration. Bring your Bibles and read through the Scriptures listed.

I’ll invite us all to reflect on these questions-

What surprised you about how and where hope/peace/joy/love is mentioned in the Bible?

Where do you find hope/peace/joy/love this Advent season?

How will you share hope/peace/joy/love this Advent season?

And since Advent begins on Sunday, we’ll start right away with hope.

 

Hope

 

But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases,   his mercies never come to an end;

they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him.’

The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul that seeks him.

                                               Lamentation 3:21-25

 

Psalm 33:18, 22- God’s eye is on those who hope in God’s steadfast love.

Psalm 39:7 – My hope is in the Lord.

Psalm 42: 1-5 – My soul longs for God.  God is my hope.

Psalm 71: 5, 14 – “I will hope continually.”

Jeremiah 17: 5-13 – verse 7 trust can be translated as hope. Hope/trust?

Romans 4:13-25 – Abraham’s hope

1 Corinthians 13:13 – faith, hope, and love abide

 

What surprised you about how and where hope is mentioned in the Bible?

Where do you find hope this Advent season?

How will you share hope this Advent season?

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A New Tea Shop

Last weekend we took some time away. One of our stops was Voila! in Frederick, Maryland. This tiny tea shop smells delicious as soon as you walk through the door. The staff is friendly and knowledgable. You can sniff any of their teas and you can enjoy a cup of anything in the shop. While we were there, they had three teas available to sample too.
I bought a couple of teas which will be reviewed in the coming weeks. I left the shop with a cup of White Grey. This is Earl Grey made with white tea. So delicious.
It was a fun place to explore and sample some unique new teas. I am looking forward to enjoying the teas I purchased and planning another trip to the shop. This is the same shop where my friend purchased Earl Grey Creme which I highly recommend.

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We Are Called to Remember!

Today would have been my buddy, Rev. Kristi Foster’s 44th birthday. She died at the age of 39 from colon cancer. She was fearless with an amazing love of life and a strong faith. Her family and friends were so important to her and you knew she loved you. In celebration of her life, I’m sharing this list I created in 2013 of some of the times I miss my friend!

Moments when I miss my friend-

when I listen to a CD you made

when life is awesome

when life stinks

when something funny happens

when I need to make a big decision

when I can’t believe what one of God’s beloved children just did/said

when it is Thursday pizza night

when a Friends reference seems appropriate

when The Amazing Race is on

when I just want to hear your voice

when I have to go camping

when I make salsa-with or without a wooden spoon

when I have a veggies only day

when I enjoy a glass of wine I know you would enjoy

when I have a guess what my niece did story-Aunts rock!

when I’m lost and in need of a reminder of my call

when I need a laugh or a good cry

when I need a partner in crime

when I discover a fun new place to eat, hear a great new song, or see a fun new tv show

when my long hair drives me crazy and I want to chop it off-I remember I started growing it out to donate as soon as I heard you had cancer

whenever the Blue Women sing

when I remember one of our crazy trips (Geneva, Taize, Scotland, road trips!)

when I pull something out of the trash to recycle it

when I use cloth napkins

when I cannot remember something I know you would remember in great detail

when I hear your voice still saved on my voicemail

when I remember my wedding or your wedding

when I wear stripes

when I see your picture.

 

Loving God, thank you for all those we love. We miss those who are gone. Today, I am missing my dear friend. Thank you for the many years of friendship we had. I lift up to you in prayer all who love her and miss her. Mend our broken hearts. Amen.

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A Prayer for Unity

A Prayer for Unity

God of All, We are a country divided. If I disagree with someone, I stop speaking to that person instead of listening. I see those who have different ideas or beliefs as my enemies instead of someone who could broaden my perspective.

Loving God, Forgive me and forgive this county. We have become fearful of each other. We are quick to judge. We assume too much. We look for differences. We think of ourselves first. Let today be a day of unity. No matter what happens today, give us the strength and courage to work together. Open our eyes to see you in each other. Open our hearts to share what we have. Open our minds to new ways of thinking. Forgive us and help us to forgive each other. Amen.

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What to Wear to Church?

I have a confession to make. I wear jeans to church. For most of you, this may not seem like something I need to confess. Let me give you the background. In my family, we went to church every Sunday during my childhood. Our nicest clothes were our church clothes. I remember new dresses for Easter and shiny church shoes. When I started working in churches, I continued to dress very nicely for Sunday worship. I was leading worship and wanted to look the part. Now, things are different. I must dress nicely Monday-Friday for work. I want to wear something different on the weekends, and so I wear my jeans. As I got dressed for church recently, I said to my husband, “I am wearing jeans today.” He reminded me that I told him that God doesn’t care what we wear to church. I believe that and need to live into the belief for myself. So with apologies to my grandmother who might not like it, I wear jeans to church. And upon further reflection, I don’t think a confession is needed for this wardrobe choice because God does not care what I wear to church. I am working to get on God’s page with this one.

My hope for all of us is that we spend much more time growing our faith on Sunday mornings and much less time worrying what we or anyone else is wearing to worship!

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Today is All Saints’ Day

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Today is All Saints’ Day. This is a day when we remember and give thanks for everyone throughout the centuries who has shared their faith with the next generation. Today we are thankful for our ancestors of faith in biblical times, the saints we’ve known in our lives, and everyone in between. When we say saints, some people think that only applies to certain important people of faith. In fact the opposite is true. We are all saints of God doing our best to live our faith and share our faith with others.

Today, I encourage you to take a moment to remember a saint you have known who is no longer with us and a saint you never knew. You can give thanks for someone whose name you know or someone whose name is now known only by God. As people of faith it is important for us to remember that our faith was passed down to us and it is our job to pass it on to others.

I’d love to know more about the saints you are remembering today.