God’s Promise of Light

God’s Promise of Light

Psalm 27: 1, 4-9

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

One thing I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple.

For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will set me high on a rock.

Now my head is lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the Lord.

Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud, be gracious to me and answer me!

“Come,” my heart says, “seek his face!” Your face, Lord, do I seek.

Do not hide your face from me. Do not turn your servant away in anger, you who have been my help. Do not cast me off, do not forsake me, O God of my salvation!

Questions and Wise Words to Ponder-

We don’t think about light much today because it is available whenever we need it. In fact, yesterday when I was working it was so bright in this room that I didn’t turn on the light. Today we are expecting storms and although it is daytime, I am going to have to turn on the light. A simple flip of the switch and I can see. How different was it when this psalm was written? Light wasn’t easy to come by. To say that God is the light of our salvation really meant something. What language might we use today to share how important God is to us?

 

When I visited San Diego a few years ago, I spent some time on the Martin Luther King, Jr Promenade. The words from the labyrinth there go well with this psalm.

Shedding the cloak of oppression and Donning the cloak of recognition.

Shedding the cloak of fear and Donning the cloak of trust.

Shedding the cloak of prejudice and Donning the cloak of respect.

Shedding the cloak of malice and Donning the cloak of compassion.

Shedding the cloak of bitterness and Donning the cloak of forgiveness.

Shedding the cloak of despair and Donning the cloak of hope.

Shedding the cloak of weariness and Donning the cloak of courage.

Shedding the cloak of ignorance and Donning the cloak of wisdom.

Shedding the cloak of darkness and Donning the cloak of light.

Voila! Black Tea

My favorite black teas are forgiving. They are the teas that don’t have to be steeped exactly 3 minutes. If by chance you get distracted and leave your tea bag in your mug a bit too long, the forgiving black teas will still be delicious. Voila! Black Tea is a smooth, easy to drink, forgiving tea. The caramel, bergamot, currant, and cranberry blend together well. This tea smells as good as it tastes. I highly recommend it for a cold, rainy winter day. 

God’s Promise of Faithfulness

God’s Promise of Faithfulness.

1 Corinthians 1:1-9

Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes, To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, together with all those who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that has been given you in Christ Jesus, for in every way you have been enriched in him, in speech and knowledge of every kind— just as the testimony of Christ has been strengthened among you— so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you may be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful; by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Questions to Ponder-

What if you were asked to write a letter to the people you love in the style of Paul? What if you were asked to write a letter to your congregation in the style of Paul? What would you say? How would focus on God’s faithfulness? What other promises from God would you include in your letter?

Here’s my letter to you, dear readers.

Susannah, called to be a disciple of Jesus, to the readers of Tea and Theology scattered far and near, to those who know they are God’s beloved. Grace to you and peace from God who is always faithful and Jesus the Christ. I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that has been given you in Christ Jesus, for in every way you have grown and learned and developed your faith by the grace of God-just as the good news is living among and in you- so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as we wait for the return of Jesus Christ. Good news my friends, you will be strengthened now and every day so that you may be ready. God is faithful. God has called you into fellowship with Jesus and all whom God loves. For God’s faithfulness and for your faithfulness, I am eternally grateful. -Susannah
Photo credit-Rev. Kristi Foster. Taken at Taize.

Sitting by the Christmas Tree

Sitting by the Christmas Tree

In our home, we celebrate the season of Christmas by leaving our tree up until at least Epiphany. I love the practice of celebrating the liturgical season of Christmas (December 25-January 5). I feel like I have more time to sit by the Christmas tree after everyone else is done celebrating Christmas. The presents have all been unwrapped and the must do list is done. I’m sitting in the living room with all the lights off except the Christmas tree writing this now. It is a silent night with time to think about hopes for this new year and time to give thanks for those I love. It is a holy night feeling God’s love in the midst of this sacred time. It is a time to remember Christmases past and ways I have celebrated throughout my life. Merry Christmas!

What traditions of this season make it meaningful for you?

How do you celebrate in unique ways?

God’s Promise of New Life in the Waters of Baptism

God’s Promise of New Life in the Waters of Baptism

Matthew 3:13-17 (baptism of Jesus)

Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”

Questions to Ponder

How do we respond to God’s promise of new life? How do we share our faith/witness? And while preaching how can we share the good news with others? How would we share God’s promises with our congregation?

In our baptisms, we are reminded that we are God’s beloved. We are called by our names and we are known by the Creator of all. There is power in your name and power in reminding yourself you are God’s beloved. Remember your baptism and remember you are God’s beloved created in the image of God. Amen.
 

Happy New Year!

A New Year!

When the year draws to an end, I want to mark the occasion. My husband and I remember the year that is ending through the memories we have collected in our jar. While I don’t want to add another item to my to do list, I do want to look ahead to the new year with hope.

To prepare for this prayer for the new year, gather some paper and a pen and find a comfortable place to sit. When the questions come up in the prayer, pause. Take time to write and reflect.

God of yesterday, today, and tomorrow,
A new year is approaching. After reflecting and remembering this year, I want to look ahead with hope. I wonder what this new year will bring. For your guidance as the new year begins, I pray.
What are my hopes for myself for the new year?
What are my hopes for those I love for the new year?
What are my hopes for where I live, my country, and this world for the new year?
Faithful God, hear my hopes for this new year. Amen.

Merry Christmas

As the season changes from Advent to Christmas, I wish you a very Merry Christmas. Here is my prayer for you. Wherever you find yourself this holiday, I pray that you feel God’s love breaking into our world. I pray that you pause and experience the wonder of God’s gift to us. I pray that you laugh with those you love. I pray that you take a moment to remember your loved ones who live with God. I pray for peace on earth. I pray that the hope, peace, joy, and love of Advent will live on in your lives as this year ends and a new one begins. Amen and Merry Christmas!

 

What do I want to do today? Nothing! – A Prayer for One of Those Days

Just like everyone else, I have days where I do not want to do anything I’m supposed to be doing. Instead of getting ready for work or something that must be done right away, I do 20 other things, read a book, or watch tv. When I finally start to get ready, I have to hurry which means I forgot something (most often my lunch). I don’t have the answer to eliminating these days from your life. I would like to share this prayer which may help stop mornings that start like this from turning into terrible days.

God, Another day is here. My bed looks so inviting. Would another 15 minutes hurt anyone? God, I hear you trying to keep me on track. Reminding me of my gifts and calling. I know all this, and I don’t want to do it today. Yes God, I know I am your beloved child. And yes, God, I know I must get on with my day. And yes, God, I know I need vacation and Sabbath time. (Breathe deeply). Holy One, I hear you calling me to make time for work and Sabbath time. I will. And now I will go where you have called me to serve. And I will remember the Sabbath and find more time for joy. Amen.

Words of Love – Advent 4

Love

“When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him.

‘Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?’

He said to him, ‘“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.’  –Matthew 22: 34-40

Leviticus 19:18 – love your neighbor as yourself

Deuteronomy 6:5 – love God with all your heart

Deuteronomy 10: 19 – love the stranger

Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8 – time for everything including love

Micah 6:8 – love justice

Matthew 5: 43-48 – Jesus reminds us to love our enemies

John 15: 9-17 – “As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you…”

1 Corinthians 13 – the love chapter

photo 2-17

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

Where do you find love this Advent season?

How will you share love this Advent season?

Thompson’s Family Teas – Irish Breakfast Blend

On a recent trip to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, I was browsing at a shop called, A Little Irish Too, when I spotted Thompson’s Family Teas. I was so excited because the Thompson side of my family traces their roots back to Ireland. It seems that my family of origin loves tea a much as I do.

 

I’m happy to recommend this tea and not just because of the name. It brews up a dark, rich color. The tea smells like Irish fields after the rain. (This is a guess since I have never been to Ireland. Sounds like I need to plan a trip there for research for my blog). The tea is smooth and delicious. This is now my favorite Irish Breakfast Tea.