Worship Words-A Peaceful Benediction

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Be people of peace.

Let peace live in your heart and share the peace of Christ with all you meet.

Share peace by acting out of compassion and not fear.

Share peace by listening to all sides of the story.

Share peace by praying for our world.

In this Advent season, we need to see, feel, and share peace.

As you go out into the wonder of God’s creations, share peace and hope with those you meet. Amen.


This was published on Liturgy Link on November 23, 2015.

Worship Words-A Hopeful Benediction

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Be people of hope.

Let hope live in your heart and share the hope of Christ with all you meet.

Share hope by noticing someone else’s humanity.

Share hope by listening to someone’s story.

Share hope by praying for our world.

In this Advent season, we need to see, feel, and share hope.

As you go out into the wonder of God’s creations, share hope with those you meet. Amen.


This was published on Liturgy Link on November 23, 2015.

Book Review-Drop, Dead Healthy

Drop, Dead Healthy: One Man’s Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection A.J. Jacobs


Years ago when I read My Year of Living Biblically with a book group at church, I loved the book. I loved the humor he brought to the task of attempting to follow every single rule, commandment, and suggestion in the Bible. Everything was so difficult for him to accomplish that it was funny. I was excited to discover this audio book to accompany me on my long travels.

I was disappointed in this book. The audio book is 11 hours long! When he got to month 12 and I still had many CDs to go, I wondered what was coming next. He did not feel he could complete the challenge in only 12 months and so he extended it to two years and then even longer.

While the Bible has many rules for him to follow, the sky felt like the limit with his quest for health. He kept coming up with more and more body parts and organs to try to improve. I wanted him to have a goal (not as lofty as bodily perfection) that he was going to spend 12 months trying to achieve. Every time he visited a doctor, specialist, or expert, he was left with many more healthy habits to explore.

I appreciated that he did seek out various experts in each challenge. For example, in Chapter 5, The Immune System: The Quest to Conquer Germs, he met with someone who is trying to eliminate all germs (extensive hand washing, etc) and a woman who only washes her hands when they are dirty. In the Prologue, he said, “Only by exploring the limits can you find the healthy middle ground.” And this seemed to be his point. He would attempt almost anything to try it. He was open to any “expert” who had health advice. I was overwhelmed by all the facts presented and challenges attempted.

I did appreciate learning that Protestant ministers live longer than Catholic priests. After sharing the results of a study about this, he did go on to talk about the difference between causation and correlation which led me to believe that I shouldn’t bank on living longer just because I am a Protestant minister.

He tells a story about how excited he was when he learned to listen to podcasts at double speed. I think this is a great idea. I might have enjoyed this book more if I had listened to it at double speed.

Let me sum it all up for you. It all boils down to three things. Eat less! Move more! Relax!

My recommendation for anyone who wants to read a book by A. J. Jacobs  is that you read My Year of Living Biblically.

Aveda’s Tea



Recently, I enjoyed getting fancy for a wedding at an Aveda salon in Charlotte, North Carolina. It was Halloween and all the employees were dressed up to celebrate the holiday. The Carolina cheerleader who checked me in for my appointment asked if I would like to have a cup of Aveda Tea. She told me it was made of licorice, fennel, basil, and peppermint. Now, I would not have thought of combining all those flavors together at once, and yet I still said, “I’d love to try a cup.” And I’m glad I did. It was calming and refreshing. It didn’t taste like any other tea I’ve enjoyed. It was a perfect complement to a relaxing day at the spa.



Worship Words-A Benediction from the Book of Revelation


Worship Words from Revelation 1:4b-8


Just last week I was talking with my Aunt about the book of Revelation. She is attending a Bible study on Revelation and we talked about how rarely it is read in the church. When I saw that it was one of the texts for this coming Sunday, I knew this was a nudge to craft some worship words using the last book of the Bible.


A Responsive Benediction

One-Grace to you. Extend that same grace to those you meet when you leave this place.

All-Peace to you. Peace from the One who is and who was and who is to come.

One-We leave this place as disciples of Jesus Christ who is the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of all the earth.

All-We leave this place as following the Almighty who is the Alpha and Omega, who created and is creating still.

One-Grace and Peace to you today and everyday. Amen.

Book Review-Downtime: Helping Teenagers Pray


Downtime: Helping Teenagers Pray Mark Yaconelli

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I finished reading this book while having some downtime at a dear friend’s home. And as I finished the book, I reflected on how busy life is. When I asked my youth about their lives, I am overwhelmed by all that they fit into a day and week. Sometimes when I look at my calendar, I wonder how I can get everything done. This book is a gift to those who work with youth and anyone who longs for some prayer time in their lives.


“Downtime is repentance-a returning to our natural dependance on and need for God” (25). This book encourages us to look at our time differently. By encouraging us to “withdraw, keep silence, read, go outside, rest, imagine, create, travel”, and many more things that should be part of our lives, we are given the tools to pray through the things we already do and create space to pray by taking time away. More than fifty prayers and exercises are shared in these pages.


The theme that runs through the book is seeking space apart from our busy-ness and the noise of life to seek God. In reflecting on 1 Kings 19:11-13, “God speaks to Elijah not through the overwhelming spectacles of wind, earthquake, and fire, but through a “sheer silence.” Teenagers live within a culture enamored by power and pomp, a culture that has lost its ability to hear the quiet sacrifices, the hidden creativity, and the humble acts of love that continue to sustain our world. Our young people need the silence of God so that they too might hear God say to the, “Who are you? What are you doing here? What is it you desire in this life?” (107).


With just that snippet of what you’ll find in this book, I would recommend this book to anyone looking to do youth ministry differently. This book offers an opportunity to include quiet prayer time in regular youth ministry nights and retreats. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to include more prayer time in your own life. Although the book is written for youth ministers, there is plenty to be gleaned by anyone who reads it.


Worship Words-A Thanksgiving Sermon for All Ages


I was hoping we could brainstorm together for a minute.  I’d like for us to come up with a list of things that change and a list of things that are always the same.  So what things change?  (If no response, how old were you a year ago?  Our age changes doesn’t it?)  What things stay the same?  This might be harder for some of us to answer.  I’ve got one answer.  I’m sure about this one.  God’s love for us.  It is constant.  It never changes.

Change can be hard, some things change that we don’t want to change.  And other things we wish would change.  The thing that stays the same through all of this is God’s love for us.  And since Thanksgiving is coming up very soon, I have something for you to take with you.  You can think about this and work on it with your families if you would like.  What does it say at the top of the paper?  Dear God, I’m so thankful for…  You can write or draw what you want to thank God for and remember to include on this that you are thankful that God always loves you!  

Let’s pray together.

God, you love us everyday of the week and every week of the year.  Thank you for loving us.  We have so much to be thankful for.  Remind us to be people who are thankful.  Thank you, God for everything.  Amen.

Items Needed-

A piece of paper for each person present with “Dear God, I’m so thankful for…” printed at the top. You could also use a small pack of sticky notes for this same idea.

This is adapted from a children’s sermon that was part of worship at St. Giles Presbyterian Church on November 21, 2010.

Happy Anniversary to Tea and Theology!

It is the one year anniversary of Tea and Theology. Thank you loyal readers for reading, commenting, and sharing your favorite posts. I hope you have enjoyed reading as much as I have enjoyed writing. I believe ministry is built on relationships. I thank you for being in relationship with me and the other readers of this blog. While it is rewarding to write, it makes it even better knowing someone is reading these words.
So thank you again for reading. I hope the words you have read over this past year have strengthened you on your faith journey.  If a blog post brings to mind someone, I encourage you to share those words with that person. I consider that a nudge from the Holy Spirit which should not be ignored. I hope you will continue to read as we look forward to many more years of Tea and Theology together.
Blessings and Peace,
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Taiwanese Tea


This tea is a special gift from one of my readers. He was given this tea as a gift and knew I would enjoy it. I would like to thank everyone who had a hand in the long process of that has led to me enjoying this cup of tea.

Here’s the story that is on the tin of tea.

Taiwanese Tea

This specific tin of tea is not available anywhere in Taiwan but only from my friend’s reserve stock. Their family grows the tea on their own mountain, process, and package the tea. They do not sell the tea, but only use them at home or give as gifts to guests and close friends. While the tea is not anywhere near the best tea in Taiwan, the story and efforts behind its production make it special. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.


Since this tea didn’t come with any steeping directions, I let it steep for 1 minute as I do my husband’s favorite green tea. The tea smells like harvest-time on my grandparent’s farm. It tastes earthy in a subtle way. It tastes different than other green teas I’ve sampled. It leaves no bitterness or strange after taste on the tongue. I like it. If you’d like to sample this delicious tea, you are going to have to come visit me and we’ll share a cup of this special tea together.


Call to Worship-All Are Welcome (Fall Edition)



Reader One-Come, from your yards filled with leaves.

Reader Two-Come, from the piles of leaves into which you just jumped.

All-We see the seasons change, and we come to worship our God.


Reader One-Come in your finest fall fashions.

Reader Two-Come, dressed in all the clothes you own as you struggle to get warm.

All-We come as we are seeking to see God in all who gather here today.


Reader One-Come, if this season inspires joy and thanksgiving in your life.

Reader Two-Come, if you long for warm weather and sunshine to return.

All-God, through all the seasons of the year and the seasons of our lives, we will worship you.