Holy Week and Easter

The Bible has four versions of this adventurous week leading to Jesus being executed and raised to new life. I encourage you to pick one and read it, so that Easter is that much more powerful: Matthew 21-28, Mark11-16, Luke 19-24, John 12-21. (Feel free to read all four if you choose!) And attend as many of the three Holy Week and Easter services as you can, to engage even more fully with this story that shapes and explains human existence. 

Follow this link to the Pastor’s Ponderings for Holy Week and Easter for further thoughts.  See you in worship at 7 PM on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, and 10 AM on Easter Sunday.

                                                              Grace and Peace, Pastor Bruce

“Sounds of the Passion: The Shouting of the Crowd”

The world we live in is not quiet.  And plenty of times there is shouting, and cheering, and jeering, and we have to listen closely to know just what it means. And the difference in those sounds between Sunday and Thursday of the last week of Jesus’ life are a pretty important difference to pick up on.

Follow this link to the Pastor’s Ponderings for April 14, 2019 for further thoughts.  See you in worship at 10 AM this Sunday.

                                                              Grace and Peace, Pastor Bruce

“Sounds of the Passion: The Splash of Water”

Rain on the roof. A stream flowing by. Washing our hands, or our clothes. We hear water splash, and sometimes it just is--and sometimes it has significant meaning. We'll look at that.

Follow this link to the Pastor’s Ponderings for April 7, 2019 for further thoughts.  See you in worship at 10 AM this Sunday. We will celebrate Holy Communion.

                                                              Grace and Peace, Pastor Bruce

“Sounds of the Passion: The Clatter of Coins”

Judas famously sold out Jesus for thirty pieces of silver. Judas was not the first person, and certainly was not the last person, to seen to prioritize money over a person. It is easy to mis-prioritize money. Money can become more important than God, if we’re not careful. 

Follow this link to the Pastor’s Ponderings for March 31, 2019 for further thoughts.  See you in worship at 10 AM this Sunday.

                                                               Grace and Peace, Pastor Bruce

“Sounds of the Passion: The Rattle of Dice”

As Jesus is dying of the cross, there are those right there in front of him gambling for his clothes. Seems pretty cold, doesn't it?  And yet, Jesus forgives them for this. 

            Are there other ways of gambling that don't call for forgiveness--in fact, may be just what Jesus would have us do

Follow this link to the Pastor’s Ponderings for March 24, 2019 for further thoughts.  See you in worship at 10 AM this Sunday.

                                                               Grace and Peace, Pastor Bruce

“Sounds of the Passion: The Sound of Weeping”

As Jesus was being led to his death, carrying his cross, the Scriptures tell us of the women who cried.  Any why wouldn’t they?  A sad, tragic, horrible thing was happening, and tears are an appropriate—and inevitable--expression of the emotions felt at a time like that. 

We cry too, at any number of things. Tears connect us with deep feelings. Even Jesus cried.  

Follow this link to the Pastor’s Ponderings for March 17, 2019 for further thoughts.  See you in worship at 10 AM this Sunday.

                                                               Grace and Peace, Pastor Bruce

“Listening for God”

Life is noisy.  God seeks to speak in the midst of the noise, not just when it isn’t there—and yet without those intentional times of silence to process and sort it all out, we might not pick up on it.

And yet Lent is not only about getting away from the noise. It is about “Listening for God” even in the midst of the noise

Follow this link to the Pastor’s Ponderings for March 10, 2019 for further thoughts.  See you in worship at 10 AM this Sunday as we have entered the season of Lent.

                                                              Grace and Peace, Pastor Bruce

“The Vision”

The sermon title "The Vision" addresses that having a vision means (at least) two things--what you see, and what that then compels you to do in living out that "vision".  We'll explore what that means for our lives as disciples of Jesus.

Follow this link to the Pastor’s Ponderings for March 3, 2019 for further thoughts.  See you in worship at 10 AM this Sunday.  ALL are welcome as we celebrate Holy Communion.

                                                               Grace and Peace, Pastor Bruce

“Epiphanies: Eye for an Eye?”

One of the questions in the Bible Study this week wondered if Jesus changed the Scriptures that he learned, or merely interpreted them really differently—and the most obvious example is when he challenged the “eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth” guideline. He called into question whether we should live like that, even though the Scriptures he read said that we should. Hmm . . .

Follow this link to the Pastor’s Ponderings for February 24, 2019 for further thoughts. See you in worship at 10 AM this Sunday.

Grace and Peace, Pastor Bruce

"Epiphanies: If Your Eye . . ."

Did Jesus have crazy ideas?  Did Jesus have crazy "suggestions" about how we are to live, and what we are to do? 

Follow this link to the Pastor’s Ponderings for February 17, 2019 for further thoughts. See you in worship at 10 AM this Sunday, when we will celebrate the Baptism of Tristin Asher Brown.

                                                                            Grace and Peace, Pastor Bruce

"Epiphanies: See Your Good Works"

In the passage from the Sermon on the Mount for this coming Sunday, Jesus risks inflating the egos of the people he's talking to.  He tells them that they are the "salt of the earth" and the "light of the world".  It would be easy to get all egotistical if someone tells you that--imagine if JESUS tells you that!  So how do we believe that, but not get self-centered about it?

Follow this link to the Pastor’s Ponderings for February 10, 2019 for further thoughts. See you in worship at 10 AM this Sunday, when we will welcome three new members.

                                                                           Grace and Peace, Pastor Bruce

"Epiphanies: See God"

The Sermon on the Mount has been around for a couple of thousand years, and we still struggle to implement what Jesus teaches in it.  The ethos he presents in Matthew 5:1-12, the Beatitudes, is so counter-intuitive to how we live, and how we've been taught to live.  What a challenge to us as to how we follow Jesus!

Follow this link to the Pastor’s Ponderings for February 3, 2019 for further thoughts. See you in worship at 10 AM this Sunday.  We will celebrate Holy Communion.

                                                                           Grace and Peace, Pastor Bruce

"Epiphanies: Come And See"

Since the weather caused us to cancel worship last Sunday, the planned order of worship, Scriptures, and sermon will happen this coming Sunday.  Please follow this link to the Pastor’s Ponderings for January 20, 2019 for thoughts on the sermon.  And please follow the link for January 27, 2019 for further thoughts on the Special Offering we will receive for Human Relations Sunday (which was to have been last Sunday).

Human Relations Sunday falls right before the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, which raises a key point about human relations, and about how we need to understand and approach human relations. Two quotes leap to mind: "Never forget that justice is what love looks like in public"   (Cornel West) and "True peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice" (Martin Luther King, Jr.)--both of which affirm that human relations is not about everybody "behaving" but about everybody having value. 

See you in worship at 10 AM this Sunday.  We will receive a special offering for Human Relations Day.

                                                                           Grace and Peace, Pastor Bruce

"Epiphanies: He Saw the Spirit"

This is the season of Epiphany in the life of the church, where we are supposed to "see" stuff.  This Sunday we recall Jesus being baptized by John (the Baptist), and in the story it says "He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him". What does that mean for us?  And what are we seeing--or failing to see?

Follow this link to the Pastor’s Ponderings for January 13, 2019 for further thoughts. See you in worship at 10 AM this Sunday.

                                                                           Grace and Peace, Pastor Bruce

"Characters of Christmas: 7. The Wise Men"

We wrap up the "Characters of Christmas" series this Sunday with the "wise men from the East"--who are different from all of the other "Characters of Christmas" in a whole lot of ways. Ways we need to think about in how we interact with others.  

Follow this link to the Pastor’s Ponderings for January 6, 2019 for further thoughts. See you in worship at 10 AM this Sunday.  We will celebrate Holy Communion and the Baptism of Harrison Robert Miskiel.

                                                                           Grace and Peace, Pastor Bruce

“Characters of Christmas 4. Joseph”

Our "Characters of Christmas" for the next two Sundays, with Christmas Eve in between, are the three that comprise "the Holy Family".  Each has a story that is important for Christmas, obviously, and important for our own journey to and from Christmas.   

​Follow this link to the Pastor’s Ponderings for December23-30, 2018 for further thoughts. See you in worship at 10 AMon Sundays, and 5 PM and 7:30 PM on Christmas Eve.

​                                       Grace and Peace, Pastor Bruce

"Characters of Christmas: 3. Elizabeth"

Elizabeth's story reminds us that it's not all about "me"--even the wonderful gifts given to me are for more than me.

Follow this link to the Pastor’s Ponderings for December 16, 2018 for further thoughts. See you in worship at 10 AM this Sunday..  

                                                                           Grace and Peace, Pastor Bruce

"Characters of Christmas: 2. Zechariah"

We all have that extended family that we are reminded of as Christmas approaches, and who play a part in our own experience of Christmas.  Jesus, too, had such a family, and they play a part in that first Christmas.  Zechariah, the father of Jesus' relative John the Baptist, is one of those characters connected to the Christmas Story. 

Follow this link to the Pastor’s Ponderings for December 9, 2018 for further thoughts. See you in worship at 10 AM this Sunday..  

                                                                           Grace and Peace, Pastor Bruce

"Hanging of the Greens"

Each holiday has its symbols.  For example, a Jack-o-Lantern—carved pumpkin—is used at Halloween, and likewise Christmas is replete with symbols, first and foremost a tree covered with ornaments called—not mysteriously—a Christmas tree.  In the church, the time of preparation for Christmas, known as Advent, has symbols too.

This Sunday is the “Hanging of the Greens” when we not only decorate for Advent and Christmas, but also dedicate those symbols and remind ourselves what they mean and why we use them. WE begin with breakfast, starting at 8:30 AM, then together decorate the Sanctuary and Welcome Center. 

Follow this link to the Pastor’s Ponderings for November 25, 2018 for further thoughts. See you in worship at 11 AM (note changed time!) this Sunday. We will celebrate Holy Communion.  

                                                                           Grace and Peace, Pastor Bruce