Snakes

“The people came to Moses and said, ‘We have sinned by speaking against the Lord and against you; pray to the Lord to take away the serpents from us.’ So Moses prayed for the people.” Numbers 21:7 (NRSV) I want to be crystal clear: I do not like snakes. And please save yourself the time […]

First, Be Reconciled

“So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift.” Matthew 5:23-24 Eight days ago, George Floyd, an unarmed 46 year old […]

A Mighty Wind

“When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly a sound came from heaven, like the rush of a mighty wind…” Acts 2:1-2a Doubtless you remember that yesterday was Pentecost Sunday. It is part of the church-year calendar, the cycle of liturgy that we observe every year, forty […]

Family Friday: This Too Shall Pass

“Nevertheless, that time of darkness and despair will not go on forever” Isaiah 9:1 Has anyone else caught themselves saying more and more frequently, “when this is all over?!” As time continues to pass, and our community begins reopening, it feels as if everything would just magically return to the way things were before. However, […]

For Everything, A Season

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to […]

Crammed with Wonder

When the Lord saw that he had turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.”  Then he said, “Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” (Exodus 3:4-5, NRSV) I suspect I am not […]

A Modern-Day Salutation

“Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you, praying with joy…” Philippians 1:2-4a Greetings on this Memorial Day Monday! I would have written “Happy Memorial Day”, but I know it is […]

Family Friday: The Rainbow Connection

So God said to Noah, “That rainbow is a sign. It is the sign of the agreement that I made with all living things on earth.” Genesis 9:17 (International Children’s Bible) For weeks, I have been thinking about rainbows. I honestly don’t know why. Ms. Lois and I haven’t taught the Noah’s Ark lesson, nor […]

Don’t Pray for Patience

“My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance; and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4 (NRSV) I am not, by nature, a patient person. […]

Lessons from Max

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult.” Psalm 46:1-3 (NRSV) You learn a lot about your dog […]

Beyond Severe Affliction

“We want you to know, brothers and sisters, about the grace of God which has been shown in the churches of Macedonia. For in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of liberality on their part. For they gave according to their means, as […]

Family Friday: Seeing With More Than Our Eyes

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:6 You know the adage, seeing is believing? Well, I do not know about everyone else, but for me, especially lately, that has been challenging to understand. It has been so difficult at times to “see” the […]

Green Market Realization

“Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, […]

Royal Pains

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1 (NRSV) When the safer-at-home order came from Governor DeSantis, I decided that I needed to find a television show that I could watch at night since I am not much of a television watcher. I do not remember how I found […]

How Long, O Lord?

First, a gift for the Naples UCC Choir-in-absentia: A snail went to the exotic car dealer the buy a car. He picked out a Jaguar. The salesperson was surprised when the snail wanted a large “S” painted on each side door. Why would you want that, the salesperson asked. “Because”, said the snail, “when I […]

Family Friday: The Abundance of Mothers

“As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you.”  Isaiah 66:13 When the calendar turns to May, I think of my mother and her best friend since boarding school days, who I fondly call Aunt Dale. Their birthdays are a week apart, around Mother’s Day. My own mother passed away nine years ago, […]

Blessings in Disguise

“With every sun’s rising, surprise us with your love, satisfy us with your kindness. Then we will sing with joy and celebrate every day we are alive.” Psalm 90:14 (The Voice Paraphrase) Meister Eckhart once suggested: “If the only prayer you said in your whole life was thank you, that would suffice.” Those words have had a profound […]

Called to Be Friends

I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. John 15:15 (NRSV) In 1980 Paula Ripple, an American Catholic nun and spiritual leader, published a […]

Suffering or Peace?

Jesus said, “These things I have spoken to you, that in me you might have peace. In the world you will have suffering. But take heart. I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) Which would you rather have: today, Monday, the first day of another week? Suffering or peace? That may seem like a stupid […]

Family Friday: Seeking Control of the “Big” Things

“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control,” 2 Timothy 1:7 So often lately I have found myself desperate for some sense of control. For families, who spend so much of their days trying to control nap times, meals, routines, and keeping everyone in check, feeling a […]

It’s the Small Things

“And, whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:17 It’s hard to be in the helping profession while often feeling helpless about being able to do something significant during this crisis. I don’t think I’m alone in […]

Some Good News

“Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7 (NRSV) Probably like you, I get tired of watching the news. Also, probably like you, some days I cannot seem to turn it off. It is like watching a […]

Then Sings My Soul

Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth! Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into God’s presence with singing! For the LORD is good. God’s steadfast love endures forever, God’s faithfulness to all generations! Psalm 100:1, 5 On occasion, I’ve seen video clips of outdoor concerts with thousands of people crowded together around […]

Family Edition: Hugs from Heaven

So comfort each other and give each other strength, just as you are doing now. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (International Children’s Bible) At the end of our Zoom Sunday School class this past week, Gabby called through the screen with her arms wide open, “I want to come right through that screen and hug every single […]

The Luxury of Small Complaints

Above all, maintain constant love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaining. Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received. I Peter 4:8-10 You have heard the adage: “The longer you live, the more […]

Many Members, One Body

Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many… If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it. I Corinthians 12: 14, 26 In I Corinthians 12, Paul writes extensively about the unity of the many members of one body. He insists […]

COVID in the Body of Christ?

“Is anyone among you suffering? Let her pray. Is any cheerful? Let him sing praise!” James 5:13 “If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together! Now YOU are the body of Christ, and individually, members of it.” I Corinthians 12:26-27 I smiled warmly, as did many of you, the […]

Family Edition: Seeing Beyond the Now

“Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you.” Proverbs 4:25 I cannot help but think of what it means for children and youth to see their milestones canceled. When I read of high school seniors not able to have a prom, and graduations canceled for all grades, my heart ached for […]

A New Normal?

“Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” Psalm 30:5b For the past year, I have been meeting via Zoom with three friends for mutual coaching. Even though we had never met before sharing a coaching seminar, we have become close over that time as we have learned about each other. […]

Butterflies

“Listen, I will tell you a mystery! We will not all die, but we will all be changed…” 1 Corinthians 15:51 (NRSV) The count of people infected with COVID-19 (coronavirus) goes up daily. Collier County has experienced three deaths from the disease. Congress passed, and the president signed, a $2+ Trillion stimulus package in an […]

Surrender to Vitality

And Jesus said to Thomas, “Have you believed because you have sent me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.” Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may trust that Jesus is the Christ, […]

Family Edition: Good-Bad Friday?

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” John 3:16 NRSV Today is Good Friday, which I will forever associate with the Good Friday Vacation Bible School at the church I previously served. Each year, children […]

Knackered

“I will satisfy the weary, and all who are faint I will replenish.” Jeremiah 31:25 Maybe I’m not alone, but I am discovering the great variety of shows on Netflix, and somehow, I’ve gotten hooked on several British cooking shows. I find myself enamored with the different turns of phrase that the English language takes in […]

Unknown Future, Known God

For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you. When you search for me, you will find me; if you […]

April 6

“As Jesus sat at table, a woman came with an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the flask and poured it over his head. But there were some who said to themselves indignantly, ‘Why was the ointment thus wasted? It might have been sold for more than three hundred […]

Family Friday: April 3

Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” Mark 11:9 We have been hearing a lot about the importance of routine over the last few weeks. Routines are different than habits, recurring actions that require little or no conscious thought. Establishing a […]

April 2

“Then God said (to Moses), “Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” (Exodus 3:5) This morning, I received a FaceTime call from my daughter because our granddaughter insisted on calling her Nana. So, bless my daughter, she called me. The first words […]

March 31

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of […]

March 30

“Let love be without pretense: rejecting evil, holding on to good, exercising heart-felt affection, preferring each other in honor. Don’t let go of your enthusiasm, your spiritual energy, your desire to serve the Lord.” Romans 12:9-11 I like the way technology gives us so many ways to communicate and to manage information. I’m glad that […]

Family Friday: March 27

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or troubled. The Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 When I think of what families, particularly parents, must be feeling right now, my heart aches. Most overwhelming of all is the uncertainty of not knowing what’s ahead while trying to navigate parenting in […]

March 26

“Know that I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” Genesis 28:15 (NRSV) Not that I keep much food in my house during the height of season, but I […]

March 24

“As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.” Colossians 3:12 (NRSV) A couple of weeks ago, one of our daughters, who lives in Manhattan, had been told to work from home, and had booked a flight to be with us in Florida. After all, who wouldn’t rather […]

March 23

“And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20b (NRSV) In the midst of a crisis, there is a strong human tendency to ask questions like: Why is this happening? Or, why is God allowing this to happen? I do not know. That is simply not how I think about it. […]

Family Friday: March 20

He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” Luke 10:27 (NRSV) My home in Massachusetts was set 800 feet back from a two mile stretch of road, surrounded by woods. […]

March 19

“I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands; for God did not give us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power and love and soundness of mind.” II Timothy 1:6-7 (NRSV) When Paul writes to young Timothy, he writes to remind him […]

March 16

“Do not worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 (NRSV) During this time of uncertainty, my mind races everywhere, keeping me […]

March 15

  “Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted; but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:30-31 (NRSV) I do not wait well. The […]