Fly Like an Eagle

“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. [God] does not faint or grow weary; [God’s] understanding is unsearchable. [God] gives power to the faint, and strengthens the powerless. Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall […]

Recovering from the Hangover

But this I call to mind, and therefore, I have hope: the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, God’s mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:21-23) We have all been hearing the words, “Thank God 2020 is over!” I know that we have all […]

A Prayer on the Eve

And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth . . . From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.  ( John 1: 14,16 NRSV) My granddaughter Eve is old enough now that we […]

What Does the Lord Require of Us?

“…And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8) While January 15 marks the celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, it is on this day, January 18 that we observe Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. An American Baptist minister and […]

Where Are My Cookies?

Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. (Philippians 2:4) Even before the pandemic began, I cherished phone calls with long-distance family, friends, and former colleagues. All too often our conversations would begin with a litany of how busy we each were as if it were a […]

The Faith of Science

Thus says God, the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people upon it and spirit to those who walk in it… (Isaiah 42:5, NRSV) I appreciate so much when people share parts of their lives and family […]

Peacemakers

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. (Matthew 5:8-9) My thoughts today turned to Swedish diplomat, United Nations General Secretary, and Nobel Prize recipient, Dag Hammarskjold. On September 18, 1961, he was en-route to negotiate a cease-fire in the Congo […]

Loving Those We Have Seen

We love because [God] first loved us. Those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must […]

Defining God

. . . for God is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as God is merciful. (Luke 6:36) When the world that sustains my life and dreams disappoints me, I reach back for words that shock my senses and wake me from my prejudice and complacency. It is easy to go along with […]

Let it Go

You are the God who works wonders (Psalm 77:13-1) It is the time of year when we create goals, lists, and resolutions for the year ahead. Typically, these resolutions center on things like getting healthy, traveling, and finances. Creating goals while living in a world pandemic, after months of social distancing and self-isolation feels a lot […]

Summer Memories

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. Recite them to your children and talk about them when you […]

Repotted

Their delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law they meditate day and night. They are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaved do not wither. In all they do, they prosper. (Psalm 1:2-3) When our daughter moved to Florida in […]

To Do or To Be?

Be still, and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. (Psalm 46:10-11, NRSV) The beginning of a new year serves as a good reminder that much of life is cyclical. Every […]

Whimsical Merrymaking

Sing aloud to God our strength, shout for joy to the God of Jacob. Raise a song, sound the tambourine, the sweet lyre with the harp. Blow the trumpet at the new moon, at the full moon, on our festal day. (Psalm 81: 1-2) As I have looked back over the past year, I am […]

New Year Gifts and Blessings

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.  (James 1:17) Happy New Year! I wonder if you are waking up this morning breathing a sigh of relief that 2020 is behind you. Are you grateful to be looking forward to the […]

The Wordsmith vs. 2020

“But now thus says the Lord…Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.” Isaiah 43:1 (NRSV) I am a wordsmith. If you think about it from a purely professional standpoint, in my role as Senior Minister, you employ me to use words. Admittedly some of you probably […]

Connecting Dots

You have heard; now see all this; and will you not declare it? From this time forward I make you hear new things, hidden things that you have not known. (Isaiah 48:6) Every year, as the new year approaches, I take a couple of hours to reflect on the previous year. I get a cup of […]

The Work of Christmas

When Jesus came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written: “The Spirit of […]

Ringing Peace

Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among people. (Luke 2:14) Christmas Day was a day of joy, confusion, and hurry in my childhood home in Connecticut. After the unwrapping of gifts and breakfast together, we piled in the car for Christmas Day worship, as was our Methodist custom. When worship ended […]

Christmas Bells

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Luke 2:14 (KJV) I heard the bells on Christmas Day Their old, familiar carols play, and wild and sweet The words repeat Of peace on earth, good-will to men! In 1861, two years before writing his famous Christmas Bells poem, Henry […]

The True Meaning of Christmas

Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift. (2 Corinthians 9:13) Happy Christmas Eve! As we finish the flurry of preparations and put out the cookies for Santa, Christmas morning is just one sleep away. All the shopping is done, cooking is underway, and now it is time to give and receive gifts. Most of us […]

How Silently, How Silently

But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. (Luke 2:19-20) David and I had been married about a year and a half when we moved from rural Ohio to Mayview, Missouri. I […]

The Candle of Faith

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1, NRSV) For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now faith, hope, and love […]

A Luminous Season

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12) One of the gifts of the Christmas season is its luminosity…the way the season lights up offering a feast for the eyes. I love the twinkle lights on both […]

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah.  In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.  In those days […]

Celebrate Everything

David danced before the Lord with all his might . . . (2 Samuel 6:14a, NRSV) I was recently enjoying a socially distanced Happy Hour with a good friend. I really do not remember how it came up, but our server said something about the New Year approaching. We both laughed and said that it would […]

The In-Between’s

Then Moses said to Aaron, “Say to the whole congregation of the Israelites, ‘Draw near to the Lord, for he has heard your complaining.’” And as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the Israelites, they looked toward the wilderness, and the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud. (Exodus 16:9-10) I feel like […]

Advent 3: The Candle of Joy

If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.  (John 15:10-12, NRSV) On Sunday, December 13, we marked the third […]

Names, Not Numbers

An account of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham.  Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers . . . (Matthew 1:1-17) My cousins are using the stay-at-home social distancing time to mine material they are […]

The True Meaning of Christmas

You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth (Luke 1:14) When we think about Christmas, what images come to mind? The season of Christmas has, in a lot of ways, become commercialized- especially for children- to produce thoughts of Santa, presents, trees, snowmen, etc. Most family traditions are embedded in gift […]

The Beginning of the End

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth . . . (Revelation 21:1a) Margaret Keenan, a grandmother in the United Kingdom, who turns 91 next week, said the injection was the “best early birthday present.” She was the first recorded COVID-19 vaccine recipient earlier this week. As she received the injection, those who watched […]

Advent 2: The Candle of Peace

For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  (Isaiah 9:6, NRSV) May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus, so that […]

The Sound of Silence

But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. (Luke 2:19 KJV) Last year, my parents gave me a pair of earbuds for Christmas. I asked for a specific pair and my parents graciously and generously purchased that particular set for me. My original intent was to use them for jogging and […]

Waiting: Blessing or Challenge?

Let me hear what God the LORD will speak, for he will speak peace to his people, to his faithful, to those who turn to him in their hearts. Surely God’s salvation is at hand for those who fear him, that his glory may dwell in our land. Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet: righteousness […]

The Christmas Mouse

These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  (Deuteronomy 6:5-7) When our young families gathered outside to celebrate the start of Advent […]

Joy Scatterers

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10) Yesterday, I had the opportunity to gather with a few of our Stephen Ministers for a socially distanced outdoor luncheon. It was very different from our usual Christmas celebration, but beautiful in […]

A Quiet Preparation

A voice cries out: In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. (Isaiah 40:3) Once upon a time a Grinch tried to steal Christmas. He plundered Whoville of all its packages, tinsels, trees, food, even the logs in the fireplace and crumbs for the […]

Advent 1: The Candle of Hope

And again Isaiah says, “The root of Jesse shall come, the one who rises to rule the Gentiles; in him the Gentiles shall hope.” May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:12-13 NRSV) […]

Wilted Lettuce

Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; Blessed are those who trust in God!(Psalm 34:8) As the days grow shorter and the pandemic continues longer, I find myself thinking about the times, people, and places that brought me immense joy. Their portraits are a little dusty in the hallways of my mind but […]

Unconditional Gratitude

It is good to give thanks to the Lord, and sing praises to Your name, O Most High. (Psalm 92:1) As you are reading this, it is the day after Thanksgiving. It is the day after we pause from the daily grind to share in food, family, and gratitude. This holiday season does not just […]

Count Your Blessings

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NRSV) A survey released earlier this week stated that 61% of families changed their Thanksgiving plans due to COVID-19 spikes. My family is one of them. The night before my parents […]

Extra Grace Required

“Do not judge so that you may not be judged. For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get.” (Matthew 7:1-2) Extra Grace Required. Maybe you’re struggling with a family member who criticizes you unfairly or expects too much of you… or a friend who […]

My Church Family

I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now. (Philippians 1:3-5, NRSV) The Thanksgiving holiday is two days from now. My celebration—and perhaps yours, too—will be very different […]

Finding Rest For Your Soul

Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. (Jeremiah 6:16) While living up north, away from our Naples home, my mind often travels to our beautiful labyrinth at Naples UCC. It’s circular pattern rests […]

You Are Wonderfully Made

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:13-14) Like many families, we have lots of family photos. They are stored in scrapbooks, boxes, on my computer and on my phone. A lucky few are displayed in frames. Every […]

Empty Chairs at Empty Tables

Jesus said to [Martha], ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.’ (John 11:25-26a, NRSV) I mentioned in a previous Going the Distance that I do not watch a lot of television. At least […]

Setting a Prisoner Free

Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven. (Luke 6:37) Bury the hatchet. Let bygones be bygones. Kiss and make up. I have come to realize that we have so many ways of describing […]

Signs

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name. (John 20:30-31, NRSV) A car […]

Living Lightly

Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew […]

Finding a Safe Place

He is a God that never lacks strength to rescue us. (Isaiah 50:2) In each of the classrooms at Precious Cargo, we have what is called a “safe place.” This is an area in the room set aside from all the busyness of centers, toys, art materials, etc. It usually has a soft welcoming chair […]

Stand By Me

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. (Isaiah 43:2, NRSV) My brain knows that the hurricane season ends on November 30. But I always assume […]

THINK

You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; for your anger does not produce God’s righteousness. (James 1:19-20) Have you ever had one of those moments where you wished you could rewind and erase what you just said? Even though I try very hard to […]

Perseverance

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the […]

Stuck In Front of an Oncoming Train

. . . and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age. (Matthew 28:20) I remember reading a story in the New York Times: While awaiting a subway train with his two young daughters, Wesley Autrey saw a man on the platform who was convulsing and stumbling. As Wesley turned to […]

Let’s Build Each Other Up

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. (1 Thessalonians 5:11) Remember that old expression, “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but names will never hurt me?” How many of us instinctively shot back those words on the playground when we were children? Perhaps children still […]

Revolutionary Patience

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair. (2 Corinthians 4:8, NRSV) I awoke yesterday morning and there was no president-elect, although both candidates were predicting victory. Collier County ranked 16th in Florida for new COVID-19 infections. And to add to the fun, Tropical Storm Eta appeared to […]

What Plans?

For thus says the Lord: Only when Babylon’s seventy years are completed will I visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. 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 Higher Power

My speech and my proclamation were not with plausible words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God. (I Corinthians 2:4-5, NRSV) I am writing this devotional less than one week before the election, knowing […]

One Step at a Time

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger who announces peace, who brings good news, who announces salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.” Listen! Your sentinels lift up their voices, together they sing for joy; for in plain sight they see the return of the LORD to Zion. Break forth […]

Choose Gratitude

Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God. (1 Thessalonians 5:18) Did you know that gratitude is a choice? We must make the conscious effort to count our blessings, to see all that we have, and not focus on all that we do not. It is up to us to fuel […]

Unleashed

The Lord will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. (Deuteronomy 28:12) I have a precious little poodle mix named Lucy. She is a great companion, weighing in at about 8 pounds and is the sweetest, most […]

God has helped us so far

Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Jeshanah, and named it Ebenezer; for he said, ‘Thus far the Lord has helped us.’ (1 Samuel 7:12) I’m remembering a time when my then-teenaged daughter came to my church office during choir rehearsal. She was crying. There’d been a disagreement about the […]

Be Not Afraid

“David said further to his son Solomon, ‘Be strong and of good courage, and act. Do not be afraid or dismayed; for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you, until all the work for the service of the house of the Lord is finished.’” (I Chronicles […]

Gifts Freely Given

Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but those who do the will of God. (Matthew 7:21) Just before dawn, I was traveling through the small southern Illinois town of Benton on my way to an early morning meeting. After stopping for coffee—my morning kind of fuel, I […]

Contagious Compassion

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. (Colossians 3:12) This Fall, our Sunday School families are exploring what it means to have compassion for others, ourselves, and the world through Illustrated Ministry Compassion Camp. The endless options of the program are allowing our families […]

Holy Interruptions

Once Jesus was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was coming, and he answered, “The kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed; nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There it is!’ For, in fact, the kingdom of God is among you.” (Luke 17:20-22, NRSV) […]

Wilderness Wonderings

Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian; he led his flock beyond the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of a bush; he looked, and the bush was blazing, yet it […]

Tulips

And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. (Matthew […]

A Closer Walk

For you shall go out in joy, And be led forth in peace; The mountains and the hills before you shall break out in singing, and all the trees of the field shall Clap their hands. (Isaiah 55:12) In the summer of 1972, I found myself in a rural area of West Virginia, north of […]

Seeking Rainbows

I have placed my rainbow in the clouds. It is the sign of my covenant with you and with all the earth. (Genesis 9:13) Rainbows have always been special to me. Throughout my life I would rejoice when I saw a rainbow among the clouds, colorfully reminding me of the treasures, joy, and love that […]

Pops of Joy

I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now. I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to […]

Wilderness Acedia

Then Moses said to Aaron, “Say to the whole congregation of the Israelites, ‘Draw near to the Lord, for he has heard your complaining.’” And as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the Israelites, they looked toward the wilderness, and the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud. The Lord spoke to Moses […]

Patience

For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. (Romans 8:24-25, NRSV) These are trying times that present severe challenges to the mental health of individuals and […]

Alternate Route

So [the prodigal child] set off and went to [their parent]. But while they were still far off, [their parent] saw [them] and was filled with compassion; [they] ran and put [their] arms around [them] and kissed [them]. (Luke 15:20b, NRSV) If you drive north on U.S. 41 going from downtown and look east, you […]

Puppy Love

“My son, don’t think the Lord’s discipline of you is worth nothing. And don’t stop trying when the Lord corrects you. The Lord corrects those he loves. (Hebrews 12:5-6) Last Friday, my husband Chris and I welcomed an 11-week-old Corgi puppy into our home. Along with moving to the land of palm trees, getting a […]

Well done!

Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28, NRSV) This Sunday, as we always do, we will worship God. But we are adding a special element to worship. We will also thank The Reverend Doctor David Kaiser-Cross. We will be thanking him […]

Small Kindnesses

Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:31-32) I am a creature of habit. Don’t get me wrong – I like to change things up, but […]

Another Look at Gratitude

I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, and for this reason I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers. (Ephesians 1:15-16, NRSV) As I consider the Going the Distance devotionals written since March, I am aware of […]

A New Chapter

“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?” (Isaiah 43:19) A week from today I will be waking up to new chapter called “retirement.” This is something that many, if not most, of you know very well from your own experience. Indeed, I have heard more than […]

We Will Not Crumble

“Though the mountain may crumble, you will not.” Isaiah 54:10 During this pandemic, I have struggled with giving myself the space to feel my emotions. I avoid dwelling in the world of feelings, and instead wear blinders only allowing me to focus on the tasks before me. If I feel my inner voice start to […]

The Journey is Our Home

I will establish my covenant between me and you, and your offspring after you throughout their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you. (Genesis 17:7, NRSV) Life is a journey, not a destination. We have all seen that slogan on posters and t-shirts and other memorabilia. […]

Back to School

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven…” Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NRSV)   Last Tuesday, my nieces and nephews (who all live in Houston, Texas) went back to school. Needless to say, it looked much different than any other back to school has before. My brother’s three children each had […]

A Blank Slate

I love the possibilities that lie in a blank sheet of paper. I have always been a writer. I suppose it began with the gift of a pink diary with a lock on it that I managed to hide from my nosy sister. Sitting alone in the branch of a tree, it became my way […]

Growing in Gratituide

These simple verses from Psalm 136 are a reminder of all of the verses in the Bible which call upon us to give thanks to God. God is good. God’s steadfast love endures forever. Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised. In the spring, Deb introduced me to the Spiritual Disciplines Handbook by Adele Ahlberg […]

What’s For Dinner?

O taste and see that the LORD is good!  (Psalm 34:8) I never really thought that going the distance in this era of COVID would mean watching more TV. Last year, our daughter Sarah gave us the gift of co-membership on her Netflix account. I am convinced that we use it much more than she does. […]

Family Friday: Keep The Bible Off The Shelf

My family of origin has given me the unofficial role of being the family historian. Upon the deaths of my paternal grandmother and then my mother, I received boxes and trunks filled with unsorted ancestral treasures. While this wholeheartedly satisfied my personal interest, curiosity and need for order, the endless decisions about what to keep […]

Communion

“When [Jesus] was at the table with them, [Jesus] took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them.” Luke 24:30 (NRSV) Over the holiday this past weekend, I watched one of my all-time favorite films, “The Help.” While a movie recounting deep racial tensions during the times that we are living through can […]

Sabbath

Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy. (Exodus 20:8, NRSV) As we arrive on the precipice of Labor Day weekend, I am thinking about labor. Oregon was the first state to observe Labor Day and it became a Federal holiday in 1894. It’s also commonly recognized as the “unofficial end of summer” and a […]

The Leap of Letting Go

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or […]

Jesus Gets It!

And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14, NRSV) For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has […]

Armaggedon or Artistry?

He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. (Matthew 3:11c) Snuggled down here in Florida, Deb and I, and the kids, have been watching anxiously as fires out in California have consumed not only precious timberland, but precious home and lives. A couple of weeks ago, an unusual weather pattern over the […]

Family Friday: Trains Are Made for Meditation

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (Philippians 4:8) There is an expression, “Stop the world, I want to get off.” And there is a song […]

Hurricanes

[Jesus] got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. (Mark 4:39, NRSV) Well, it is the active part of Atlantic hurricane season! As I write this, there are lots of models and spaghetti strings in the Gulf of Mexico attempting […]

Everybody Needs A Song

Blessed be the Lord, for God has heard the sound of my pleadings. The Lord is my strength and my shield; in God my heart trusts; so I am helped, and my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to God. (Psalm 28:6-7) One of the greatest gifts of my role in ministry at NUCC is […]

Golden Rule

In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets. (Matthew 7:12, NRSV) Do to others as you would have them do to you.  (Luke 6:31, NRSV) What goes around comes around. Karma. You get what you give. There are many contemporary ways of saying that […]

Family Friday: Good Company

Bad company corrupts good character. (1 Corinthians 15:33) Whatever we surround ourselves with feeds our spirit, our thoughts, and our emotions. During this time of such unrest and unknown, we are surrounded by negativity. Have you ever noticed that you feel physically drained after being in a pessimistic conversation or group? Our emotional health is […]

Remembering

The mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my loving kindness shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed, says the LORD, who has compassion on you. (Isaiah 54:10) When I was in Kindergarten, I was hyperactive and hard to manage. The teacher had to send me […]

Purging My Shelves

By the rivers of Babylon — there we sat down and there we wept when we remembered Zion. On the willows there we hung up our harps. For there our captors asked us for songs, and our tormentors asked for mirth, saying, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!” How could we sing the Lord’s […]

Wind Chill or Heat Index?

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39, NRSV) I lived in the […]

Through the Doldrums

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16) Connecting with kids, siblings, and relatives through Facetime or phone is something we do almost every day. “Hey, how’s it going,” we ask. “Fine,” is the reply. […]

Family Friday: You Can Do Hard Things

I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13) Over the last few months, I’ve discovered I have a really hard time following through with my own promise to start and have dinner ready on time. I love to cook, especially in my newly renovated kitchen, but I can’t seem to adopt […]

Barking at the Rain

So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up. (Galatians 6:9, NRSV) Ironically, as I write this, I am watching it pour rain outside. But I hearken back to another recent Southwest Florida summer shower. Actually, it was a day-long deluge. I […]

Shed the Garbage, Show up with Goodness

I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the […]

Let The Children Come

But Jesus called for them and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs.” (Luke 18:16, NRSV) For fifteen years my ministry was teaching. I was a Professor of Education at Roberts Wesleyan College teaching students who […]

You Are Not Random

For it is that God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness” who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. (II Corinthians 4:6) I think I have may have mentioned previously that I like to take my walk early […]

Family Friday: Let It Go

Be Still. Let go, and Let God (Psalm 46:10) Are you a planner? I am. My entire adult life I have grappled with the illusion of control. I plan ahead, create contingency plans, a backup for my backup, and rely on calendars to help keep me on track and focused. One of the many things […]

Promises

When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth. (Genesis 9:16, NRSV) The first thing that Thomas Cook did after realizing that he had won the $22 million dollar jackpot from the Wisconsin Lottery […]

EGR

“You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are […]

They Shall Be Comforted

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. (Matthew 5:4, NRSV) In the last two months two people who were significant mentors in ministry to me have crossed from this life into the next. Since the middle of March, a number of church members and friends have passed away. Although none of these […]

Resilience?

Imprisonments, beatings, near death. Five times forty lashes. Three times beaten with rods, one time stoned. Three times shipwrecked. Adrift on the sea for a day; danger on every front; sleepless in hunger and thirst; and apart from all this, there is the daily pressure upon me of my anxiety for all the churches. (2 […]

Family Friday: Celebrating Milestones

This day shall be a day of remembrance for you. You shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord; throughout your generations you shall observe it as a perpetual ordinance. (Exodus 12:14) I took a moment to scroll through my Facebook feed this week, and I didn’t get far before I saw pictures of […]

Grounded

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it… (2 Timothy 3:14, NRSV) Gramps was my mild-mannered maternal grandfather. He died while I was in seminary and I had the great privilege of eulogizing him at his memorial service. I will never forget standing under […]

Steep Trails

“I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13) Last week, I had the opportunity to get away for a short hike in the Santa Cruz mountains in a little park area called Pogonip — how it got its name is a story for another day. My sister and I were […]

Speaking The Truth In Love

But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love. (Ephesians […]

Are We A Beloved Community?

Let love be genuine. Hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good. Love one another with familial affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. (Romans 12:9-10) When the Apostle Paul addressed the above words to his community in Rome, somehow he knew that it wouldn’t be religious rules, regulations, or legalisms that would […]

Family Friday: The Right Choice

With all your heart you must trust the Lord and not your own judgment. Always let Him lead you, and He will clear the road for you to follow. (Proverbs 3:5-6) Over the last few weeks, families have been faced with overwhelming decisions regarding school for their children for this coming fall. The wonderful thing […]

Sinks

Surely God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid, for the Lord God is my strength and my might; [God] has become my salvation. (Isaiah 12:2, NRSV) Have you ever said, “I wish things were easier sometimes?” I have found myself saying that with increasing frequency. Maybe with all that we […]

Waiting for the Fog to Burn

For God alone my soul waits in silence, for my hope if from God. God alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress. I shall not be shaken. (Psalm 62:5-6) As I sit here this morning, I am watching the light of day beginning to break through the daily fog that greets me near […]

Open My Eyes

When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the […]

Make God Smile Today

Thus says the Lord: ‘Let not the wise one glory in wisdom; let not the mighty one boast in strength; let not the rich glory in wealth; but let those who glory, glory in this: that one understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the […]

Family Friday: The Prayer Chair

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. (Mark 1:35) In the spring of 1994, I attended a three-day-weekend devoted to learning more about living the Christian life. While there, I discovered that before I could share […]

Refrain from Vocalizing Loudly

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 love roller coasters. When I was […]

A Time for Masks

O Lord, you have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from far away. You search out my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, O Lord, you know it completely. […]

Ears to Hear

“Let anyone with ears to hear listen!” And he said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear; the measure you give will be the measure you get, and still more will be given you.” (Mark 4:23-24, NRSV) Multiple times Jesus told his disciples, “Let anyone with ears to hear listen!” This admonition is found […]

Drinking From My Saucer

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies; thou anointest my head with oil; my cup overflows.  (Psalm 23:5) When I was a little boy, I sat with my father at the breakfast table watching him attempt to cool is Folgers Instant coffee by tipping his cup and letting some spill over […]

Family Friday: Be Fruitful with Our Words

Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit – you choose. (Proverbs 18:21) There are certain phrases that have become ingrained into my regular vocabulary, either in my personal experience or my experience as an educator. Growing up we are all taught, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything […]

Pruning

I am the true vine, and [God] is the vinegrower. [God] removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit [God] prunes to make it bear more fruit. (John 15:1-2) Last weekend, I had the privilege of taking the holiday weekend off. With social distancing and COVID-19 cases surging in […]

What Are You Cast Down?

As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.When shall I come and behold the face of God? Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall again […]

The Earth Is The Lord’s

Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.” (Genesis 1:26) God saw everything that God had made, and indeed, it […]

Failure to Adapt

It causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark. (Revelation 13:16) Some time ago, a colleague was reminiscing about his military service overseas when he was […]

Family Friday: Making Lemonade

And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. (Romans 5:3-5, NRSV) It’s 4th of July weekend! […]

It’s Latin to Me!

“… I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10b, NRSV) I have a small, brass disc with a phrase in Latin on my key chain. It rests between my car fob and my office key. To be honest, I do not see it much or think about it much. But […]

Angel’s Way

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. It is good […]

Letting Go of My Need to Know

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood. (I Corinthians 13:12, NRSV) When I was a child, I had a nickname, “big ears.” I cannot say for sure, but I assume it was […]

An Unexpected Conversation

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8 Ten days ago Friday I had corrective surgery for a hiatal hernia, something I’ve wanted […]

It Is Done In Love

“Let all that you do be done in love.” 1 Corinthians 16:14 Sometimes it is hard to have patience. In this current world of fear, challenges, and injustices it can be even more so. Children have no filter- if there is one thing you can count on, it is the truth and honesty that flows […]

Rainbow

“I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.” Genesis 9:13 (NRSV) It was just after one of our typical Southwest Florida summer showers. I had been working in my office and was running an errand before going home. The sky was […]

My God Was Too Small

“To whom then will you compare me, or who is my equal? says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high and see: Who created these? He who brings out their host and numbers them, calling them all by name, because God is great in strength, mighty in power, not one is missing.” Isaiah 40:25-26 […]

Journey Without Maps

“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 promised you.” Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place; and I did not know it.”  Genesis 28:15-16 […]

See Your Suffering Clearly

For a second time they called the man who had been blind, and said, ‘Give God the praise; we know that Jesus is a sinner.’ He answered, ‘Whether he is a sinner, I do not know; one thing I know, that thought I was blind, now I see.’ John 9:24-25 Unsettling fear. Lurking discomfort. Instinctual […]

Building Sandcastles

“As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because […]

Do You Know That You Are Free?

“For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1 (NRSV) Tomorrow, Friday, June 19, is a holiday known as Juneteenth. It is not a federal holiday and, while acknowledged in many parts of the nation, it is truly celebrated among African Americans […]

The Barnabas Factor

“And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24-25 “There was a Levite, a native of Cyprus, Joseph, to whom the apostles gave the name […]

A Still Small Voice

“And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a […]

Who You Are Matters

“The Lord said, Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, seeing that Abraham shall become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall bless themselves by him? No, for I have chosen him, that he may charge his children and his household after him to keep […]

We All Matter

“He heals the wounds of every shattered heart” Psalm 147:3 When I continue to watch the current events in our country unfold, my heart shatters. I think of parents who are trying to cope with children who already lost so much over the last few months, and as they struggle to try to bring a […]

Palms Up, Palms Down

“For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, “Do not fear; I will help you.” Isaiah 41:13 One of the new activities that has given me the most joy during these days of social isolation is the NUCC Zoom Prayer Gathering that I have been […]

Difficult Conversations

He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8) When George Floyd uttered his last words, “I can’t breathe,” our nation took notice. While this issue has always been front and center for […]

Take Care

“Lord, let me know my end, and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is. You have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing in your sight. Surely everyone stands as a mere breath.” Psalm 39:4-5 (NRSV) It’s always true, but sometimes we […]

Look Within

Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” “I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?” The Lord said, “What have you done? Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground!” Genesis 4:9-10 Last week was a week of fire and tremendous turbulence in our country. Today begins a new […]

Family Friday: Be Still

“God says, “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10 (International Children’s Bible) My favorite movie is The Sound of Music. I couldn’t tell you how many times I have seen it, but enough to know the words to every song. In the song How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?, the […]

No Surprise Parties For Me

“Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things […]

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 […]

Going the Distance: A Daily Devotional from Naples UCC