Advent

The reading of the gospel of Matthew 24 today…Jesus speaks of that day and hour no one knows…

It is more than being asked the question, “Where were you on Sept. 11th ?”

The day and the hour, my grandmother told me she had cancer.

The day and the hour I stood by the grace of our baby girl.

The day and the hour hands were laid upon me and I was ordained as a pastor in the United Church of Christ.

The day and the hour when I was told I was legally blind.

Advent, friends….New day, new beginnings, new opportunities, new possibilities…May our hearts and minds be open to these things.

St. Thomas UCC, Bethlehem, worship audio 11/27 –

https://drive.google.com/file/d/10wqwkc-odUoXs2Th_nI6YDbVeO6Q-XC5/view?usp=sharing

Cows and a Moon Equal Peace

Life is confusing, hectic, chaotic. Long lists of ‘to do’s’ a mile long. Now that the clocks have been turned back, it means shorter days. Work, traffic, schedules – trying to keep up. Trying to figure out how to get along with others, how to stand in line with others, how to live with, work with, shop with, drive our roads with…challenges most days that exhaust us.

On a recent walk one late afternoon, where the backroad seemed to turn into a race track (in other words, more traffic than I expected), I came across this scene. It was a picture of peace. A sense of calm washed over me. If you look hard enough, you will be able to see the moon rising. The cattle don’t seem to have a care in the world, oblivious to the busy world around them. Peace.

St. Thomas UCC, Bethlehem worship audio 11/6 –

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1PLqkzjc9GkxqYhjLuCyoNhmMHDmJZrFz/view?usp=sharing

Leaves, Leaves & Letting Go

I was proud of myself, helping with leaf removal in our backyard, walks and driveway. I raked awhile, but when it came to the driveway, I switched to using a leaf blower. I was fairly successful, except when I turned to look at my work, there were still a good number of leaves clinging to the asphalt. Hmmm, I thought. I will try again. After several more attempts, I gave up. I believe they are strill there!

Later, I was thinking about this and thought how we, too, can sometimes be stubborn and persistent; especially when we should let go but find ourselves continuing to hold on, to cling (to whatever it is). Funny, I never thought of myself resembling a leaf. What is it you need to let go?

St. Thomas UCC, Bethlehem worship audio 10/16 –

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1BdndkgL-36wbbxY31rYtX6L1vaLj5Rb1/view?usp=sharing

Crafters Needed

St. Thomas UCC, 902 E. Macada Road, Bethlehem – 18th Annual Craft Fair
Saturday, October 22 9-1

Spaces still available. Spaces are 8×6, $15 per space or $25 per space with table supplied by church. To register, call the church office at 610-868-9167 or email stthomasunited.church ofchrist@rcn.com

Animal Blessing

Even in the rain today, beloved companions received a blessing! Children brought their most loved animal friends of all sizes and kinds to the event just to have them blessed. Some of those dear friends were well-worn with love! So sweet! What a great feeling that must be – to be well-worn with love! It was my privilege to bless each one!

St. Thomas UCC, Bethlehem worship audion 10/2-

Here is the link to the audio file from today’s worship….

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1O7OfJXujsCW9ydtacGmoSkgwFdQvcska/view?usp=sharing

Wonder

It may sound a bit pie-in-the-sky-ish, but there is wonder in the world everywhere – raindrops, flowers, snowflakes, corn fields, butterflies, and even strange bugs.  Yes, strange bugs. We may not approach these things with love, but honestly, if we took some extra time to truly look, we may surprise ourselves! We may find something amazing about each one! Journey gently this last week in September, being especially mindful of  seeking the “amazing” in what you see!

St. Thomas UCC, Bethlehem worship audio, Sept. 25th –

https://drive.google.com/file/d/16OQZfeh9Z4wfbzefSWdW_hrSsbc2c_U5/view?usp=sharing

Lingering in summer

Ahhh…while autimn is my favorite season, today I find myself wanting to linger in the season of summer awhile longer. The vocabulary I have been hearing is more of pumpkins, spices, football, scarecrows, cinnamon, mums, apples – rather than flip flops, swimming, iced tea, funnel cake, flowers, garden. Fall arrives on Thursday. Today, I am going to put on my flip-flops and enjoy this summer Sunday!

We blessed prayer shawls today at St. Thomas UCC. We have created and blessed more than 700 shawls since this ministry began in 2009. Of course, it is not about how many. What matters is the comfort and warmth the shawl brings to those who receive one; and the joy in the hearts of those who create them. Thank you for this ministry!

St. Thomas UCC, BEthlehem, worship audio 9/18 –

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1tNnZRfh3arsmTIeS2fAX6hpxab6RPnVj/view?usp=sharing

We remember

Today is the 21st anniversary of September 11, 2022:

Invocation (Remembering 9/11)
O Holy Wind of God, sweep through our lives. Pause us into your presence, slowing our breathless pace. Refine in us a renewed willingness to bear gracious goodness into the chaos of the world. Let our memories on this day, call forth an alternative to the easy response of violence for violence. Form instead a steady commitment to return love in the face of fear, hope in the midst of despair, and mercy for every brokenness of the world’s design. By this, form anew the heart and mind of Christ in us, here, now, today.

Source: A Blistering Wind: Service Prayers for the 14th Sunday after Pentecost – Proper 19 were written by Rev. Dr. David Long-Higgins, Conference Minister of the Heartland Conference, United Church of Christ.

St. Thomas UCC, Bethlehem worship audion 9/11 –

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1hC6OJedrSV3WVc8mhC1nW6e4A0U7KQKr/view?usp=sharing