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Updated: Jan 10

Here we are! Welcome 2024!

It is not uncommon to hear, “Maybe this will be the year we (fill in the blank with a goal or plan). I’m not sure what it is that makes one new day more relevant that another new day, but maybe this will be the year we choose to see the relevance of each day! Especially those days which seem to be baptized in the mundane.

During our first worship service of 2024 we shared a true moment that invited each of us to consider that maybe this will be the year we give ourselves permission to linger in the presence of Jesus.

As the children presented the Magi and gifts to the manger and crèche, Annabelle seemed oblivious to the expected flow, the cadence of the hymn, or the movement of the other children. Nothing else mattered to her in that moment but Jesus.

She touched his face, made certain his blanket was wrapped tightly, and more than once she kissed his cheek. She wanted to take baby Jesus with her, but I persuaded her to leave him in the manger.

If I could recreate that moment I would say, “Yes! Take him! Take him into the world! Introduce him to your friends! Share him with your family! And when you are frightened or unsure, hold him close.” As our children taught us on Epiphany Sunday, bring your gifts – but more importantly, wrap those gifts in love, patience, compassion, curiosity, and joy.

Pastor Jo

January 9, 2024

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Preparing for Thanksgiving Day means different things to different people.

For some it means building floats for a parade.

For some it means helping Santa prepare for his annual introduction.

For some it means standing in line at a soup kitchen for a hot meal.

For some it means getting away for a few days of peace and quiet.

For some it means naming the crippling effects of grief.

For some it means preparing for the whirlwind of family and the aroma of food in the kitchen.

For some it means another workday and a little more football.

For some it means eating too much.

And maybe, for all of us, it will offer a moment to pause and give thanks.

How we tell the story of “The First Thanksgiving” we vary as much as how we choose to

celebrate or not celebrate this national holiday that was formalized by Abraham Lincoln in 1863. In his proclamation, Lincoln called on Americans to ask God to “commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife” and to “heal the wounds of the nation.” Hoping a day designated to gratefulness would help us heal. Hoping a day to focus on our blessings would help us come together.

How will you choose to live out of your gratefulness this week?

Pastor Jo

November 20, 2023

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Most of us cringe when we hear these words. Someone tries to convince us that if we give them something they will give us something better. Unfortunately, some see God as nothing more than a Dealer in charge of making certain the deals of life always work in our favor.

Ironically, this is not how Jesus lived or taught others to live. Jesus even invited one person to sell everything and give the proceeds to the poor! To sell all that I have means that I must first know “all that I have.” Have you ever thought about having an inventory of every single item you own? We may have a list of our “big ticket” items and heirlooms, but how many of our possessions rarely get a second thought?

When Jesus tells the young man to “sell everything,” we are told the guy sadly walks away. Does he walk away because he doesn’t want to part with these possessions or that he simply had too much to list? Besides, wouldn’t he then be poor, waiting on someone else to sell everything and share it with him? What is Jesus really asking?

Instead of an ultimatum, what if Jesus is inviting him to consider what he values most in life? Think about it. The guy doesn’t ask another question. What encouragement and insight might Jesus have offered if the conversation had continued?

We could spend a great deal of time with this one!

Pastor Jo

November 7, 2023

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