I purchased this box of Colors of the World for one reason – the reminder that they are “non-toxic.”

I’ve visited a few museums, I’ve read a few books, I’ve had conversations, but none of that fully opens my mind to what it means to be hated and feared simply because of the color of my skin.

In The Gospel According to John 2:1-11 we are told of Jesus’ first miracle of turning water into wine. This wasn’t done merely as an introduction to what Jesus could do or setting the stage for more miracles. This was done so that a family woul

d not experience shame and disgrace. We mustn’t forget that it was Mary, the mother of Jesus, who stood in front of that shame and provided another way: “Do what he tells you.”

We try to make it so complicated, but if we truly heed the words of Mary we will respond with love because Jesus tells us to love our neighbors and our enemies, we will respond with compassion because Jesus tells us to care for one another. We will respond with grace because Jesus tells us that how we treat one another is how we treat him.

"I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear."

--Martin Luther King, Jr.

Pastor Jo

January 17, 2022

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

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Which is worse - being overwhelmed or being underwhelmed?

What about when what overwhelms us is underwhelming? defines overwhelm as, "To load, heap, treat, or address with an overpowering or excessive amount of anything,’ and defines underwhelm as, “To fail to interest or astonish.”

We’re barely into 2022 and many are already feeling overwhelmed by so much that is underwhelming.

In his book, The Contemplative Pastor, Eugene Peterson argues that constantly feeling overwhelmed by our schedules can be a sign of inattentiveness. He suggests that we’re overwhelmed by our schedules because we don’t take the time to establish values or set goals – we allow others to do it for us, “then we find ourselves frantically, at the last minute, trying to satisfy a half-dozen different demands.” (I argue this is true for all of us, not just pastors.)

Peterson suggests that we cannot be busy and pray because when we are busy, we are inwardly rushed and distracted. We can, however, be active and pray. This suggests that there is purpose and intentionality. And who doesn’t want to live a life of purpose and intentionality?

Granted, there will always be tasks that are both underwhelming and necessary. There will always be days when we feel overwhelmed. And… there will always be time to take a deep breath and whisper a prayer. Who knows, by beginning each day with a time of prayer and reflection, we just might find that we spend the day overwhelmed by God’s mercy and grace.

Pastor Jo

January 6, 2022

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Most of us have lived long enough to know that seasons come and go and those seasons don’t always come and go according to plan. It’s 80 degrees on Christmas Day and snowing on Easter Sunday. The family can’t come home for the holidays… the family won’t leave. The season is too sad, too lonely, too busy, too stressful…

As we prepare for 2022 we won’t magically enter into a new frame of mind, a healthier lifestyle, or a stronger connection to our faith. We will do so only with intentionality.

Or, as Nick Laird says,

“Time is how you spend your love.”

With that in mind, I invited each of us to take our 2022 calendars--paper or digital--and

set aside the 3rd Saturday of each month from 10-11 to serve others as we gather to prepare sack lunches for the homeless of St. Mark’s UMC.

And/or set aside the 1st Saturday of each month (anytime between 8AM and noon) to help with our Second Harvest Sharing (and/or the Friday before to help set-up).

Or maybe there is another act of service that draws you in… put it in your calendar.

If you’re really feeling adventurous, add the worship services you plan to attend.

Yes, seasons come and go--rarely according to plan--but let us not forget that the good we offer is everlasting.

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart,

as though you were working for the Lord and not for people."

--Colossians 3:23

Pastor Jo

December 29, 2021

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