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Pastor Barb’s Message 5/7/17

Grace and peace to you all!

 “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.  He leads me … He restores my soul.” Psalm 23:1-3

I can tell I’ve been at WFC for awhile, because when I read Psalm 23, in my mind’s eye I see the marvelous banner that hangs in the front of the sanctuary (thank you, Trudy Anderson!).  It beautifully illuminates the hope, peace, and calling of this beloved psalm.

This week you’ll receive a letter from Matt Bliss as part of the Consecration Sunday campaign.  When Matt describes the values of WFC that make a difference in his life and his family’s life – humility, welcome, love, hope – I hear echoes of Psalm 23.  We are beloved by the One who is our Shepherd, and as we follow our Shepherd, we offer love and hope to the world around us.

As you prepare for Consecration Sunday on May 21, I invite you to pray this prayer by Steve Garnaas-Holmes.  What do you hear, when you quiet your soul beside God’s still waters?  How is the Shepherd calling you to share your life, your resources, your love with WFC and with the world?

Gentle shepherd,
you who lead me to abundant life,
to live so others also may follow
and find green pastures:
help me know your voice,
recognize your calling,
hear my name.
Give me grace to listen
for your voice,
deep within,
so quiet, yet so clear,
the voice of One who leads,
leads to still waters,
leads through deathly valleys,
leads through all suffering, all joy,
leads to abundant life,
you whose very life is a leading,
whose love is a voice,
speaking to me,
speaking in me.
I quiet my soul.
I listen.

I listen for you.

Pastor Barb’s Message 4/30/17

Grace and peace to you all.

“Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.” Matthew 18:20

Sunday’s gospel reading is the story of two disciples walking to the village of Emmaus, outside Jerusalem, on the evening of the first Easter.  As they walk, dazed and confused by the events of that tumultuous day, they are joined by a third person whom they invite to have dinner with them.  Not until this stranger breaks bread and shares it with them do they recognize that it is Jesus, and that they’ve been blessed with his presence, his teaching, his inspiration, and his peace.

During the next few weeks, the Stewardship Team here at WFC will be bringing us stories, in worship and through the mail, of how this congregation has embodied the presence of Jesus for each other, again and again.  This week’s letter from Larry Pillsbury should arrive in your mailbox tomorrow; last Sunday we heard from Heather Lewis and this Sunday Deb Beckett will speak in worship.

What a joy to hear how our support and our companionship, as we walk our faith journeys, can be the embodiment of Jesus’ love!  What a privilege to hold the Holy for each other.  Often we take this holiness for granted, and it’s only when something opens our eyes – sharing in communion, caring for each other in times of pain, working together to make the world a better place – that we recognize Christ in our midst.

I hope you are enjoying these letters and stories as much as I am.  May these be part of God’s grace-full blessing of our life together at WFC!

(If you are not receiving the letters in the mail and wish to do so, please contact Sally in the church office: office@steeple.org or 878-5792.)

 

Pastor Barb’s Message 4/23/17

Grace and peace to you all.

Today, stay awake. Be alert. Be on the lookout for moments of wonder, signs of grace, revelations of beauty, glimpses into the mystery of life, and of God. Or we may well miss the miracle that is right before our eyes.
-Br. David Vryhof, Society of St. John the Evangelist

“Christ is risen!  Christ is risen indeed!”  Just five days ago, on Easter Sunday, we echoed centuries of Christians in celebrating the amazing news of God’s steadfast and powerful love, even in the face of death.

Where have you seen signs of the Resurrection in your own life?  In the world around you?  What “moments of wonder, signs of grace, revelations of beauty, glimpses into the mystery of life, and of God” have you experienced?  What will you discover today?  Easter reminds us to keep our eyes open, because we never know what God might do!

This isn’t an idle exercise.  I write today’s post as news comes in of violence and threats of violence around the world and close to home.  For us to live as people of faith in a challenging world, we need to be firmly grounded in God’s good news.  Celebrating life and grace – celebrating resurrection! – every day gives us the foundation we need for the challenges of life.

Christ is risen!  Christ is risen indeed!

~~~~~~~

 

Pastor Barb’s Good Friday Message

Grace and peace to you on this Good Friday.

How could this Friday be called “good”?  Steve Garnaas-Holmes suggests that it wasn’t that Jesus was killed; it was something about the way he faced his end:

That in love he was free of their anger,

that his tenderness was impervious to their brutality,

that he had become from a world they could not breach,

that aflame with love he was not consumed,

that he had given himself to them more wholly than they could

either fully receive or prevent was already resurrection.