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Pastor Barb’s Message 7/16

Grace and peace to you all!

 A sower went out to sow…
—Matthew 13.3

There are two words for time in Greek: chronos means measured time, the time of clocks and calendars; kairos means “expectant time”, waiting time, like a pregnant woman waiting for her child’s birth.  From a chronos point of view, we are in mid-summer:  daylilies bloom in every hollow, the days are long and warm (well, mostly warm).  Lake Champlain is dotted with boats and paddleboards.  It’s mid-summer, and it’s glorious!

We are simultaneously in kairos time, too.  My garden is starting to flower for peas and beans; small green tomatoes promise rich, red fruit in the future.  I’m planning for an upcoming vacation that’s not here yet.  And at WFC, we are preparing for next week’s Candidating Sunday, when the congregation will meet the candidate vetted and selected by the Search Committee.  The air is full of expectation!

It’s all caught up in Jesus’ parable of the sower.  “A sower went out to sow,” Jesus begins, describing something done in a chronos moment, when the time to plant is right.  And it’s also a kairos moment, because the sprouting and flowering and ripening haven’t happened yet.  The rest of his parable describes which seeds sprout, and how, and why.  Chronos and kairos are intertwined.

We live in both of these times, each and every day.  I believe our task, as people of faith, is to discern the chronos moments for acting and loving, and to greet the kairos moments with prayer and hope.  And to come to all of it with unending gratitude for the richness and blessing of the lives God has given us.  Blessings, today, on all you do and on all you look forward to.  May you know God’s presence in all of it!

 

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Pastor Barb’s Message 7/09

Grace and peace to you all!

The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.   Psalm 145:8

God is love.  It’s all over the Bible, in both the Old and New Testaments.  It’s what Jesus taught; it’s what the prophets proclaimed.  God is love.  Abounding love.  Steadfast love.  This is the essential truth of our faith.  This is the good news that can transform our lives!

It’s not that God doesn’t have standards for how we should live (check out the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:1-17; check out the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapters 5-7).  It’s not that God never gets angry or disappointed with us.  I think there must be days when God wonders whether granting us free will was a good idea, after all…

And yet, through it all, God is love.  Jesus demonstrated love.  The Spirit pours love into our hearts, if only we will come in prayer and openness.  No matter what we’ve done.  God is love.  Abounding love.  Steadfast love.

This is the essential truth of our faith.  This is the good news that can transform our lives!  Live today with these words in your heart and on your lips – God is love.  Abounding love.  God is love! – and see what opens, deep inside you.

Blessings on these lovely summer days!

 

Pastor Barb’s Message 7/2

Grace and peace to you all!

But now that you have been freed from sin …  Romans 6:22

This extended Independence Day weekend there will likely be a lot of talk about freedom – and the Romans reading for this Sunday discusses not only what we are freed from, but also what we are freed for, as people of faith.  So this week I share these words from one of our country’s great poets, Walt Whitman:

This is what you should do:
Love the earth and sun and animals,
despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks,
stand up for the stupid and crazy,
devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants,
argue not concerning God,
have patience and indulgence toward the people…
reexamine all you have been told in school or church
or in any book,
dismiss what insults your very soul,
and your flesh shall become a great poem.

See you at the Old Brick Church on Sunday!

 

 

Pastor’s Weekly Message 6/25/17


Pastor Barb’s Weekly Message

Grace and peace!

On Sunday Rev. Paul will be preaching on Genesis 22:8-21, about Abraham banishing Hagar and her young child (his child, too) after the birth of Abraham and Sarah’s son, Isaac.  It’s a difficult story about how our prejudices and fears can lead us to treat others poorly; one of the great gifts of the Bible is that it acknowledges both the positive and negative sides of human nature, seeking redemption in God’s great love.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes explores how this story can reach into our own experience:

Who is she whom we choose to be our Hagar,
our outcast, she who is made invisible,
she whom we thought we could do away with,
could make foreign, make strange,
turn into an other,
but who is truly ours?
How do we take her back?
Where do we find that land
big enough for us both?
How are we healed of our own cruelty,
sending her, of our own heart,
away, always away?
Where do we find those open arms
that await us,
that teach us to open our arms?

Good questions – real-life questions – for all of us who claim to follow Jesus’ example and God’s grace.  Together with each other and together with God, we can find a loving and faithful way forward even through difficult times and situations.