Pastor Barb’s Weekly Message 4/9/17

Grace and peace to you all!

Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week.  Together, we’ll move from the excitement of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, into the quiet reverence of the Last Supper, through the confusion of Jesus’ arrest, and to the agony of the cross.

It may not sound like Good News to journey with Jesus through betrayal and death.  Couldn’t we just go from Palm Sunday to Easter, and skip the hard parts?  Yet I believe that this journey to the cross is at the center of our faith: God came to live among us; God received the worst that we could do, even to the point of death; God responded with resurrection and new life for us al.  This story tells us that nothing we do, nothing we experience, nothing in all creation can separate us from God’s love (to quote Paul in Romans 8:37-39).

I don’t know about you, but I need a Love like this.  The world, and sometimes my life, can be a real mess!  A Love that journeys through death to resurrection is the only love sturdy enough to sustain us through it all.  A Love like this gives me a solid footing, no matter what comes my way.

I can’t recommend this enough: make time this week to attend as many services as possible!  (We’ll join with the Richmond Congregational Church for the mid-week services.)

Palm Sunday, April 9 at 9:30 a.m. at Williston Federated Church

Maundy Thursday, April 13 at 7:00 p.m. at Williston Federated Church

Good Friday, April 14 at 7:00 p.m. at Richmond Congregational Church

Easter Sunday, April 16: 6:30 a.m., Sonrise Service at the home of Tony and Susan Lamb near Lake Iroquois

Easter Service at 9:30 a.m. Williston Federated Church

If you’re not able to come to the worship services, find time to travel through this week in Matthew’s gospel:

Sunday:  Matthew 21:1-11

Monday:  Matthew 21:12-17

Tuesday:  Matthew 21:23-27

Wednesday:  Matthew 26:1-16

Thursday:  Matthew 26:17-75

Friday:  Matthew 27:1-56

Saturday:  Matthew 27:57-66

Blessings as you make the journey through Holy Week.


Pastor Barb’s Weekly Message 4/2

Grace and peace to you all!

This Sunday’s reading is Ezekiel 37:1-14, the story of Ezekiel and the valley of dry bones.  (This is the passage that inspired the spiritual “Dem Bones”)  Here is the reflection from Steve Garnaas Holmes on this passage.  May it spur your thought and prayer!

        God said to me, “Mortal, can these bones live?”
I answered, “O Lord God, you know.”
Then God said to me, “Prophesy to these bones,
and say to them: O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord.
Thus says the Lord God to these bones:
I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live.”

—Ezekiel 37.3-5

There are parts of you,
maybe great parts,
that have withered and died.

Maybe spiritual gifts that you have buried,
a face of yourself you have closeted,
wounds ignored, hopes starved.

Some have passed on, forever.
But some, God may breathe life into.
God may bring bone to bone and sinew to sinew.

You may be aware of it; a daily ache.
Or it may be unknown to you,
a hidden mystery.

What part of you is God bringing back to life?
Where is God’s breath blowing,
the dry bones moving?

Don’t direct the wind.
Don’t even worry where it is.
Just prophesy to the dry bones.

Speak hope.
Be open to the miracle.
Let God breathe, and wait.

Holy Week Services

Good Friday Services are being held at Richmond Congregational Church (across from Richmond Library and Post Office)

Easter Sunrise Services are at the home of Tony and Sue Lamb at the corner of Beebe Lane and Oak Hill Road near Lake Iroquois.                     There will be a pot luck breakfast at the Lamb’s after the service bringing food is optional.

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Pastor Barb’s Weekly Message 3/26

Grace and peace to you all!

Last week during the sermon I showed part of a video called “Fifty People, One Question: Galway” (you can find it here online:  Each person is asked the question: what is your biggest life regret?  It’s incredibly poignant to watch their faces as they ponder, and answer that question.  It makes me ask the same question of myself, and do my own pondering.

Lent is a season of repentance: an honest reckoning of ourselves, our gifts and faults, our graces and sins.  We offer it all up to God, trusting that the One who made us and loves us will be able to turn even the hardest parts of our lives toward the good (though we may not have any idea how that can happen).  Paul writes in Romans 8:28:  “We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to God’s purpose.”

Why does Paul write this?  Out of his own experience, his own conversion from persecutor of Christians to disciple of Christ.  And because he knows the Jesus story: not even the cross could stop God’s love, not even death can stop God’s eternal life.  Our regrets are hard, certainly, but they are not the end of the story.  As God’s beloved, we know that even our worst moments can work together for good.

Thanks be to God!

Pastor Barb’s Weekly Message 3/19

Grace and peace to you all!

This Sunday’s lectionary reading is John 4:5-42, the story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well.  It’s an amazing story in many ways.  Jesus and this unnamed woman have the longest theological conversation in all the gospels, and in the midst of their conversation, Jesus speaks of giving “living water.”  “Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty!” she responds.

Mary Oliver’s poem “Thirst” describes this as well as anyone I know:

Another morning and I wake with thirst
for the goodness I do not have.
I walk out to the pond and all the way God has

given us such beautiful lessons.
Oh Lord, I was never a quick scholar but sulked

and hunched over my books past the hour

and the bell; grant me, in your mercy,
a little more time.
Love for the earth and love for you are having such a long

conversation in my heart.
Who knows what will finally happen or where I will be sent,

yet already I have given a great many things
away, expecting to be told to pack nothing,

except the prayers which, with this thirst,
I am slowy learning.

May we, like this poet and like the woman at the well, learn both thirst and prayer as we continue our journey together into Lent.