The Mountain of Too Much

“The Mountain of Too Much,” Susan Ryder

How do you cope with anxiety? What practices do you turn to help alleviate stress when you are feeling overwhelmed? Some questions for you to consider as I share a few thoughts.

Leviticus 23:22 When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very edges of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest; you shall leave them for the poor and for the alien.

1 Thessalonians 5:11-15 Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing. Be at peace among yourselves. And we urge you, beloved, to encourage the faint hearted, help the weak, be patient with all of them. See that none of you repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to all. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances.

John 14:1 Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Read more…]

Mother Earth

“Love Your Mother,” Susan Ryder


Genesis 1:1, 31 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth… God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good.

James Baldwin For nothing is fixed, forever and forever and forever, it is not fixed; the earth is always shifting, the light is always changing, the sea does not cease to grind down rock. Generations do not cease to be born, and we are responsible to them because we are the only witnesses they have. [Read more…]


“Salience, Patience, Compassion, Justice, and Other Stuff I Found Lying Along Constitution Trail,” Bob Ryder

A dog can never tell you what she knows from the smells of the world, but you know, watching her, that you know almost nothing. . .”
– Mary Oliver

“Do you have the patience to wait
Till your mud settles and the water is clear?
Can you remain unmoving
Till the right action arises by itself?”
― Lao Tzu [Read more…]

Beginner’s Mind

“Beginner’s Mind,” Bob Ryder

“You can’t solve a problem with the same mind that created it.” Albert Einstein

In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s mind there are few.” Shunryu Suzuki – Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind

This morning let’s consider the concept of “Beginner’s Mind.” Occasionally I mention my appreciation for the practice of mindfulness, an approach to meditation based in the tradition of Zen Buddhism. It’s comprised of interrelated cognitive skills that help to manage and reduce stress as well as to cultivate a poised/creative approach to living. There are seven principles associated with the tradition including… [Read more…]

Easter 2017

“Tell It Again” Susan Ryder

Nathan Kirkpatrick writes, “My colleague Christine Parton Burkett reminds [us] that children, after hearing a well-told story, never respond, ‘What does it mean?’ Instead, with glee and abandon they exclaim, ‘Oh, tell it again!’ She reminds [us] that, as human beings, we never really outgrow our love of a story well-told; there is a part of each of us that wants to cheer, ‘Oh, tell it again!’ Several years ago in The New York Times Sunday Review, the Swedish writer Henning Mankell wrote that ‘a truer nomination for our species than Homo sapiens might be Homo narrans, the storytelling person.’ Mankell’s argument was not that the biologists are wrong or that we are not thinking creatures but rather that we are also — and maybe even primarily — storytelling creatures. We make sense of the world and our place in it through story. Story is how we create meaning, how we interpret reality, and how we come to know who we are and why we are. That is why when we hear a story that we know is good and true, we say, ‘Oh, tell it again.’

And so we tell it again this morning – the Easter story – from Mark’s Gospel. [Read more…]

Palm Sunday

“What Is Truth?” Bob Ryder


Luke 12:2-3
Nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, nothing secret that will not become known. Whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be proclaimed from the housetops. [Read more…]

Lent 3

“Nevertheless, She Persisted,” Susan Ryder

Matthew 15:21-28
Jesus left that place and went away to the district of Tyre and Sidon. Just then a Canaanite woman from that region came out and started shouting, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon.” But he did not answer her at all. And his disciples came and urged him, saying, “Send her away, for she keeps shouting after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” He answered, “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus answered her, “Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed instantly. [Read more…]

Lent 2

“When You’re Able,” Bob Ryder

Matthew 4:18-22
As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, Jesus saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the lake—for they were fishermen. He said to them, ‘Follow me, and I’ll show you how to fish for people” and that very moment they dropped their nets and followed him. As he continued along his way, he saw two more brothers, James and John – the sons of Zebedee, mending their nets in a boat with their father. Jesus called to them, as well.  And likewise, these two left their father and their boat and nets then and there, and followed him. [Read more…]

Lent 1

“Journeying With Jesus to Jerusalem: Prepare”

This morning we begin a Lenten journey that we will be traveling together for the next six weeks. Lent is the season observed between Ash Wednesday and Easter, and is traditionally seen as a time for contemplation and preparation for the events of Holy Week, as well as a time of redemption and renewal. This year we will begin our journey with the familiar passage from Matthew’s gospel that is the usual the reading for the first Sunday of Lent.

Matthew 4:1-11
[After he was baptized] Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. Jesus fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished. [Read more…]

Evolution Weekend

“Pebbles Dropped in the Sea of History,” OR
“Calling All Snowflakes!” Susan Ryder

Since its inception in 2006, our congregation has regularly participated in the observance of “Evolution Weekend,” which occurs on the weekend closest to February 12, the actual birthday of Charles Darwin who, along with President Abraham Lincoln, was born 208 years ago today. Happy Birthday, gentlemen! [Read more…]