Evolution as Possibility

Our friends on the worship planning team selected as our theme for the month of February, “What does it mean to be a people of possibility?”  It synchronizes perfectly with our annual celebration of “Evolution Sunday,” which falls this morning because there is no aspect of human experience more resplendent with possibility than to understand our identity as one organism within the vast genetic spectrum of life, and our wealth of untapped potential for intelligence and the wisdom both to deploy it and restrain it with grace. [Read more…]

People of Possibility

“People of Possibility,” Susan Ryder

READINGS
Matthew 17:20– Jesus said, “For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.”

Deborah L Johnson– Maintaining possibility consciousness is your prime responsibility. . . .With possibility comes everything. . . . With possibility comes everything. With possibility you take off the limitations. . . . You let the energy flow. . . . You are no longer fixated on your own preconceived notions of what ought to or should be done.

Jay Michael– Faith is not dogmatic belief or blind conviction; it is trust in the availability of fresh possibilities. It begins with a circular movement of water or air, with a flickering eddy, with an atom of amber in a fire. It begins in constructive fantasy.In the healthy spiritual life mindfulness of sensory detail is not enough. It is not enough simply to pay attention to things as they are. We also need the capacity to be lost in our thoughts; to wander in reverie; to be out of sync with constraints of what is, so that we can be attuned to the world of what can be.Suffer the little children who dwell in possibility, for theirs is the kingdom of love. [Read more…]

Vision as Community

“Vision as Community,” Susan Ryder

READINGS
Matthew 18:20
For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.

Romans 12:4-5
For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. [Read more…]

Vision as Prophetic Imagination

“Vision as Prophetic Imagination,” Bob Ryder

READING

Luke 6:27-42
“Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other cheek also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them back. Behave toward others as you would have them behave toward you.” [Read more…]

Vision as Perspective

“Vision as Introspection: Changing Our Perspective,” Susan Ryder

READINGS:

Matthew 20:1-16
Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the laborers for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. When he went out about nine o’clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace; and he said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went. When he went out again about noon and about three o’clock, he did the same. And about five o’clock he went out and found others standing around; and he said to them, ‘Why are you standing here idle all day?’ They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard.’ When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, ‘Call the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and then going to the first.’ When those hired about five o’clock came, each of them received the usual daily wage. Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received the usual daily wage. And when they received it, they grumbled against the landowner, saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’ But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? Take what belongs to you and go; I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ So the last will be first, and the first will be last.” [Read more…]

Vision as Epiphany

“Vision as Epiphany,” Bob Ryder

READINGS

Matthew 2:1-12
In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, astrologers from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, ‘Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising,and have come to pay him homage.’ When King Herod heard this, he was upset, and all Jerusalem with him; calling together the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiahwas to be born. They told him, ‘In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet:

“And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who is to shepherdmy people Israel.”’ [Read more…]

At the Cusp of a New Year

“Letting Go, Looking Forward,” Susan Ryder

Letting Go
Throughout the darkest Sundays of the year during the season of Advent, we have been considering what it means to be a people of hope. Next week, as light slowly starts to return, we will begin to consider what it means to be a people of vision. This morning, during this in-between time, we find ourselves on the cusp of a new year. Maybe you’re eager to begin anew, hopeful for what lies ahead as you summon your will to make changes for the better, anticipating tomorrow through the lens of a clean slate. Or perhaps you feel anxious about 2019, worrying or even dreading what may lie ahead. So on this last Sunday of the year, it seems fitting to catch our breath for a moment, looking back on and forward to where we’re headed from a the relative security of the New Year’s home base. Rather than our usual reflection, we’ll participate in a couple of rituals this morning to reorient and get out bearings during this moment between what was and what will be.  Think of this as a chance to restock our spiritual backpack – getting rid of excess ballast that weighs us down and balancing the load so we can focus on we can make the most of the journey ahead with all the joys and challenges it certainly has in store. [Read more…]

Advent 4: Hope vs. Obliviousness

“Hopefully Observant,” Bob Ryder

READINGS

Thesaurus –
Oblivious – unaware of what’s happening around you
Observant – aware, insightful, engaged

Luke 2 (selected verses)
In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. [Read more…]

Advent 3: Hope vs. Complacency

“Hope vs. Complacency,” Susan Ryder

READINGS
Isaiah 61:1-4
The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to provide for those who mourn in Zion— to give them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit. They will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, to display his glory.

John 1:6-9
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. [Read more…]

Advent 2: Hope vs. Optimism

“Nevertheless,” Bob Ryder

Fire and Ice– Robert Frost
Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice. [Read more…]