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…]

Rejoice

“Rejoice!” Bob Ryder

I want us to think about addiction this morning. It’s possible to be addicted to lots of different things – drugs and alcohol, activities, relationships.  Addiction is equal parts biochemical feedback and self-deception, and our genetics play a significant role determining how prone we are to dependency, and what experiences or chemicals might trigger it.  The addiction I want to consider this morning is addiction to fear and anger.  [Read more…]

What Now?

“Now What?” Susan Ryder

READINGS
As part of the inauguration on Friday morning, Rev. Samuel Rodriguez read these words from the Beatitudes.

Matthew 5:1-10 (New Living Translation)
One day as he saw the crowds gathering, Jesus went up on the mountainside and sat down. His disciples gathered around him,and he began to teach them.
God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth.
God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied.
God blesses those who are merciful for they will be shown mercy.
God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God.
God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God. [Read more…]

Martin Luther King, Jr. Sunday

“Dream On,” Bob Ryder

James Taylor – Shed a Little Light
Let us turn our thoughts today to Martin Luther King
And recognize that there are ties between us
All men and women living on the earth
Ties of hope and love, sister and brotherhood
That we are bound together
By the desire to see the world become
A place in which our children can grow free and strong
That we are bound together
By the task that stands before us
And the road that lies ahead
We are bound and we are bound [Read more…]

Epiphany

“Home By Another Road,” Brenda Huber

Welcome to my one-stop “thank you tour!” After attending NCC for 20 years, I’ve elected to become a member! I’m so grateful to each of you who have made this community a community. [Read more…]

Christmas Day

“Christmas Reflection,” Susan Ryder

READINGS:
Isaiah 9:2-7
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness— on them light has shined. For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onward and forevermore. [Read more…]

Christmas Eve

“Christmas Eve 2016,” Bob Ryder

During the first several years of my career as a pastor, one of the hardest things I had to figure out was how to talk about Christmas with those who still related to it as an historical event.  During your first year in seminary they walk you through the differences between the Gospels (Luke with the angels and shepherds, Matthew with the star and magi), they teach you the context of prophecies about the virgin birth and the heir of King David. Soon it becomes clear that the picture we carry around in our minds and hearts about the first Christmas is an amalgam of many different stories and ideas that weren’t originally meant to go together, and that surely did not come together as a single event on a particularly day. It was a bit traumatic, so some of my fellow students took to the realization better than others. But mostly we adapted with guidance from our professors and sharing our feelings with one another. [Read more…]

Advent 3

“Animal Nature,” Susan Ryder

READINGS
Gen. 1: 20-25 And God said, “Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the dome of the sky.” So God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, of every kind, with which the waters swarm, and every winged bird of every kind. And God saw that it was good. God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures of every kind: cattle and creeping things and wild animals of the earth of every kind.” And it was so. God made the wild animals of the earth of every kind, and the cattle of every kind, and everything that creeps upon the ground of every kind. And God saw that it was good. [Read more…]

Advent 2

“Ever Green,” Bob Ryder

READINGS:
Genesis 1:9-13 And God said, ‘Let the waters under the sky be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.’ And it was so. God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good. Then God said, ‘Let the earth put forth vegetation: plants yielding seed, and fruit trees of every kind on earth that bear fruit with the seed in it.’ And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation: plants yielding seed of every kind, and trees of every kind bearing fruit with the seed in it. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.

Matthew 6:28b-29 Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. [Read more…]