New Year’s Eve

“It’s About Time,” Bob Ryder


“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.”  Henry David Thoreau

“The present moment is the only moment available to us and it is the door to all other moments.”  Thich Nhat Hanh

“If the only prayer you ever say in your whole life is ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.” Meister Eckhart

“Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” Allen Saunders / John Lennon

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”  Ferris Bueller [Read more…]

Advent 4

“What a Friend,” Bob Ryder

Luke 2:1-20
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 room for them in the inn. [Read more…]

Advent 3

“Wonder Women,” Susan Ryder

Luke 1 (selected verses)          
In the days of King Herod of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly order of Abijah. His wife was a descendant of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. Both of them were righteous before God, living blamelessly according to all the commandments and regulations of the Lord. But they had no children, and both were getting on in years. Once when he was serving as priest before God, he was chosen to enter the sanctuary of the Lord and offer incense. Now at the time of the incense offering, the whole assembly of the people was praying outside. Then there appeared to him an angel of the Lord. When Zechariah saw him, he was terrified; and fear overwhelmed him. But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John. You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. Even before his birth he will be filled with the Holy Spirit. He will turn many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God.” Soon after his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she remained in seclusion. [Read more…]

Advent 2

“Who Were We Expecting?” Bob Ryder

Lk 7:18-23  (excerpts) John summoned two of his disciples and sent them to the Lord to ask, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?’ When they found Jesus, they inquired of him as John has instructed. And Jesus answered, ‘Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have good news brought to them. Blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me.’ [Read more…]

Advent 1

“Things Fall Apart,” Susan Ryder

Mark 13:24-37
But in those days, after that suffering,
the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light,
and the stars will be falling from heaven,
and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. [Read more…]


“Reframing Gratitude,” Susan Ryder

On the church calendar, we don’t often get to enjoy a full Thanksgiving weekend for it’s own sake. Most of the time, first Sunday of Advent comes along while there is still cranberry sauce and stuffing left in the fridge. But this is one of those nice years where there’s a week in between, something that will happen again in 2018, but then not until 2023. Which means we can ease into the Advent season a little more gracefully and take our time considering gratitude. [Read more…]

The More You Know

“The More You Know,” Bob Ryder

1 Corinthians 8:1b-3…we know that ‘all of us possess knowledge,’ but knowledge puffs up. Love builds up. Anyone who claims to know something does not yet have the necessary knowledge. Anyone who loves knows God.

Don’t you know, the littlest moments can change your life – experiences so seemingly incidental and casual you barely notice them as they happen.  Yet years later you realize you’re a very different person because of that encounter.  [Read more…]

36 Reasons Why

“36 Reasons Why,” Susan Ryder

Once upon a time, there was a monastery on a mountain high above a small town in Italy. The monks were hard working souls who cultivated grapes and fruits of all sorts – they ate and slept very little and prayed nine times a day. For years, the fruits of their labors sustained them. They sold their grapes and fruits and used the income to replant and maintain themselves and their facility. But eventually, conditions changed. New young monks entered the monastery; the elders got sick or died. Lethargy, indecision, and changing leadership eroded confidence. Arguments drove wedges between the brothers. Conflict replaced cooperation – and soon the monastery was in trouble. Some of the monks left; others stayed but kept to themselves … isolated and solitary. Work was done poorly, if at all. [Read more…]

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

“Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” Bob Ryder

Mark 12:28-31 One of the scribes came near and heard Jesus debating with the Pharisees. Noting that he answered them well, he asked Jesus, “Which commandment is the most important?” Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.’ The next most important is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment more important than these.”

Galatians 3:26-28 In Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. [Read more…]

Animal Blessings

“Animals Are Blessings,” Susan Ryder

 On this first Sunday of October, the closest day to the Feast of St. Francis, some congregations observe a “blessing of the animals” service. We participated in one a few years ago at the Unitarian Church, and our youth led animal blessing services the last two years. Bob and I enjoyed bringing Daisy to be blessed last year – and so appreciated the leadership and liturgy from our young people. This year we decided that instead of blessing the animals, we would reflect on how animals bless us. How many of you currently have a pet of some sort sharing your life and home? How many of you don’t have a pet now but had a pet in the past? How many of you have never had a pet animal in your home? Have you ever experienced a blessing from an animal? Let’s hear a couple of readings – one ancient and one modern …

Genesis 2:18-20
Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner.” So out of the ground the Lord God formed every animal of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the air, and to every animal of the field [Read more…]