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…]


“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

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…]


“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…]