October 25, 2020

“Resisting Condemnation,” Bob Ryder

Luke 6:37-42 Jesus taught his followers, “Don’t hold others to account, and you won’t be held to account. Don’t condemn, and you won’t be condemned. Forgive, and you’ll be forgiven. Be generous, and you’ll be treated generously – a good measure, pressed down, shaken together and over-flowing will be poured in your lap. The measure you use dealing with others will be the measure used dealing with you.” He also told them this parable: “Can the blind lead the blind? Won’t they both fall into a ditch? The student isn’t above the teacher, but those who practice will be like their teacher. Why do you look at the speck in your neighbor’s eye but pay no attention to the plank in your own? How can you say to your neighbor, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while you’re ignoring the branches covering your face? Don’t be a hypocrite, first clear your own vision, then you’ll see clearly to help your neighbors with the specks in their eyes.” [Read more…]

LGBTQ+ Appreciation

Sunday, October 18, 2020
“New Covenant Community – A Welcoming Congregation,” Susan Ryder

Galatians 3:28 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. 

Bishop Desmond Tutu: “All over the world, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are persecuted. We treat them as pariahs and push them outside our communities. We make them doubt that they too are children of God – and this must be nearly the ultimate blasphemy.”  [Read more…]

October 11, 2020

“Beginner’s Mind: Letting Go,” Bob Ryder

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 take another look at two concepts from the practice of Zen Buddhist mindfulness: “Letting Go” and “Beginner’s Mind.”  I’ve spoken about them before on a couple of occasions, and they’re worth coming back to as Susan and I count down our last dozen reflections before we retire at the end of this year.  Occasionally I’ve mentioned my appreciation for mindfulness practice via a set of mental and spiritual skills that help manage stress and cultivate an alert / poised approach to living. There are seven principles associated with the tradition as follows… [Read more…]

World Communion 2020

“The Welcome Table,” Susan Ryder


Luke 14:16-22 – Jesus Seminar Translation
“Someone gave a great dinner and invited many. At the time for the dinner he sent his slave to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come; for everything is ready now.’ But they all began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a piece of land, and I must go out and see it; please accept my regrets.’ Another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to try them out; please accept my regrets.’ Another said, ‘I have just been married, and therefore I cannot come.’ So the slave returned and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and said to his slave, ‘Go out at once into the streets and lanes of the town and bring in the poor, the disabled, the blind, and the lame.’ And the slave said, ‘Sir, what you ordered has been done, and there is still room.’ Then the master said to the slave, ‘Go out into the roads and lanes, and compel people to come in, so that my house may be filled.’ [Read more…]

September 27, 2020

“Inclusive, Compassionate, Joyful,” Bob Ryder


Matthew 5:13-16 (partial/paraphrased)
You are the light of the world. No one lights a lamp and hides it under a blanket. You hang it from the ceiling, so it lights up the room. Likewise, let your inner light shine so others may see it and be drawn to the sacred coming into the world through you.

Matthew 6:1-4
Resist practicing your piety before others to be seen – there’s no virtue in that. When you give to charity, don’t make a production of it so others will praise you. Those who do such things have received all the reward coming to them. When you give, be so private about it even your left hand doesn’t know what your right hand is doing. Let your charity be between you and God. [Read more…]

September 20, 2020

We’re Lost and it’s Your Fault!” The Rev. Dr. Teresa Dulyea-Parker, Regional Minister and President, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for Illinois and Wisconsin


Exodus 16:2-15

2 The whole congregation of the Israelites complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness.

3 The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the fleshpots and ate our fill of bread; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”

4 Then the Lord said to Moses, “I am going to rain bread from heaven for you, and each day the people shall go out and gather enough for that day. In that way I will test them, whether they will follow my instruction or not. 5 On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather on other days.”

6 So Moses and Aaron said to all the Israelites, “In the evening you shall know that it was the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, 7 and in the morning you shall see the glory of the Lord, because he has heard your complaining against the Lord. For what are we, that you complain against us?” [Read more…]

September 13, 2020

“Forgiveness Revisited,” Susan Ryder

Leviticus 23:26-28 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 27Now, the tenth day of this seventh month is the day of atonement; it shall be a holy convocation for you: you shall deny yourselves* and present the Lord’s offering by fire; 28and you shall do no work during that entire day; for it is a day of atonement, to make atonement on your behalf before the Lord your God.

Matthew 18:21-22: Then Peter came and said to him, “Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy times seven.” [Read more…]

September 6, 2020

“Scientific and Sacred,” Bob Ryder

Daniel Patrick Moynihan – “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.”

Carl Sagan – “Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality. When we recognize our place in an immensity of light-years and in the passage of ages, when we grasp the intricacy, beauty, and subtlety of life, then that soaring feeling, that sense of elation and humility combined, is surely spiritual…The notion that science and spirituality are somehow mutually exclusive does a disservice to both.

Proverbs 23:23 – Buy truth, and do not sell it; buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding. [Read more…]

August 30, 2020

“Self-Care: Rest and Renewal,” Susan Ryder

Genesis 2:1-2
Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all their multitude. And on the seventh day God finished the work, and God rested on the seventh day. So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all the work done in creation.

Exodus 20:8-11
Remember the Sabbath day, and keep it holy. For six days you shall labor and do all your work. But the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God; you shall not do any work — you, your household, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns. For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and consecrated it.

Matthew 11:29 Jesus says, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” [Read more…]

August 23, 2020

“All Shall Be Well,” Bob Ryder (and Phyllis White)


Luke 18:1-5
Jesus said, ‘In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected for people. In that city there was also a widow who kept coming to the judge saying, “Grant me justice against my oppressor.” For a while he refused. But eventually the judge said to himself, “Though I have neither fear of God nor respect for anyone, this widow won’t give me any peace. I will grant her justice so that she may not wear me out constantly banging on my door.” ’ [Read more…]