Like a Mother

“Like a Mother,” Susan Ryder

READING

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…]

Worthy Hospitality

“Worthy Hospitality,” Bob Ryder

READINGS:
Ephesians 4:1-12 (fragments) – I beseech you to lead a life worthy of your calling, with humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain unity in the bond of peace.  Each of us was given grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift – some as apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin – “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” [Read more…]

Journey to Wholeness – Easter

“It is Finished?” Susan Ryder

We’ve considered several different aspects of our Lenten journey to wholeness, beginning with the importance of spiritual preparation and grounding; then finding friends to travel with us; being true to our authentic selves; learning humility; accepting our humanity; and living with integrity. This morning we turn out attention to resurrection experiences as part of our pursuit of wholeness, using the Easter story as our jumping off point. I invite you to listen with new ears and open hearts to the reading from Mark’s gospel.

READINGS
Mark 16:1-8
When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. They had been saying to one another, ‘Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?’ When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. But he said to them, ‘Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.’ So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid. [Read more…]

Journey to Wholeness – Palm Sunday

“Palms and Protests,” Bob Ryder

REFLECTION
This morning we take still another step forward on our Lenten “Journey to Wholeness,” looking today at the experience of integrity. [Read more…]

Journey to Wholeness – Lent 5

“Hangry Jesus and the Fig Tree,” Susan Ryder

 READINGS
Mark 11:12-20
On the following day, when they came from Bethany, he was hungry. Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see whether perhaps he would find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. He said to it, ‘May no one ever eat fruit from you again.’ And his disciples heard it.

Then they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who were selling and those who were buying in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold doves; and he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple. He was teaching and saying, ‘Is it not written, “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations”? But you have made it a den of robbers.’ And when the chief priests and the scribes heard it, they kept looking for a way to kill him; for they were afraid of him, because the whole crowd was spellbound by his teaching. And when evening came, Jesus and his disciples went out of the city.

In the morning as they passed by, they saw the fig tree withered away to its roots. [Read more…]

Journey to Wholeness – Lent 4

“Keep Your Identity Small,” Bob Ryder

Our worship services have centered on the theme “Journey to Wholeness” during Lent. For this fourth subject in the series we’re considering the experience of pride.  Here are a few readings to get us started…

Proverbs 11:2– When pride comes, then comes disgrace; but wisdom is with the humble.

Matthew 5:33-37 – You’ve heard it said from ancient times, “You shall not swear falsely, but carry out the vows you have made to the Lord.” I say don’t swear at all, not “by heaven” for it is the throne of God, nor “by earth” for it is his footstool, nor “by Jerusalem” for it is the city of the great King. Do not even swear by your own head, for you can’t make so much as a single hair white or black. When you give your word, simply say “Yes” or “No”; anything more than this comes from the evil one. [Read more…]

Journey to Wholeness – Lent 3

“Not Quite What You Were Expecting,” Susan Ryder

READING
Luke 4:14-30
Then Jesus, filled with the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee, and a report about him spread through all the surrounding country. He began to teach in their synagogues and was praised by everyone. When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. Then he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” [Read more…]

Journey to Wholeness – Lent 2

“The Company You Keep,” Bob Ryder

READINGS
“If you want to go fast, go alone.  If you want to go far, go together.” African Proverb

There are two questions we must ask ourselves. The first is, “Where am I going?” The second is, “Who will go with me?” – Howard Thurman [Read more…]

Journey to Wholeness – Lent 1

“Journey to Wholeness: First Steps”

This morning we begin the Lenten journey toward wholeness we will be traveling together for the next six weeks. Lent is the liturgical season that begins on Ash Wednesday, when ashes are marked on foreheads with the words, “Remember you are dust, and to dust you will return.” The opening ritual of Lent invites us to meditate on life’s brevity, and this invitation to consider one’s dustiness goes back to the story of Creation from Genesis. In Hebrew, the word for Adam is closely related to the word forearth or ground. Therefore, when we read in Genesis that Adam was formed from adamahwe are being told that the first human is essentially a dust creature, an Earth creature. Lent then, is a time for contemplating our mortality as earth creatures, as well as a time of redemption and renewal. This year we begin our journey with several readings.

READINGS
Mark 1:9-14
In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.” And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.” [Read more…]

Pass With Care

“Pass With Care,” Bob Ryder

READINGS
Proverbs 1:7– Fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Proverbs 16:18– Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.

Definitions of “a fool”

“A person lacking in judgment or prudence.” Webster’s Dictionary

“One who acts unwisely on a given occasion.” The Free Dictionary

“A fool is someone who ought to know better.”  Diogenes Allen

John Keating – Dead Poets Society – “There’s a time for daring and there’s a time for caution, and a wise man understands which is called for.”  [Read more…]