Mindful Maintenance

“Mindful Maintenance,” Bob Ryder

Matthew 6:25-29 ‘Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? And why do you worry about clothing? 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.

Matthew 7:1-5 ‘Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For the judgement you give you will be the judgement you get. Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbor, “Let me take the speck out of your eye”, while the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite – first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye. [Read more…]

Let the Beauty We Love Be What We Do

Sermon: Let the Beauty we Love be what we do.

There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground. -Rumi

Susan Baller-Shepard

Come Holy Spirit Come

Good Morning.

Thank you for inviting me to join you in worship this morning.

I’m going to share some words, reflections, then hand the microphone to hear your thoughts.

When Susan and Bob invited me and told me your theme for the month,

I said yes immediately. [Read more…]

Beauty as Self-Transcendence

“Beauty as Self Transcendence,” Bob Ryder


Frederick Buechner: If you lose yourself in your work, you find who you are. If you express the best you have in you in your work, it is more than just the best you have in you that you are expressing.

Nobody – Emily Dickenson
I’m Nobody! Who are you?
Are you – Nobody – too?
Then there’s a pair of us!
Don’t tell! they’d advertise – you know!
How dreary – to be – Somebody!
How public – like a Frog –
To tell one’s name – the livelong June –
To an admiring Bog!

Proverbs 12:15 – Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to advice. [Read more…]

Beauty in Work

“Finding Beauty in Our Work,” Susan Ryder

Hildegard of Bingen:
A person becomes a flowering orchard. The person that does good work is indeed this orchard bearing good fruit. Whatever humanity does with its deed in the right or left hand permeates the universe.

Jesus: By their fruits you shall know them.

Tao Te Ching: In work, do what you enjoy.

Bhagavad Gita: They all attain perfection when they find joy in their work.

Ecclesiastes 3:22 So I saw that there is nothing better than that a person should enjoy their work. [Read more…]

Balance as Beauty

“Balance as Beauty,” Bob Ryder

Khalil Gibran quotes…

When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy. When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.

Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens.

Keep me away from the wisdom which does not cry, the philosophy which does not laugh and the greatness which does not bow before children. [Read more…]

People of Beauty

“What Does It Mean to Be a People of Beauty,” Susan Ryder

Genesis 1:26-27; 31 – Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; so God created humankind in the image of God; male and female. God saw everything God had made – the light and dark, the waters and sky, the dry land and plants, the creatures of the air, water, and land; and humankind – and indeed, it was very good.

1 John 4:7 – Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.

Henri Nouwen – “We are indeed brothers and sisters not only of all other men and women in the world but also of all that surrounds us. Yes, we have to love the fields full of wheat, the snowcapped mountains, the roaring seas, the wild and tame animals, the huge redwoods, and the little daisies. Everything in creation belongs, with us, to the large family of God.” [Read more…]

Spiritual Downsizing

“Spiritual Downsizing,” Susan Ryder

Whenever it’s my turn for a Pastor’s Choice Sunday, I often check to see what passage the lectionary offers for that week. For those of you unfamiliar with the lectionary, it’s is a listing of Scripture passages assigned for each Sunday of the year. Sometimes a passage from the lectionary will inspire me and I’ll use it as the basis for my Reflection – and sometimes not so much. This week’s gospel passage was a challenging one, and I considered skipping it, but it kept whispering to me for several days, so I decided to go ahead and take it on. The passage is from Luke and is colored pink by the Jesus Seminar in The Five Gospels, which means scholars believe Jesus probably said something much like this. Pink and red (which means Jesus undoubtedly said it or something like it) are often assigned to Jesus’ sayings which are the hardest ones to hear … this morning is no exception.

Luke 12:13-21
Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.” But Jesus said to him, “Friend, who set me to be a judge or arbitrator over you?” And he said to them, “Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.” Then he told them a parable: “The land of a rich man produced abundantly. And he thought to himself, ‘What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?’ Then he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God.” [Read more…]

Road Trip

“Reflections on a Road Trip,” Bob Ryder

“No one says, at the end of their life, “If only I’d spent more time at the office.”

Muhammad Ali “A man who views the world the same at fifty as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life.”

Acts 9:1-19  Saul was still breathing threats of murder against the disciples of the Lord. He went to the high priest and asked for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any who belonged to the Way he could bring them bound to Jerusalem. As he was approaching Damascus, a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying, ‘Saul, why do you persecute me?’ Saul asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ The reply came, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But get up and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.’ Saul got up, but though his eyes were open he could see nothing.  So his fellow travelers led him into Damascus, and for three days he was blind, and he neither ate nor drank. [Read more…]

Trust – Community

“Trust in the Community,” Bob Ryder

Lately I find myself fascinated with the story of Billy Beane, General Manager and Vice President of the Oakland Athletics.  His career is recounted in the book “Moneyball” by Michael Lewis, as well as in the motion picture by the same name. The hook of the story is Billy’s ahead-of-the-curve, game-changing insight for recognizing overlooked/undervalued talent in baseball players, and assembling winning teams for a small fraction of the enormous salary deployed by big-money dynasties such as Boston and New York to entice superstars. [Read more…]

Building Trust

“Building and Rebuilding Trust,” Susan Ryder

 As we continue our discussion of what it means to be a people of trust, we’ll begin by listening to a story told by BrenéBrown in a video on “The Anatomy of Trust.” I will link the video online and on Facebook so you can watch the whole thing – it’s about 20 minutes long, and worth the watch. For now we’ll just watch the first five minutes.

https://brenebrown.com/videos/anatomy-trust-video/ [Read more…]