Journey to Wholeness – Lent 2

“The Company You Keep,” Bob Ryder

“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.

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

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…]

We Ate a Chair

“We Ate a Chair,” Susan Ryder

Matthew 17:20– Jesus said, “For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.”

Jay Michael– Suffer the little children who dwell in possibility, for theirs is the kingdom of love.

Albert Einstein– “Only those who attempt the absurd can achieve the impossible.”
“Everyone knew it was impossible, until a fool who didn’t know came along and did it.” [Read more…]

Evolution as Possibility

Our friends on the worship planning team selected as our theme for the month of February, “What does it mean to be a people of possibility?”  It synchronizes perfectly with our annual celebration of “Evolution Sunday,” which falls this morning because there is no aspect of human experience more resplendent with possibility than to understand our identity as one organism within the vast genetic spectrum of life, and our wealth of untapped potential for intelligence and the wisdom both to deploy it and restrain it with grace. [Read more…]

People of Possibility

“People of Possibility,” Susan Ryder

Matthew 17:20– Jesus said, “For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.”

Deborah L Johnson– Maintaining possibility consciousness is your prime responsibility. . . .With possibility comes everything. . . . With possibility comes everything. With possibility you take off the limitations. . . . You let the energy flow. . . . You are no longer fixated on your own preconceived notions of what ought to or should be done.

Jay Michael– Faith is not dogmatic belief or blind conviction; it is trust in the availability of fresh possibilities. It begins with a circular movement of water or air, with a flickering eddy, with an atom of amber in a fire. It begins in constructive fantasy.In the healthy spiritual life mindfulness of sensory detail is not enough. It is not enough simply to pay attention to things as they are. We also need the capacity to be lost in our thoughts; to wander in reverie; to be out of sync with constraints of what is, so that we can be attuned to the world of what can be.Suffer the little children who dwell in possibility, for theirs is the kingdom of love. [Read more…]

Vision as Community

“Vision as Community,” Susan Ryder

Matthew 18:20
For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.

Romans 12:4-5
For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. [Read more…]

Vision as Prophetic Imagination

“Vision as Prophetic Imagination,” Bob Ryder


Luke 6:27-42
“Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other cheek also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them back. Behave toward others as you would have them behave toward you.” [Read more…]

Vision as Perspective

“Vision as Introspection: Changing Our Perspective,” Susan Ryder


Matthew 20:1-16
Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the laborers for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. When he went out about nine o’clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace; and he said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went. When he went out again about noon and about three o’clock, he did the same. And about five o’clock he went out and found others standing around; and he said to them, ‘Why are you standing here idle all day?’ They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard.’ When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, ‘Call the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and then going to the first.’ When those hired about five o’clock came, each of them received the usual daily wage. Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received the usual daily wage. And when they received it, they grumbled against the landowner, saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’ But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? Take what belongs to you and go; I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ So the last will be first, and the first will be last.” [Read more…]

Vision as Epiphany

“Vision as Epiphany,” Bob Ryder


Matthew 2:1-12
In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, astrologers from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, ‘Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising,and have come to pay him homage.’ When King Herod heard this, he was upset, and all Jerusalem with him; calling together the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiahwas to be born. They told him, ‘In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet:

“And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who is to shepherdmy people Israel.”’ [Read more…]