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

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

“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…]