Faith of a Mustard Seed Mark 4:30-32

30He also said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it? 31It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; 32yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.”

Daily Reflection

Lent is a time for reflecting and asking ourselves how we’re doing, spirit-wise. Mark 4 is a particularly good passage for me to reread, as I need to have seeds of faith inside me.  I never know when I’ll require them. I have needed them recently in the matter of my husband’s health.

Several years ago, my husband found out that he had serious heart problems. Thank God I stored up seeds of faith then, because I sowed a seed in the cardiologist’s parking lot. Then he had to have open heart surgery roughly six years ago. A number of seeds were sown at Morristown Hospital. We weathered that with God’s help. Boy, was I thankful then! But I would need more seeds. When I drove home from church about five or six years ago, I’d think of my poor husband waiting at home and realized that it was quite possible that he might die. So, a string of seeds went flying out the window of my car. But he was lucky enough to get on the heart transplant list.

Then a little over three years ago, he got a phone call that changed both his life and mine – the hospital had just received a heart that was perfect for him! Now I would need all the seeds I had stored up and more. Oh, he had some setbacks in the hospital after the heart transplant, but after three months of being away he was finally able to come home, which just proves that I needed all those faith seeds…

PRAYER – The world’s greatest wireless connection.

~Betsey Papp

Prayer To Go – June

A Potter’s Wheel

As a potter shapes clay into a vessel,

shape me, O Blessed One,

into a true disciple of your Way.

Fill me with your grace

that I may train my body this day

to serve others.

         –Modern prayer by Edward Hays, USA

                                                     …June 2018

Mission says (many Thanks)

The Mission Co-Op had pledged a matching gift for funds raised at VBS for Living Waters for the World. Not only did nine kids learn that there are places in the world that do not have clean water and how lucky we are that we do, they also contributed $132 in pennies,
nickels, dimes and quarters to help those who don’t! The congregation contributed a total of $731.25 during the month of June during and after a service devoted to the VBS focus on clean water.

The total of $995.25 was sent to the PCUSA Synod of Living Waters in Tennessee. The funds will be used to create water filtration systems in areas of the world to provide clean water where children are sick and dying just from drinking the water! These areas include Appalachia, right here in the USA, as well as Haiti, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, Brazil, Laos, Cuba, Peru, Nicaragua, and Thailand. ♥

A Prayer For Orlando

ribbon-black_68Dear Saints,

Every Sunday in preparation for worship, I log on to my computer and check the headlines. Today I did not, bc of the youth service and so I did not learn about the Orlando massacre until I got late this afternoon.

After such a beautiful, rich and life-giving service and a fun Holy Jeopardy, we are again reminded of the precious of life, he need for prayer and to have each other’s back.

I am often at a total loss for words at times of crises, so I share these words from the prayer on  the PCUSA homepage today…

” Let the same heart beat as one among us, that we will draw together across these false divides, And rise up as one to breathe peace where there is no peace,and heal our communities and our world. God of the rainbow, once long ago, you stretched your light across the heavens to renew your covenant of peace with your people, you promised not to destroy. Help us in these days to believe that promise, and to participate in it, and to treasure the life which it treasures.

In the wake of an event that should be impossible to contemplate but which has become all too common in our experience,open our eyes, break our hearts,and turn our hands to the movements of your Spirit,that our anger and sorrow may unite in service to build a reign of peace,where the lion and the lamb may dwell together,and terror no longer hold sway over our common life.

In the name of Christ, our healer and our Light, we pray, Amen”

In deep grief and prayer with you,
Jen

Happy “New Year”!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

No, you are not reading an old SPIRE issue…

We are in Advent now and Advent, in the church calendar, is technically the beginning of a new year. The church year ends on Christ the King Sunday (usually the Sunday before Thanksgiving) and begins on 1st Advent (the Sunday that falls after Thanksgiving). Each year begins the next year/cycle of lectionary passages and they are broken down into three years;
A, B and C.

It might seem weird at first to imagine that we start the New Year on Nov 29th but if you think about it, it might make sense. New Year’s Eve is usually about celebrating the blessings of the past year and giving hope to new resolutions and new beginnings.

Since we have all just finished enjoying a bountiful feast of Thanksgiving, we have hopefully paused, even for a minute, to give thanks to God for all the blessings of the past year. Post-thanksgiving feast, pushing back from the table, we have likely already started our resolutions (i.e., perhaps to not ‘over-eat’ this holiday season). As Black Friday adverts clamored for our attention, we also may have made a resolution about not going ‘overboard’ this Christmas. Or at least hope to keep our spending habits in line and giving gifts that are more thoughtful and/or more authentic.

Lastly, the beauty of New Years is that we can say good bye to all that was hard, hurtful or grief-filled and put hope in a New Year, which can be filled with promise, courage and faith.

That, my friends, is also the true meaning of Advent. Advent is a season of preparation and waiting. It is a season for all those things we want to witness, again or for the first time. The word advent is an anglicized word from the Latin word adventus,
meaning “coming”. So hope, promise, courage and faith are coming; they are literally on the way.

In the daily, sometimes hourly barrage of news headlines about terrorist attacks, planes being shot down, school shootings and civil unrest, we need a new year. We need hope, promise, courage and faith. We need hope beyond all hope. This however will not come by making the perfectly decorated tree, getting the perfect gifts for family and friends and whatever your vision of the perfect Christmas is.

It comes from gathering together and worshiping the God who brings love to us in an infant-child. 

It comes from preparing our souls for the coming of the One in whom we live and move and have our being.

It comes from the Word, made flesh, and who is the ONLY ONE who can bring peace to the earth.

It comes from our hearts being willing to be the first to beat swords into plowshares and make spears into pruning hooks. It comes
from our words and prayers and actions that fight against nations lifting up swords against one another.

I hope and deeply pray that we all have a blessed NEW YEAR as we begin Advent.

I hope and deeply pray we all find more courage, hope and faith.

I hope and deeply pray that all your New Year’s hopes and dreams are made evident in the arrival of Immanuel, God with us.

Celebrating the New Year with you while we wait for the Christ-child,
♥ Rev. Jen

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