Thursday, December 8, 2011

Waiting for God ….

“How do we wait for God? We wait with patience. But patience does not mean passivity. Waiting patiently is not like waiting for the bus to come, the rain to stop, or the sun to rise. It is an active waiting in which we live the present moment to the full in order to find there the signs of the One we are waiting for.

“The word patience comes from the Latin verb patior, which means to ‘suffer.’ Waiting patiently is suffering through the present moment, tasting it to the full, and letting the seeds that are sown in the ground on which we stand grow into strong plants. Waiting patiently always means paying attention to what is happening right before our eyes and seeing there the first rays of God’s glorious coming.”

~~Henri J. M. Nouwen

Good is the Lord to one who waits for him, to the soul that seeks him; it is good to hope in silence for the saving help of the Lord.

Lamentations 3:25-26

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Statement of Faith …

I believe in the one holy God of Israel who created heaven and earth and all of its inhabitants to live in community with the Triune God and with each other. Through our sin, both personal and corporate, we are separated from God and unable to bring ourselves back into communion. When the words of the prophets went unheard and unheeded because of our inherent rebellion, God in loving kindness and steadfast mercy sent Jesus Christ into the world so that we might be restored to a right relationship through the sacrifice made on our behalf.

Knowing that we continually struggle in all of our relationships, the Holy Spirit draws us near to God through admonition and encouragement. Through the scriptures of both Old and New Testaments, we see testimony to the steadfast faithfulness of God and are given instruction to guide us. Scripture is divinely given and an infallible witness to God's saving grace through Jesus Christ. Through the work of the Holy Spirit, our hearts are softened to hear the gospel message of salvation and our minds and souls are strengthened for the Kingdom work to which we are each called.

Although God saves each of us individually, there is a communal nature to our worship. We are meant to gather as the beloved children of God to form the body of Christ. On earth, the Kingdom of God is made visible through the local church. The church then is called to worship and action through the proclamation of the Word and the Sacraments of Baptism and The Lord's Supper. Our baptisms remind us that God knew us before we were formed in our mother's wombs and that each of us is called to be in relationship with God through Christ. The Sacrament of the Lord's Supper is a symbol that we are united as one body and nourished by the food which Christ provides. Both sacraments are visible signs of the promises and blessings of God's covenant agreement with all those who believe.

As believers, we are equipped by the Holy Spirit with gifts suitable for work in the Kingdom of God. We are called to be faithful and cheerful givers of our time, talents, and gifts so that others might be lifted up out of the oppression of physical, mental, and spiritual bondage. No longer are we to remain isolated from creation. Instead, we are called to full participation in God's mission. The saints of the church are to be set apart - marked for radical discipleship - as the Holy Spirit continually sanctifies us and teaches us the heart and mind of Christ.

When we realize the fathomless depths of God's love, we can't help but bow our knees before the throne, and cry "Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord God Almighty." As we bow, God enlarges our hearts and our minds to reach out to others and transforms us from lonely and selfish individuals into joyful people of faith who stand in the intersection of the sacred and the ordinary.

May it be so in our hearts and lives today so that we are faithful until the day when Christ returns to redeem all of creation.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Friday Five: Decisions, Decisions



I am pinch hitting today, my first time, as your Friday Five RevGal. Like the song "The Macarena" was for Los Del Rio, this could very well be a one-hit wonder, so thanks for playing!
Today we play off of one of my favorite and most memorable Friday Fives to blog from: Decisions, Decisions posted by Songbird last July 23. I went back to that post to make sure I had new choices for you to make. I found out -- again -- that she was then, as I have been recently, in the midst of a discernment process and thinking about what goes into decision making.

A decision from history: There is a chair that still sits in the Assembly Room of the Pennsylvania State House (Independence Hall). Legend has it that it was George Washington's chair, the back carved with a half sun. Benjamin Franklin would look at it and wonder whether it was a rising or a setting sun. Eventually Franklin decided it was the hopeful symbol of the rising sun, a sign of the future of our new republic.

How do you decide? Check out the following pairs and tell which one of each appeals to you most:

1) Sunrise or Sunset – Sunset

2) To the Mountains or To the Beach – to the beach

3) Coffee or Tea – Definitely tea, particularly since spending time in Malawi where tea time is a time of slowing down and giving thanks in the midst of the busy schedule. Tea time speaks of slowing down for gratitude, friendship and fellowship while coffee seems to be a frantic attempt to enable us to do more.

4) Advent or Lent – This was a tough call because I think both are important. However, Advent speaks of new beginnings and reminds me that God’s mercies are new every morning.

5) "Raindrops on Roses" or "Whiskers on Kittens" – absolutely no preference here ….

BONUS: Tell more about one of the pairs. Why did you choose it? Difficult or easy choice? A story from your own experience?

Friday, July 22, 2011

Drop your Dread .. Dare to Hope

Weekly Word for Leaders: Dump Your Dread…And Hope Instead


In every season, we have two choices, to fear and dread…or to hope and believe. Dreading the future (or any event, change, or situation) robs us of peace and joy in the present. Hoping and trusting frees us to enjoy every season and to stay grounded in the present. It keeps worry and anxiety at bay.

Perhaps you are looking ahead to the fall – and your upcoming responsibilities – with dread. Or your mind might be racing with disturbing questions:

Will we have the resources and people we need? Will families return this year? Will I be able to keep up with the demands of family, ministry, and my own personal needs? Will leadership be more supportive and helpful this year?

The answer is found in Psalms 43:

“Why are you downcast oh my inner self? And why should you moan over me and be disquieted within me? Put your hope in God and wait expectantly for him, for I shall yet praise him, my help and my God…” (AMP)

I pray that you, too, will lay down any circumstances or challenges you are dreading – even those that seem impossible – and encourage your soul to “Hope in God!” Choose to have positive expectations about the upcoming year and trust him to provide everything you need to serve him joyfully!


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Easter Express …

Get on board

the Easter Express

Gladden UP

755 Millers Run Road

March 29, April 5, 12, 19th

6 to 8 p.m.

Event includes: Craft, meal, Bible story and games

for children in grades preschool to Grade 5

with opportunities for older youth

to participate as leader assistants

Please help us be good stewards of resources

and pre-register

by calling

412-221-5594 by Mar. 25

Monday, March 7, 2011

“Seraphim in Disguise” by Ted Loder

A friend sent this to me this weekend, and I thought it was worth keeping and sharing:

O God,

everywhere present, but nowhere obvious, here I am where I always seem to be; betwixt cold fronts and crocuses, dreams and disappointments, failures and summons, flaws and gifts, growing up and growing old; betwixt isolation and intimacy, despair and hope, confidence and fear, life and death.

O God,

you must know how hard it is

to be in this between

where nothing is certain,

everything's in flux,

this relentless churning

from something I can't quite grasp

to something I can't quite see,

and it's all up for grabs,

and - please,God –

for grace.

Mercy out of me

this tumorous sense of fault,

this dead-weight of doubt

that I am not two-sparrows' worth,

and no concern of yours.

Deepen into me

the liberating assurance

that I am where you are with me,

stretched between the kingdom in our midst and the slow fullness of its coming.

Muster my courage

to let go of the clutch of grievances

that keep rendering me vaguely the same, to become vulnerable to surprise - by being one – taking some outrageous, specific dare of love.

Strengthen my trust

that you are in the turbulence

to intensify my struggles,

and to render me, as well,

sociable to joy, subject to your grace.

Keen my awareness

that uncertainty is my dance with you,

crises, seraphim in disguise,

rumpling the air with choice and change, tonging the coals of another chance, proclaiming betwixt as holy, cleansing my soul for gratitude, freeing me, when sent, to go for you, a little less afraid, a little more at ease.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Friday Five: Five Perks of Ministry

1.  Undoubted one of the greatest perks is the privilege of sharing in the congregation’s greatest joys and sorrows. Being in ministry means I am part of the family of God … an extended family which nurtures and cares for one another… and for the most part that has been true.

2.  The flexible schedule afforded by ministry is a blessing.  I may work longer hours but it is possible to juggle my responsibilities as a wife and mother.

3.  I get paid to read – what a concept. I can curl up with a good book and honestly call it work.

4.  Excellent health benefits – with a husband on disability and a daughter prone to accidents – this perk has been a tremendous blessing.

5.  The opportunity for continuing education and travel experiences including travel to our sister congregation in Blantyre, Malawi, Africa.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Call Comes to You in the Midst of Life

The Call comes to you in the midst of life

The Call comes to you in the midst of life

The Call comes to you in the midst of life

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The presence of the Holy Spirit

I’m starting 2011 as sick as I’ve been in many years … probably since high school when I landed in the hospital sick as a dog for some undiagnosed reason … Whatever the symptoms, the real culprit is definitely stress – it was then and it is now.

This past year has been a roller coaster of emotions … in my personal life, in corporate worship, and in my family. And I’ve been begging to get off the ride.

Two things have made me face reality:  a trip to Disney with a friend over New Year’s Eve which found me facing my fears and going on rides … which I found oddly not nearly as frightening as I anticipated because I was facing them with a friend… and preaching about the baptism of Jesus and realizing that even Jesus didn’t get to escape the roller coaster of life … in one pericope he’s hearing, “This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased,” and in the very next pericope he’s in the wilderness facing temptation and loneliness. And the presence of the Holy Spirit is found in both places.

I really wanted to hear that I had spent my year on the roller coaster ride and would be allowed to jump off in 2011. But if anything, the heights seem much higher and the drops seem much steeper.

May the Holy Spirit be present and may I continually claim the calm assurance that Jesus still speaks, “Peace, be still.”

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Come …..

We ask for all
In trouble
Not knowing where to turn
We ask for a miracle
Come break through
Come dawn
Deep peace
Love diving
Grace unbound
Relieve your children's
Burden and pain
Come fill us
Center us in
Shared space

Annette Joseph
Strong, Maine

Joseph, Annette. "Come." Lifting Women's Voices: Prayers to Change the World. Ed. Margaret Rose, Jenny Te Paa, Jeanne Person, Abagail Nelson. NY: Morehouse Publishing, 2009. 264.