What gets you off the couch and out the door? Needs? Wants? Duty? Fear? It's always good to note what it takes to get us involved and moving. For many of us the rhetoric of the election season and the threats and degradation made to and about certain groups of people has challenged us to get off the couch and out the door this Saturday to join in a March. The purpose of the March is a public witness to the new administration about what we hold dear - basic rights for all; respect and justice for women and people of color and those of different religious backgrounds; profound compassion for all who are in our country. If you look up the Women's March on the internet it will talk about standing together in solidarity for the protection of rights, safety, health and our families and that recognizing diversity as a strength. Read the entire mission statement at womensmarchla.org and decide if you wish to join an FCC group who is gathering on Saturday morning. See article below for more information.
In our text today the arrest and imprisonment of John the Baptist is the event that pushed Jesus into the public arena to preach and teach and heal. That was the impetus for him to gather disciples to work with him to bring about change and transformation of people in his time.
As people of faith today, what makes you want to get "off the couch" and into the public arena to get involved? Our text is all about being called by God and invites some pondering on our part. Maybe we will see you at the March... or at church on Sunday. Or at another upcoming event. You are welcome and invited to participate as God calls you.
- Rev. Marlene W. Pomeroy
The Psalm that is our text for worship this week affirms a relationship with God that some of us may struggle to claim ourselves. How convinced are you of God's presence and activity in your life - it can be a tricky question for us to answer and our response may well depend on how happy or well we feel at any given time. In a sermon entitled "Claiming God" we will consider the challenges of affirming our faith amidst all the ups and downs of our daily lives...we will look at what practices can affirm our faith in ways that respect our concerns, our doubts, our life experience and God's urging that we change and grow! Come join us for worship this Sunday in the Chapel at 10AM!
-Rev. John H. Pomeroy
Isaiah 42: 1-9
This Sunday in the church calendar we celebrate the Baptism of Jesus by John in the Jordan (Matthew 3: 13-17). Another text we read this week is from Isaiah 42:1-9. Both texts remind us of the mission of the Messiah, of the people of Israel and of our mission as followers of Jesus, to "bring forth justice". In times like these, how do we remain true to our mission and calling? Join us this Sunday as we reflect on the theme, "I have called you in righteousness."
-Pastor Andy Schwiebert
This Sunday we will hear and see the biblical Christmas story through word, drama and song as our children act out the Christmas story. Based mostly on Luke's version, with Matthew's Wise Men also making an appearance, we will see the familiar players: the angels, shepherds, innkeeper, the Wise Ones, Mary and Joseph. Through their story we will engage in a a holy encounter with "God-with-us" ...Immanuel. Amidst the joy and beauty of our children who will play the parts in this drama, we will learn anew of the wondrous in-breaking of God into our world and in our lives; like Mary we will ponder these things in our hearts and allow the story to transform our lives.
-Rev. Marlene W. Pomeroy
Mary has made her mark on the history of Christianity. She is the mother of Jesus, bearer of the Christ child; the feminine ideal. But do we really know this Mary? Do we know the woman who sings this song? The Magnificat, taken from the first word of the Latin text "my soul magnifies," is a song of liberation. Simple and direct; eloquent and poetic, the song sings of God's mercy to those who are considered by the world to be lowly. Franciscan Richard Rohr observe that Mary highlights the three "impediments of the coming reign of God .. power, prestige, and possessions." We will listen to Mary's story anew this Sunday in worship and reflect with her on these impediments for fully embodying the renewing and transforming love of God in and through our lives.
-Rev. John H. Pomeroy
Wouldn't it be grand if you had 'do overs' in life? That turkey or ham that did not urn out as you had hoped,; even though you followed the directions step by step. With another attempt, you can surely make that dish 'look' more presentable. Or perhaps those final remarks from a particular conversation that keeps repeating in your head; we've rehearsed the words over and over wishing, hoping you could get a second chance,; a 'do over' using different words. Next time, we promise to be more loving with our words.
Our scripture, Matthew 24:36-44, warns its listeners about repeating an outcome. Implying that if the participants had realized their fate, they would have responded differently.
Advent is the coming i.e., that second coming of Christ, in the Christian church year. Join us as we consider options for making ready for the long awaited Messiah. Or possibly a 'do over' would be an option.
-Rev. Leo Lynch
2 Thessalonians 3:6-13
For a number of persons in our congregation, the election has brought with it strong feelings of anger, fear, anxiety and even despair. When an election so divides a country, we are reminded that over the years and decades of Presidential politics, we have found ourselves on different sides of issues, feeling encouraged and deeply concerned. This church over the years has for the most part been a unified voice for compassion, justice and witness to a welcoming God. We are committed to following Jesus amidst concerns over money, membership and a seemingly unending list of things that need to get done. After an election, the candidate becomes one who will have to govern - to stay in relationship with the people who elected that person to office - pronouncements now have real cost, real consequences and we take the measure of our elected officials for how they bear up under the scrutiny of that collective pressure. Our In-Gathering this Sunday is a celebration of the integrity and strength of our relationship as a community. Our stewardship witnesses, the letters from our Moderator and Co-Pastors, the hard work of our Church Council and our staff are all clear, strong reminders of the presence of a loving, just God among us. Our church is human and imperfect AND at the same time we are a crucial part of this Pasadena community that reminds all of the power of hope and faith. We have accomplished a great deal in our history - and in this year; come join us Sunday to commit to our collective ministry in the days and weeks ahead, in personal and significant ways, among our neighbors here. Now more than ever we need to be the church in a culture and a country that is showing signs of great strain and hurt. Join us for worship at 10AM in the Chapel where we will collect our pledges, take stock of what it means to be church together and see a new Powerpoint about the cost and scope of our ministry.
-Rev. John H. Pomeroy
Zacchaeus is the famously short tax collector in (Luke 19) who climbs the tree so he can see Jesus as he passes through Jericho. When he sees Zacchaeus, Jesus says, "I must stay at your house today." The crowd mumbles that Jesus is hanging out with a sinner. But all is not what it seems. Jesus sees in Zacchaeus generosity. Oh, and though we often assume Zacchaeus was short, it may, in fact have been Jesus who was the short one --truly, all is not as we have assumed! This Sunday we'll spend more time with this story of Zacchaeus and Jesus, and how our assumptions about others may be misplace. We will also explore why "Salvation" looks like in this story.
-Rev. Andy Schwiebert