Luke 1: 57-60, 67-69
This Sunday we continue to read stories surrounding the birth of Jesus; stories that are rich in symbolism and wisdom. The second Sunday in Advent we hear the parallel story of Mary's cousin Elizabeth who is pregnant with child by her husband Zechariah. Zechariah was a priest and was schooled in the ways of the the temple. Both Zechariah and Elizabeth were considered to be righteous, faithful people. Their story of the naming of their baby (who would become to the world John the Baptist), is rich with meaning. All around Jesus are signs of new life, transformation, hope and trust in God. You are invited to come to worship in our Sanctuary this Sunday and enter into the story and experience of Advent. We will also see and hear the second of four parts in our Christmas Pageant put on by our church school children.
-Rev. Marlene W. Pomeroy
I Samuel 1:4-20
In our text for worship this week Hannah pleads with God for a son and her suffering is misinterpreted by both her husband and a temple priest Eli. In a reflection entitled "Who's Listening?" we will reflect on how our suffering and struggle may go unnoticed or be misread by even those who are closest to us. There is pain in the world around us, and as we pack and move to a new location for our church, we may find we have our own share of feelings and challenges. The story of Hannah will offer us some support as we manage our own journeys - can we ask God for small and large concerns - is it faithful to ask for what we want, or even faithful to have a "needs" list - how much should we depend upon God for healing and a way forward? Join us in the Sanctuary for worship this Sunday, welcome our friends the Tradical Brothers and stay afterwards for our Thanksgiving Luncheon at noon.
Rev. John H Pomeroy
Today we honor brave men and women who have served and are presently serving in our Armed Services. We often ascribe to them as having given everything. As a Veteran, having deployed 5 times, I have often thought that statement was a bit much. But when I attempt to count up the cost, I'm not so sure. The many years of holidays, birthdays and anniversaries missed, one-of opportunities away from loved ones -missed child's first step or not being near to console them when their dream was crushed, not being near a parent or lover when they needed a gentle embrace after receiving devastating news or celebrate with them on an exciting opportunity.
What would you give up to enlist in God's army? How faithful would you be to battle for those who had no voice? Those who could not pay for your services nor ascertain its value? Those who were too greedy and had more than enough? What sacrifice would you make for these?
In our scripture reading, Jesus was watching people putting money in the treasury. He saw people giving large sums. He also noticed the offering of a poor woman, stating those with 'much' gave out of their abundance. But she gave out of her poverty. She put in everything she had.
What would Christ ascribe to your offering?
-Rev. Leo Lynch
The story of Ruth and Naomi is often used in special services - particularly weddings - for its striking account of fidelity and strength in the face of adversity and loneliness. In a reflection entitled Unlikely Company we will consider why Ruth stayed with Naomi, despite the strange land and the obstacles - and what that fidelity and companionship can teach us as we move to a new space and build new relationships as a faith community! Come join us for worship in the Chapel at 10AM and invite a friend who might benefit from the nurture of our gatherings.
- Rev. John H. Pomeroy
Mark 10:32-34, 46-52
This week we see a glimpse of Jesus on the road with his disciples as recorded in Mark's Gospel. We hear that some were amazed, and others were frightened as they followed him. We hear something of their conversation as they walk along the roads visiting places in Galilee. I once heard that Jesus never traveled more than 200 miles from his birthplace. Without the benefit of social media or television, his reputation was shared with others through word of mouth. Somehow the word got out of his works and teachings! When Jesus and the disciples come to Jericho, about 16 miles from Jerusalem, a blind beggar named Bartimaeus was sitting by the roadside and called out to Jesus. Bartimaeus cried out to Jesus and his followers several times to get their attention; finally, Jesus stopped and addressed him. The encounter is a pivotal one for Bartimaeus and after being in the presence of Jesus his blindness is gone. We will explore this story further in worship on Sunday - you are invited to read the text in advance and ponder it before you come to worship. You might ask yourself: in what way are you blind or in need of new ways to see.?You might consider what your answer might be to the question that Jesus asks Bartimaeus, "What do you want me to do for you?"
Job 42:1-6, 10-17
We learned two weeks ago in our lesson that Job is not simply a symbol of human suffering and the incredibly difficult challenge of staying in relationship with the sacred when our lives are so challenging...Job is meant to be an icon of both human struggle and faith. We may focus on the struggle - but the writers in scripture are pointing to the faith - stick with God and surrender our own ideas, plans and arguments as the "right" ones - and we will find nurture and fulfillment in our relationship with God. In a sermon entitled "Unplanned Change" we will consider the closing text in Job, where Job's humility - not his triumph - leads to a peaceful and prosperous close to his life. We are faced with a tough question in this text - is this about us, or really about God - where the "this" can be whatever we are working on - moving, ministry or our lives! Come join us for worship in the Chapel at 10AM this Sunday!
Rev. John H. Pomeroy
When people think about the teachings about money and the Bible, they often remember this particular story of Jesus telling the rich man to sell everything he owns; and then people seem to remember that Jesus also said that it would be easier for a camel to go through the eye of the needle than for someone rich to enter the kingdom of God. As perplexing as that saying is, the message is clear - if you are wealthy, heaven is elusive. Or so the Bible says. Or does it? A closer reading of this narrative is far more detailed and nuanced than the Reader's Digest version of it (remember that publication??!). If we look closer at the story there are many things going on - the desire to be good and in sync with one's teacher; Jesus' reading of the man and what was really haunting him (his love of money above all else); the teaching of Jesus about wealth (was it descriptive or prescriptive?); the assurance of Peter that if we sacrifice "stuff" we will be rewarded in other ways; and last but not least - the reminder that nothing is impossible for God. It's an important story to remember and ruminate on - I invited you to do so this week in preparation for worship on Sunday. And ask yourself - what would Jesus see in your life that is a stumbling block for you? It may or may not be money!!!
Hope to see you on Sunday!
-Rev. Marlene W. Pomeroy
Job 1:1, 2:1-10
The story of Job and his suffering for his faith is not only a religious tale but also a kind of cultural icon for the depth and extent of possible human struggle. We may be troubled by God "offering up" Job as one who cannot be broken, a "perfect" example of faith and integrity; clearly, the writers are anxious to make the contrast with anyone who would deny God for any amount of struggle or concern as dramatic as possible. Even those closest to Job recommend that he not stick with his allegiance to God and opt for relief from his pain. In a reflection entitled "Finding Joy" we will consider those things that we don't count as struggle because of our investment or commitment in an outcome. We all have persons and attachments that test our threshold of love - is it possible that one or more of those could offer joy when they are not put in jeopardy as with Job?! Join us for worship at 10AM in our Chapel this Sunday!
-Rev. John H. Pomeroy
The book of Esther in the Hebrew Bible comes up once every three years in the lectionary cycle of reading. It's an action packed story that takes up only seven pages in our pew Bible; yet Queen Esther's bravery and courage in speaking up is legendary and is the basis for the Jewish holiday of Purim which commemorates the saving of the Jewish people from Haman who was an advisor to the king. Esther and her predecessor Queen Vashti are two powerful women whose stories guide us then and now. I invite you to read it in advance of worship this week. Hope to see you Sunday at 10:00!!
Rev. Marlene W. Pomeroy