PREVIOUS MUSINGS FROM THE PASTOR
MUSINGS FROM PASTOR JAN:
HIT THE 'PAUSE BUTTON'
October 13, 2020
“Never tire of loyalty and kindness.
Hold these virtues tightly. Write them deep within your heart.” – Proverbs 3:3
In these heated days of political maneuvering, character assassination, and mudslinging, it does my “heart” good to be reminded of how we are called to treat each other as we follow Jesus.
Our faith (loyalty to God) and kindness (shown to all others) seem to be a great starting point!
When we are tempted to respond in kind to negative campaigns and to self-appointed political sages (who may be some of our closest friends), hit the “pause button.” Listen first to your heart in remembering your loyalty to a loving God.
"Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace."
– Ephesians 4:2-3
MUSINGS FROM PASTOR JAN:
THINK ON GOOD THINGS
October 6, 2020
In a time when our nation and the world are in real need of encouragement, hope, kindness and generosity, let us model a different way of living! Let us be hope-bearers! Let us offer compassion and love to all. Let us be the Light of the World.
Let the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts… be pleasing in God’s sight!
October 1, 2020
We’ve all been there…a time or place when life has seemed out of sorts: unpleasant, uncomfortable, full of trials or snags along the path. Or how about when what we’re about suddenly shifts, leaving us feeling uncertain, unsteady, and possibly in danger? Our faith speaks to these times as wilderness experiences when the pleasant and familiar conditions of life are unable to be enjoyed, or may be altogether absent and we are left with little encouragement.
The scriptures are filled with stories of “wilderness experiences” where people have wandered around the desert, the foothills or the mountains in times of uncertainty. The Israelites wandered for 40 years in the desert after leaving Egypt. Jesus traveled into the wilderness of Judea and spent forty days in seclusion, and, throughout his adult life, often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer and fasting. The Apostle Paul, who, following his conversion, disappeared into the desert for three years, during which time the Holy Spirit instructed him in the ways of God.
In each of the wilderness experiences, God continued providing all that was needed for survival, minus of course, the familiarity and luxuries of “home.”
In these days of Covid19 we find ourselves in unfamiliar territory, a wilderness of sorts. Many of the “givens” of our lives have changed..causing us to “wander” in different ways. Family gatherings and crowd events have all but disappeared. Masking for all social outings has become the required norm. Businesses and churches conduct meetings through computer chats and children are adapting to hybrid school instruction. Vacations have been cancelled or have been significantly altered in scope and venue. The medical field continues evolving in new and different ways. Weddings and funerals have been postponed for a later time. It’s hard not to feel disoriented, discouraged, weary.
But there has always been Good News from wilderness experiences! We are (just as the biblical characters were) sustained by the God who stays with us all the way, no matter how hungry, how difficult, how weak, how lost we become. It’s the place where we learn things about ourselves and take on new perspectives of life. The wilderness offers us a chance to be restored by God if we wait, watch and listen. We may even find a land flowing with milk and honey when we finally reach the other side.
I take heart in Isaiah’s words: “Do not call to mind the former things; pay no attention to the things of old. Behold, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it? Indeed, I will make a way in the wilderness and streams in the desert..."
"O precious child of God, God will work a new way for you, for our God is faithful!"
THE “INNER ELDER”
by Pastor Jan
September 22, 2020
Maria Harris, renowned speaker and author, writes of the importance of discovering our “inner elder”. She encourages us to pay attention to our own insights as we grow older – wisdom that we’ve earned and learned.
I asked the “Fellowship Group” that meets on Wednesday evenings, via Zoom, to share some of their thoughts on their “inner elder” wisdom. Here are a few “gems” from those reflections:
I’ve learned how to be a good listener, that is, how to respect opinions that I don’t necessarily agree with.
When I was a young mother, I didn’t understand the loneliness or the feelings of our aging parents. Busy raising children and being a devoted wife, I was unaware of how it feels to want to see your grandchildren and to be involved in their lives.
I learned that my mother was “smart”. I just didn’t know it when I was younger.
Relationships take work and are worth the investment (even when you sometimes need to overlook differences).
Reckoning with your own age can be difficult. Time is always of the essence.
I have yet to learn the things I most need to learn.
Keep the balance between work and family. A lot of things that you accomplish at work won’t matter in the long run; your family matters for a lifetime.
I’m learning that applying “Sunday School” lessons from childhood aren’t as simple as they once appeared. I become disillusioned with the divide between biblical teachings and how the world really works.
What wisdom is your “inner elder” providing?
You have taught me since I was a child, and I never stop telling about your marvelous deeds.
Don’t leave me when I am old and my hair turns gray.
Let me tell future generations about your mighty power.
Your deeds of kindness are known in the heavens.
No one is like you!
— Psalm 71:17-19
AN INVITATION… TO YOUR HOUSE BLESSING!
by Pastor Jan
September 22, 2020
Each of us has a place we call home - that place where we find shelter, comfort and rest for a new day. Today I invite you to offer a prayer for the space that you claim as “home”.
Light a candle, dim the lights, and take notice for a few minutes, of the comforts surrounding you. Offer this or another prayer of blessing:
May God bless this house and everyone within it. May it become a home, filled with love and generous welcome to all who enter into its space.
May family and friends not only find warm hospitality, but also peace and contentment within these walls.
May all who seek nourishment of any kind, be nourished.
May this be a place where happiness, growth and refreshment reside.
And we pray that the Lord bless this shelter and protect all who dwell and visit here. Amen
A BLESSING ON YOUR DAY!
Shared by Pastor Jan
September 14, 2020
When the noise and haste surround you and threaten to take you hostage, may God’s gentle voice soothe you and guide you to a place of quiet strength;
When the days seem cold and dark, and the nights unbelievably long, may God’s smile illumine and warm you from within;
When you feel alone and dismal, may God send someone to you with a daisy.
May all creation sing around you; And may the weeds of despair turn into flowers wherever you walk.
— Katie Cook