Sunday, March 27, 2016


The celebration of Holy Week draws near.  I am especially excited that we will have baptisms at both our services (!) on Easter Sunday, along with all the wonderful music and celebrations you have planned. 

He came to his own … John’s Gospel relates a story of Easter morning, the First Day, when a grieving Mary Magdalene discovers an empty tomb.  In her, anxiousness and fear she fails to recognize the One, standing in her midst.  Then he calls her by name and she experiences the overwhelming joy of recognizing the risen Christ.  John’s Gospel also tells us of the advent of this One … “He came to his own, but his own did not know him.”  The clarion call of Easter is for people of faith to recognize Christ in the midst of the world today, in all the ways he comes to us in the Resurrection.  He is calling us by name.  God is with us!  Christ is alive!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Palm Sunday
Sunday, March 20, 2016

Jesus is ushered into Jerusalem on a donkey with the people praising him and waving palm branches.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Imagine there's no heaven, no hell, no countries, no religion.

No need for greed or hunger - A brotherhood of man.

John Lennon was definitely anti-establishment, anti-religion and anti-belief systems. Yet this song still resonates with young and old. I may be showing my "pastor" sentiments, but this song is affirming to me. To imagine faith and service, peace and goodness being present without being a reward for good behavior or an insurance policy for getting into heaven - is affirming. What if we all loved one another and shared and were good to one another and creation just - because. 

27"Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 28"But if God so clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you?                            Luke 12:27-28

In his "Last interview: All We Are Saying - John Lennon & Yoko Ono, conducted by David Sheff, London 2000," Lennon explained of the lyrics in this way; "It is the concept of positive prayer. If you could imagine a world peace with no denominations or religion ... not without religion but without this my-god-is-bigger-than-your-god thing..."

So I found this quote about the Beatles and their faith: "In 1980, Lennon had moved from proudly stating that they were more popular than Jesus, to humbly saying: "I'm a most religious fellow ... I was brought up a Christian, and I only now understand some of the things that Christ was saying in those parables." As a young man, George Harrison wrote, "I want to find God. I'm not interested in material things, this world, fame - I'm going for the real goal." Later in life, Ringo Starr said, "For me, God is in my life. I don't hide from that." In the 1990s, Paul McCartney said, "I'm not religious, but I'm very spiritual." He prayed for his wife when she was having trouble giving birth to their daughter, and his 2001 song "Freedom" spoke of freedom as "a right given by God."" (  

Prayer for Imagining...God of all, live in us fully so that we might mirror your grace, mercy and goodness because we cannot help ourselves. Let joy and love be natural to our days and let us imagine your kingdom come. Amen.

Listen to"Imagine," by John Lennon.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Sunday, March 13:  

We complete our series on Prophetic Voices as we see the culmination of the prophets’ vision of a reconciled world, humanity redeemed and restored.

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth …”  Thus begins the passage in Revelation (21:1) that is among the most hopeful and inspiring in all of Scripture!  It speaks of a great redemption accomplished, of a great deliverance into a new day.  It’s not a vision of things beyond this world, this life.  It’s not a foreshadowing of a great struggle yet to come, but a celebration of victory already achieved.  It’s not a story of the end of all things, but of the beginning. The same prophets who warn us of the consequences of un-repented action or inaction, the same prophets who have endured the exile and wandered the wilderness with us, the same ones who have lifted our eyes in hope to new possibility, now proclaim a new revelation of God:  the vision of God realized – God’s kingdom come, on earth. Here is a bulletin cover image.  Sermon and reflection slides are attached. Below are a Prayer of the Day and Readings.  *** Please note the revised Gospel reading for the day.

It is a blessing to make this Lenten journey together!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Songs of Change - Human Dignity
"One bright sunny morning

 in the shadow of the steeple,
 by the relief office
 I saw my people.
 As they stood there hungry, 
I stood there wondering
 if God blessed America for me." 
  ~Woody Guthrie

Woody Guthrie was raised amidst the vast economic disparities and prejudices of the Great Depression, the "dust bowl days."  As he said in his autobiography, "Bound for Glory," he never could reconcile the word of God he heard on Sundays as a kid in Okemah, OK, with the harsh realities of life he experienced traveling around the country seeking work.  Poor people were commodities, valued only for their labor, and undervalued for that. People of color were not true citizens, or even completely human, as some would argue.  Children were expendable. While an elite minority continued to flourish, he saw the mass of humanity struggling and suffering.  It didn't square with the words of the prophet: "My house is to be a house of prayer for all people."  All people.
"How precious is your steadfast love, O God!" the Psalmist said.  "All people may take refuge in the shadow of your wings." (Psalm 36:7)  For Woody, "all" meant all.  Everyone, regardless of race or economics or any other factor used to divide and denigrate.  He wrote "This Land is Your Land" as a "howdy," he said, to every itinerant family and migrant worker and day laborer and job seeker and beggar as a way of saying God loved 'em and that this land - God's house, God's promise - was theirs as much as anyone else's.  
~Pr. Brad

This Land is Your Land
A prayer for today ... 
God of creation, you are the God of all people in every place and time.  Set us free from the sense of scarcity, or of fear, or of ownership and exclusivity, that keeps us from realizing your dream of whole, human community.  Free us to value every human being as your child, your creation, and to honor you in the way we treat them.  Amen

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Sunday, March 6, 2016
Voices of Hope
“I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord,” through the prophet Jeremiah,  “to give you a future with hope.”  Prophets are Spirit-driven to speak God’s truth into the situations and circumstances of life.  Their words are swords that cut through confusion and resistance to the heart of reality.  Yet they are not voices of condemnation only but, most profoundly, voices of hope.  Just as surely as they name the tragic outcomes of separation from God, they are quick to proclaim God’s faithfulness and God’s longing for reconciliation, for unity.  The prophets of the fall and exile are also the prophets of redemption and return.

This Sunday we focus on prophetic voices of hope.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Songs of Change - Creation Care

"From the greatness and beauty  
of created things comes a corresponding perception of their Creator."    

~  Wisdom of Solomon 13:2

click here to listen to the service  From our earliest times as sentient beings, humanity has found divinity in nature.  All creation bears the imprint of the Creator.  In the majestic story of creation in Genesis, God speaks the world into being in all its wonder: earth and sea, sky and all life. "The heavens declare the glory of God," the Psalmist says, "the skies proclaim the work of his hands" (Psalm 19:1).Wisdom says that the greatness and beauty of creation reveals the greatness and beauty of the Creator.  

And then God places all of it - water, air, land and life - into our hands!  God places all creation into our care!  All of the wonder of God's handiwork is placed under our stewardship. What an astounding gift!  What an almost daunting responsibility. To care for creation is to care for the beauty and majesty of God expressed in nature!   Over time, we have done both well and poorly in upholding this sacred commission and trust.  We have struggled with the desire for industrial and economic growth and the adverse effects of degradation and pollution of our water, air, land and climate. 

In the rush of expansion and development, the prophetic voice of Cat Stevens asks the simple, profound question:  "Where do the children play?"  What kind of environmental legacy are we leaving in our wake?  How have we kept faith with the God to whom creation belongs?
Pastor Brad
Where Do the Children Play? 
A prayer for today ... God of all creation, call us to account for our care for your world. Help us to work for balance between the needs of people and the integrity of nature. Teach us that as we care for your world, we care for you.  Amen

All are Welcome!