Jesus Behind You, Urging You Ahead?

“It takes faith to follow Jesus. It takes blind faith to go ahead of Jesus into the unknown. It takes irrepressible faith to walk down a road your feet have never walked before. It takes intrepid faith to look back over your shoulder and see Jesus…” urging you ahead. ~ MaryAnn McKibben Dana (preaching from Matthew 21:1-11)

MaryAnn packs a lot into her 9-minute Palm Sunday sermon HERE

A19: Palm/Passion Sunday, Year A (2020)

That image of Jesus sending us on ahead is captivating. On Palm Sunday he gives some instruction in sending them on ahead, but in other cases, not so much. We too can find ourselves questioning why we are moved to certain actions. The prayerful response is sometimes seemingly correct and sometimes a “suitable mistake.”

PRAYER: Creator God, in these days of challenge, help us to lead with loving kindness. May we follow where necessary and lead where possible, knowing that while we won’t always “succeed,” the result will be significant for your kingdom to come…

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!




HUMOR – Christian Playbook humor links


PRAYER OPPORTUNITIES:

  • For People Critically Ill, or Facing Great Uncertainty – from New Zealand Prayer Book (bottom of first page shown HERE)
  • Lenten Prayer by Rev. Dr. LP Jones: opportunities to read or listen

Lectionary Texts for Sunday, April 5, 2020:


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Zoomin’ in the midst of COVID-19 challenges…

We continue with the question: As we all grapple with the current social mandates, what new joys or purposes have we found ourselves focusing on?

Communicating seems to be an answer for many, at least based on some recent discussions. Old friends re-establishing contact after decades, grandchildren calling/texting their grandparents, etc.. A new-to-many product, Zoom**, has been a HUGE find, allowing people to see 1-100 friends/family/colleagues all at the same time!

In fact, Zoom has been useful for the MWPC worship team as we worship with the New England Club senior living community. Leaders connect using Zoom and then conference call in our senior members who do not necessarily have easy access to internet. While dealing with the usual “trials and tribulations” associated with new technology, this is allowing us to worship in spite of our isolation challenges. Maybe an opportunity for someone you know too? (user-friendly tips HERE for those less-technically oriented)

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!

** this is certainly not the only product being used for such purposes – FB, Google and many others provide products with similar capabilities




HUMOR – Christian Playbook humor links


PRAYER OPPORTUNITIES:

  • For People Critically Ill, or Facing Great Uncertainty – from New Zealand Prayer Book (bottom of first page shown HERE)
  • Lenten Prayer by Rev. Dr. LP Jones: opportunities to read or listen

Lectionary Texts for Sunday, April 5, 2020:


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Stir Up One Another…

Last posting the question was: As we all grapple with the current social mandates, what new joys or purposes have we found ourselves focusing on?

Hebrews 10:21-25 comes to mind, including:

“As for me and my Christian community, we will consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, but encouraging one another, and all the more as we see the day drawing near.” ~ FATHERS Team signal, substituting “Christian community” for “fellow Fathers” (based on Hebrews 10:25)

The Life Application Study Bible says this about Hebrews 10:25: “Difficulties should never be excuses for missing church services. Rather, as difficulties arise, we should make an even greater effort to be faithful in attendance.”

So… if you want to worship and you are isolating during this COVID-19 situation, we are listing streaming worship HERE. In spite of these difficulties, we will worship the Lord!!!

In fact, some senior living facilities are using phone-in worship approaches. More on that soon…

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!



HUMOR – Christian Playbook humor links including these two recent comics


PRAYER OPPORTUNITIES:

  • For People Critically Ill, or Facing Great Uncertainty – from New Zealand Prayer Book (bottom of first page shown HERE)
  • Lenten Prayer by Rev. Dr. LP Jones: opportunities to read or listen

Lectionary Texts for Sunday, April 5, 2020:


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Adaptations…

Wow, what a whirlwind of activity the past few weeks have brought for our globe. One of the leaders of our New England Club worship team suggested the following theme for tomorrow’s 4 PM worship:

As we all grapple with the current social mandates, what new joys or purposes have we found ourselves focusing on?

How would you answer that one?

Is there a particular scripture that relates? If so and you’re willing to share with your Christian Playbook community, please send those along to salong_now@ yahoo.com.

Tune in for those, coming soon (my scripture verses are Hebrews 10:21-25 with a nod to FATHERS Team plus the new-to-me product, Zoom…)

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!


HUMOR – Christian Playbook humor links including these two recent comics


PRAYER OPPORTUNITIES:

  • For People Critically Ill, or Facing Great Uncertainty – from New Zealand Prayer Book (bottom of first page shown HERE)
  • Lenten Prayer by Rev. Dr. LP Jones: opportunities to read or listen

Lectionary Texts for Sunday, March 29, 2020:


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On Eagle’s Wings…

“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” ~ Isaiah 40:31 King James Version

Waiting upon the Lord. Hmmm… not necessarily a strength for a good number of us. But maybe, just maybe, right now while so many of us are in isolation we are renewing our strength for all the opportunities to follow?

The renewal imagery from Isaiah 41 finds its way into the song On Eagle’s Wings, written by Jan Michael Joncas.  This song couples a beautiful tune with marvelous words from several Biblical locations: Isaiah 40:31, Psalm 91:4 and Deuteronomy 32:11 (more details and background HERE) You can listen to Josh Groban singing On Eagle’s Wings HERE

As we live into the pandemic and its aftermath, may the shelter, care, energy and more from our God help carry us to new heights!

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!


HUMOR – Christian Playbook humor links


PRAYER OPPORTUNITIES:

  • For People Critically Ill, or Facing Great Uncertainty – from New Zealand Prayer Book (bottom of first page shown HERE)
  • Lenten Prayer by Rev. Dr. LP Jones: opportunities to read or listen

Lectionary Texts for Sunday, March 29, 2020:


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Lamenting…

Our God, our God, why have you forsaken us? Why are you seemingly so far from saving us, from the words of our groaning? O God, we cry by day, but it appears you do not answer  ~ Psalm 22:1-2 (with alterations)

One definition of lament is “To grieve audibly; wail.” This CAC summary and the accompanying Lamentation Practice in a Time of Crisis (HERE) share plenty of good thoughts and facts.

PRACTICE: Perhaps this is the day to try out the “Lamentation Practice in a Time of Crisis” (HERE)?

PRAYER:  God, things seem to be whirling out of control. In the midst of this whirlwind, restore us to a better place, with you in the center. We trust you and know that when things slow down, the “new normal” will involve you and an exciting next chapter in our journey together.

PROSE: Consider reading And The People Stayed Home – nice perspective!

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!


HUMOR – we sometimes lament our bloopers… some from the Johnny Carson show are HERE including this one


PRAYER OPPORTUNITIES:

  • For People Critically Ill, or Facing Great Uncertainty – from New Zealand Prayer Book (bottom of first page shown HERE)
  • Lenten Prayer by Rev. Dr. LP Jones: opportunities to read or listen

Lectionary Texts for Sunday, March 29, 2020:


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Ready to Wade?

God’s a gonna’ trouble the water…           

Lyrics from Wade in the Water provide quite a visual. “See that band all dressed in _____” … white for Israelites, red for those Moses led, etc.

The concept of wading in the water is not always a positive one or a guarantee of an easy life, is it? Avoiding slave catchers comes to mind in particular. Less negative examples like the Red Sea, Jordan River and baptismal waters still have associated challenges (HERE is a little Wikipedia history if you’re interest in more.)

ACTION: Consider listening to traditional versions of Wade in the Water or those with WitW influences

  • Sistah Lala’s “Troubled Waters” version is HERE – a really nice combination of traditional and faith-filled message in this one
  • Chapel Folk’s “Wade in the Water – a Stoned version” is HERE
  • A few more traditional versions HERE

Ready to “wade in the water” today? [at least figuratively, if not literally? ]

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!


WORSHIP SERVICES ONLINE: Click HERE for a few options

P.S. More of the neighborhood sidewalk art below (and HERE if you missed it the other day)  Thanks neighbors!

Thanks Neighbors! <3

HUMOR SECTION: With our water theme today, maybe you’ll want to watch some “Water Falls” AFHV videos HERE?

PRAYER OPPORTUNITIES:

  • For People Critically Ill, or Facing Great Uncertainty – from ANZPB (bottom of first page shown HERE)
  • Lenten Prayer by Rev. Dr. LP Jones: opportunities to read or listen

Lectionary Texts for Sunday, March 22, 2020:


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Where once there was darkness … light!

“For once you were darkness, but now in the Lord you are light. Live as children of light – for the fruit of the light is found in all that is good and right and true.” ~ Ephesians 5:8-9

Being in darkness is part of the human condition. While striving to live in the light, the Ephesians were a work-in-progress. Paul was encouraging them, but it was likely pretty stressful.

Stress was prevalent in our lives long before COVID-19 arose. Add in the isolation and other negative aspects of this pandemic and is there any wonder that stress levels might rise?

THIS two-pager called “5 Things You Should Know About Stress” suggests 1: Stress affects everyone. 2: Not all stress is bad. 3: Long-term stress can harm your health. 4: There are ways to manage stress. 5: If you’re overwhelmed by stress, ask for help from a health professional.

With an action focus on #4 above – including some of their suggestions – here are some Christian Playbook adaptations for dealing with stress:

  • Would it surprise you to have us say “follow the Christian Playbook?” Time spent with a focus on God in devotionals, praying, music, study and sharing love really brightens the day! Loads of good materials available on the Christian Playbook website!
  • Exercise for 30 minutes per day
  • Consider meditation or breathing exercises at regular times. A FREE session is HERE
  • Set goals and priorities by deciding what must get done now and what can wait
  • Stay connected with people who can provide emotional support and practical help – call a friend or family member every day
  • Avoid the urge to follow the 24/7 news cycle!!
  • Enjoy the hours of light-hearted material available for FREE on YouTube – a few examples are HERE in this CP playlist, including Johnny Carson and Betty White as Adam & Eve HERE
  • Listen to calming music (many Christian songs HERE)

PRAYER: God, our prayers rise up to you for those feeling toxic stress in these challenging days. Be with them and with the family members and mental health care professionals working with them. May the peace that passeth all understanding be with us all, this day and always…

POSSIBLE ACTION: Consider sharing this email/post with someone who might appreciate receiving the support during these stressful days

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!

While finishing thoughts on this posting, the opportunity for one last walk for the day brought me to sidewalk art just down the street, including this one (see more of their artwork HERE)  Thanks neighbors!

Thanks neighbors!  <3

PRAYER OPPORTUNITIES:

  • For People Critically Ill, or Facing Great Uncertainty – from ANZPB (bottom of first page shown HERE)
  • Lenten Prayer by Rev. Dr. LP Jones: opportunities to read or listen

Lectionary Texts for Sunday, March 22, 2020:


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Promise and Peril…

HERE is an interview with Krista Tippett talking about “reverence of  faith” and the “promise and peril” of spiritual being. We pick up in the middle of the interview and she covers this in just a minute or so of the discussion (the YouTube should start at these items and you can always “rewind” if you want to listen to the entire interview.)

Especially with COVID-19 in our world now, it’s good to hear Krista’s discussion of faith “when nothing makes sense, where we don’t have the answers.” And that we live into this uncertainty, breathing, praying and trusting…

May our words share that same comforting faith with those around us!

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!


NATURE: Black Bears information HERE from Cincinnati Zoo

HUMOR: Some America’s Funniest Home Videos about bears HERE

PRAYER OPPORTUNITIES:

  • For People Critically Ill, or Facing Great Uncertainty – from ANZPB (bottom of first page shown HERE)
  • Lenten Prayer by Rev. Dr. LP Jones: opportunities to read or listen

Lectionary Texts for Sunday, March 22, 2020:


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Becoming Wise (Krista Tippett) …

A couple years back, several from our church were blessed to see/hear the author of Becoming Wise, Krista Tippett. During our time together, Krista mentioned this usual first question for her interview settings (paraphrased here from p. 22 in Becoming Wise):

could you please describe the religious or spiritual background of your childhood?

How would you answer that question?

Krista gave a really nice talk and impressed many of us even more with her thoughtful answers during the Q&A session, including describing the goal of creating a hospitable space. That certainly applies for our discussions with one another … and maybe also with God!?!

POSSIBLE ACTIONS: 1) pose Krista’s question to one of your closest friends to see their response; 2) consider how you might make an even more hospitable space for God in your daily life

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit (and lots of hospitable spaces!)


HUMOR: Check out these “Baby Gorillas Being Naughty” videos

PRAYER OPPORTUNITIES:

  • For People Critically Ill, or Facing Great Uncertainty – from ANZPB (bottom of first page shown HERE)
  • Lenten Prayer by Rev. Dr. LP Jones: opportunities to read or listen

Lectionary Texts for Sunday, March 22, 2020:


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