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“Psalm 23…Redux”
By Carla A. Grosch-Miller

This I know:
my life is in Your hands.
I have nothing to fear.
I stop, breathe, listen.
Beneath the whirl of what is
is a deep down quiet place.
You beckon me to tarry there.
This is the place where unnamed hungers are fed,
the place of clear water, refreshment.
My senses stilled, I drink deeply,
at home in timeless territory.
In peril, I remember:
Death’s dark vale holds no menace.
I lean into You; Your eternal presence comforts me.
I am held tenderly.
In the midst of all that troubles,
that threatens and diminishes,
You set abundance before me.
You lift my head; my vision clears.
The blessing cup overflows.
This I know:
You are my home and my hope,
my strength and my solace,
and so shall You ever be.

These words speak to me right now…words of home and hope, of strength and solace, of comfort and abundance, of refreshment and blessing. They are inspired by the familiar and beloved 23rd Psalm, reimagined for our time, and fitting for this time of re-opening after Covid.

Sixteen months ago, we sent out our first issue of Weekly Words, seeking to find ways for us to connect, console and encourage one another while we had to remain apart. It now seems like a good time to bring this particular ministry to a close. We will soon begin sending out The Tie again, and we are now gathering for worship on Sunday mornings (if you have been vaccinated, masks are optional; if not, we encourage you to wear them). As for our faith, it shall ever be.

With words of gratitude beyond measure, I thank you for staying with us to share this journey. And in your own time, in good time, in God’s time, I’ll see you in church…

Pastor Claudine

A Summer Prayer

May you breathe in the beauty of summer with its power of transformation.
May this beauty permeate all that feels un-beautiful in you.
May the God of summer give us beauty.

May you seek and find spaces of repose during these summer months.
May these moments refresh and restore the tired places within you.
May the God of summer give us rest.

May you be open to times of celebration and recreation
that are so much a part of summer.
May you find happiness in these times of play and leisure.
May the God of summer give us joy.

May your eyes see the wonders of summer’s colors.
May these colors delight you and entice you into contemplation and joy.
May the God of summer give us inner light.

May you feel the energy of summer rains penetrating
thirsty gardens, golf courses, lawns and farmlands.
May these rains remind you that your inner thirst needs quenching.
May your inner self be refreshed, restored, and renewed.
May the God of summer give us what we need for healing.

May you savor the fresh produce that comes to your table
and enjoy the fruits of summer’s bounty.
May the God of summer give us a sense of satisfaction
in the work of our hands.

May you find shelter
when the stormy skies of summer threaten your safety.
May the God of summer give us shelter
when inner storms threaten our peace of mind and heart.

May you enjoy the unexpected and find surprises of beauty and happiness
as you travel the roads on summer vacation.
May the God of summer lead us to amazing discoveries
as we travel the inner roads of our soul as well.

(Written by Joyce Rupp and Macrina Wiederkehr)

The Fruits of the Spirit

Surprising One, coming in ways I least expect,
open me to your dynamic presence.
Awaken me, Surprising One!

Perceptive Guide, always available to direct my ways,
advise me in self-discipline and decision-making.
Awaken me, Perceptive Guide!

Freedom Bringer, asking for my willingness to surrender,
help me to let go, to let in, to let be.
Awaken me, Freedom Bringer!

Source of Power, providing stamina and strength for my soul,
support me when I am weak and vulnerable.
Awaken me, Source of Power!

Arousing One, stirring up what is dead or stale,
urge my stagnant sleeping gifts into life.
Awaken me, Arousing One!

Divine Transformer, encouraging continued growth,
grant me both patience and acceptance.
Awaken me, Divine Transformer!

Peacemaker, offering forgiveness and understanding,
encourage me to communicate with love.
Awaken me, Peacemaker!

Bearer of Love, never-ending font of charity and compassion,
may I share my goodness generously.
Awaken me, Bearer of Love!

(Written by Joyce Rupp)

Gathered now in person and in spirit as our church continues to greet this season of Pentecost, let us all be surprised, guided and freed. Let us be strengthened, awakened and transformed. Let us make peace and let us bear love in all that we do and say, together and apart.

Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on us…Pastor Claudine

The Day of Pentecost

O Holy One,
we gather to rediscover fire –
kindled by an ember
that flew from the great radiance,
Love’s bright beginning
in time and space –
flaming forth now in us.
May our own Spirit-fanned words
and thoughts of our hearts
become love’s flames,
tongues of forgiveness,
sentences of justice,
declaring the good news:
that Wisdom burns in the hearts
of this cosmic adventure.
Pour our Pentecostal blessing upon us;
transform our babbling
into a syntax of blessing,
a proclamation that the world
is ablaze with your glory,
and that all creation is awaiting
our arrival as your sons and daughters –
fire, now shape-shifted
into conscious future-forgers –
willing to reveal and realize
the kin-dom of God.
(Excerpt from “If Darwin Prayed” By Bruce Sanguin)

Now I can say it! As we begin gathering THIS Sunday in our sanctuary, following the recording of sixty-three worship services, together we will rediscover fire, and I imagine it will be the fire of friendships renewed, church family restored, community of faith revived, and future reborn…

In the Book of Acts we read, “When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.” While we will not all be together this week as many will still worship from home, we will surely be blessed together, ablaze with glory, wisdom and love. We will continue to follow the guidelines adopted by the council. Feel free to wear red for the flames of the Spirit!

As daughters and sons of the living God, all creation awaits our arrival…Pastor Claudine