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“Awaken Me”

Risen One,
come, meet me
in the garden of my life.

Lure me into elation.
Revive my silent hope.
Coax my dormant dreams.
Raise up my neglected gratitude.
Entice my tired enthusiasm.
Give life to my faltering relationships.
Roll back the stone of my indifference.
Unwrap the deadness in my spiritual life.
Impart heartiness in my work.

Risen One,
send me forth
as a disciple of your unwavering love,
a messenger
of your unlimited joy.

Resurrected One,
may I become
ever more convinced
that your presence lives on,
and on, and on,
and on.

Awaken me!
Awaken me!

-Joyce Rupp

In this season of Easter, I wish for you unlimited joy even in the midst of unending heartache, and I thank you for being messengers of unwavering love even in the uncertainties of life.

May the blessings of hope and possibility rise within you each day…Pastor Claudine

Holy Week

Holy is the week…
Holy, consecrated, belonging to God…
We move from hosannas to horror
with the predictable ease
of those who know not what they do.
Our hosannas sung,
our palms waved,
let us go with passion into this week.
It is a time to curse fig trees that do not yield fruit.
It is a time to cleanse our temples of any blasphemy.
It is a time to greet Jesus as the Lord’s Anointed One,
to lavishly break our alabaster
and pour perfume out for him
without counting the cost.
It is a time for preparation…
The time to give thanks and break bread is upon us.
The time to give thanks and drink of the cup is imminent.
Eat, drink, remember:
On this night of nights, each one must ask,
as we dip our bread in the wine,
“Is it I?”
And on that darkest of days,
each of us must stand
beneath the tree
and watch the dying
if we are to be there
when the stone is rolled away.
The only road to Easter morning
is through the unrelenting shadows of that Friday.
Only then will the alleluias be sung;
only then will the dancing begin.

-Ann Weems

As we journey through this Holy Week, may our hearts be woven together in unity and love, and as we walk with Jesus in sorrow, may we prepare to greet God in joy…Pastor Claudine

As we complete our journey through Lent, we use our senses to reflect on the events of Jesus’ life and death, also called the Passion, and we imagine our final gathering for Bread and Broth. We are invited to think on these weekly words and watch the video message on our website.

Taste (Taste and See)

Today we consider the gift of taste.
Imagine the taste of the meal we share…the soup, the bread, a fresh cup of water.
Imagine the taste of sweetness in the air as we sense the feel of spring around us.
Imagine the taste of hardship we experience, the things that leave a bitter taste in our mouths.
Imagine the taste of normal as we begin to move slowly, safely out of this pandemic time.
Imagine the taste of generosity as we make gifts to the America for Christ Offering.
Imagine the taste of love as we lift prayer concerns of the church family.
Perhaps Portia Freeman makes Corn Chowder, or Drew Wesche makes Broccoli Cheddar soup.
Perhaps Belle Jordan and Richard Tourjee make chicken vegetable soup.
Perhaps Mei Ling Liu and Go Tuang bring a variety of Panera breads for us to share.
Imagine the taste of grace and gratitude in our blessing…O taste and see that the Lord is good.

Think of the life and ministry of Jesus through the gift of taste…
the land of milk and honey promised to Israel, the vision of a fig tree for every person;
the water changed to wine at the wedding in Cana, the loaves and fishes that fed five thousand;
the taste of freedom and forgiveness offered to the last, the least, and the lost among us;
the taste of abundance and goodness in all of God’s promises and blessings;
the taste of broken bread and shared cup at the last supper;
the bitter cup of suffering Jesus was asked to drink, the sour wine offered by the soldiers,
the final words he uttered from the cross…I am thirsty.
Taste can be good or bad, sweet or sour; it can bring delight or disgust, joy or regret;
it can lead to compassion when we get a taste of another person’s sorrow and struggle.
How do we taste and see that God is good? How do we get a taste of hope on Easter morning?

God and creator of all we taste,
Let us use this gift to appreciate the blessings you have given us.
Help us to share our enjoyment of the gifts of food and drink.
Let us celebrate the range of tastes we encounter
in different cultures and cuisines.
Help us to remember that our taste it not the only one.
Dare us to widen our experience of the richness you offer through the range of your people.
May we also use this sense of taste to ease the bitterness of others.
We ask this through the lover of all and the giver of comfort,
Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
(By Kevin Scully)

As we continue our journey through Lent, we use our senses to reflect on the events of Jesus’ life and death, also called the Passion, and once again we imagine gathering for Bread and Broth. We are invited to think on these weekly words and watch the video message on our website.

Touch (Who Touched Me)
Taste (Taste and See that the Lord is good)

Today we consider the gift of touch. Imagine the feel of the door handle as you enter the building, your hands reaching into pockets and purses for the money you’ll put into the basket for our America for Christ offering. Imagine making contact with church members…shaking hands, holding hands, and giving hugs. Imagine pulling out a chair to sit down at the table, reaching for the Table Talk sheet, lifting the soup spoon, using your napkin, passing the bread and pouring cups of water. Imagine the feel of your hands folded in prayer as we share concerns of the church family. Perhaps Sue Shontell makes Loaded Potato soup, or Barbara Brant makes Stuffed Pepper soup. Perhaps Rick Tourjee makes Chili, or Marilyn Baird makes Chicken Tortilla soup. Perhaps Candy Zeppieri and Carolyn Land bring a variety of breads for the meal. Think of the words of blessing from a hymn: “Here would I touch and handle things unseen.”

Think of the ministry of Jesus and how it must have felt…touching the outcast in healing and mercy, washing the feet of his disciples in service and love; breaking bread, casting nets, and blessing children; calming a storm with his hand. Think of his wrists bound in captivity, his face kissed in betrayal, his body nailed to a cross. Touch can bring pleasure or pain; it can be welcomed or unwanted; it can heal or hurt. Touch can be healthy or inappropriate, intimate or intrusive, safe or deadly, gentle or firm. Where do we most feel the hand of God in our lives? And how can we touch others with grace?

God, we thank you for the gift of touch.
We thank you for the opportunity
to give and receive through our hands, our bodies.
We thank you for the ability to communicate
in ways that need no words or sounds.
God who touches us, give us that sense
which leads us to closer contact with you.
May we use this gift of touch to reassure, to assist, to guide.
Nudge us, urge us, shove us along the path
on which we can feel your presence.
May our hands feel for you. May our lips smile for you.
May our muscles move for you. May our bodies speak for you
the language of love. Amen.
(By Kevin Scully)