Blog
Daily Devotion – December 13, 2017
12.13.17

Psalm 126: A Harvest of Joy

When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,

   we were like those who dream.

Then our mouth was filled with laughter,

   and our tongue with shouts of joy;

then it was said among the nations,

   ‘The Lord has done great things for them.’

The Lord has done great things for us,

   and we rejoiced.

Restore our fortunes, O Lord,

   like the watercourses in the Negeb.

May those who sow in tears

   reap with shouts of joy.

Those who go out weeping,

   bearing the seed for sowing,

shall come home with shouts of joy,

   carrying their sheaves.

 

Reflection by Janet Derby

 

“The chickens have come home to roost”. My grandmother used to say this, referring to one of her daughters-in-law (though not my mom). My sisters and I never knew what it was about, but understood that for some reason, our aunt was reaping a penalty for a prior transgression. Don’t we all wish at times for that to be true? That we can be sure that there is justice in the universe? Even more, we wish that those who have suffered through rough times are blessed with good things. That the lucky lottery winner is someone who has had a difficult time making ends meet. That our Family Promise guests will be able to move into permanent homes. The psalmist recalls times God has restored the fortunes of the people and sees a future where God will do so again. During the Advent season, when we are caught up in the busyness of life, we too would do well to recall God’s healing touch and have faith that all who struggle will reap joy.

 

Prayer:

Giving God,

Help us to see your work in the world and to anticipate with joy what you will continue to do in our lives. Amen.



Daily Devotion – December 11, 2017
12.11.17

Isaiah 61:8

For I the LORD love judgment, I hate robbery for burnt offering; and I will direct their work in truth, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.

Devotion by Laurie Spencer

Aware parents lay down the law to their children.  Mothers and fathers make it clear that their children will be judged by their behavior. Parents teach truth and expect sincerity and honesty in return. Fathers and mothers offer a love that is freely given. From birth to death and beyond.

Prayer

Let my prayers be not only petitions. Let my prayer time be a meditation on the relationship of the love of Father Mother God guiding me toward righteousness.  



Daily Devotion – December 8, 2017
12.10.17

Mark 1:4-8

John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. He proclaimed, ‘The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.’

Reflection by Duke Yaguchi

I was curious, so I did a search of baptism and baptize in the bible. I was surprised to see that the first accounts of baptism are of John the Baptist. I wonder if there were Baptists ahead of John? I guess someone had to be first. Who better than John?

So here is John, a little unkept, a little bit on the wild side, a little bit of an anti-establishment type. Yet, people were drawn to him. People were willing to wade into a river and be dunked by him in a new ritual. Why? Was it faith? Was it curiosity? Was it hope? Was it guilt?

I can’t speak for others, but I chose to be baptized as a public proclamation that I believe Jesus to be my savior. It was easy for me. Millions have gone before me. I hope millions will follow after me as well. How much more difficult it must have been for those first few hundred to be baptized!

Prayer

Dear God. Thank you for the believers who led before me. Thank you for the cleansing power of baptism. Thank you for the forgiveness of my sins. Amen.



Worship Cancelled 12/10/17

Due to inclement weather conditions, Sunday worship has been cancelled for both the 8:30 and 10:00 services.

 

The Congregational Meeting has been rescheduled following 10:00 worship on Sunday, December 17.

 

The Ornament Exchange, originally rescheduled for Sunday, December 10 at 4:30 has been postponed until further notice.

 

Please see the earlier email blast regarding the change with Family Promise Host week.



Daily Devotion – December 6, 2017
12.06.17

Isaiah 40:10-11
See, the Lord God comes with might,
and his arm rules for him;
his reward is with him,
and his recompense before him.
He will feed his flock like a shepherd;
he will gather the lambs in his arms,
and carry them in his bosom,
and gently lead the mother sheep.

 

Reflection by Lynne Buell

The time I spend preparing a devotion always provides me with a period of tranquility.  This morning I truly needed these moments because we are in the midst of Advent.  (sigh)

Right now, I’m calm.  After reading these lovely words and some of the commentaries on the internet, I feel relaxed and composed.  I am focused on the true meaning of Christmas.  I’m reminded of God’s love for us.  I have the assurance of guidance from the Holy Spirit.  The promise of hope, peace, love and joy while we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus.

 

Prayer:

Gracious God, help me to continue feeling tranquility and serenity during this busy time, and to never lose faith in your love for us.  Amen. 

 



Daily Devotion – December 4, 2017
12.05.17

Isaiah 40:6-8

 

A voice says, ‘Cry out!’

And I said, ‘What shall I cry?’

All people are grass,

their constancy is like the flower of the field.

The grass withers, the flower fades,

when the breath of the Lord blows upon it;

surely the people are grass.

The grass withers, the flower fades;

but the word of our God will stand for ever.

 

Devotion by Meg du Plooy

 

There are lots of things in life that are sure and certain – we need air to breathe, food and drink to live, the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. And human beings die. We live under the reality that our time will probably end long before time itself runs out. But Isaiah tells us the “word of our God will stand forever.”

 

There is power in the word of God. The power to transform our lives. The power to indict us for our complicity in the brokenness of the world. The power to release us into new life through the spoken and lived reality of the forgiveness of our sins, between us and God and us and one another. It is our compass and our hope.

 

Prayer:

 

Heavenly Father, keep us mindful of the brevity of life that we might make the most of each day that you give us. Keep us mindful as well of the eternal reach of your love and the promises you have graciously bestowed on us. Speak to us through your Word that we might speak words of encouragement and hope to others. Amen.



Daily Devotion – December 5, 2017

Isaiah 40:9

Get yourself up on a high mountain, O Zion, bearer of good news, Lift up your voice mightily, O Jerusalem, bearer of good news; Lift it up, do not fear. Say to the cities of Judah, “Here is your God!”

 

By Laurie Spencer

This verse sounded familiar the first time I read it. Then the musician in me stood at attention and I remembered this is the same verse from a beloved alto solo in Handel’s Messiah.  Handel uses the King James Version.

“O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion, get thee up into the high mountain; O thou that tellest good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah: Behold your God!”

One of my favorite ways to celebrate advent is to attend a Messiah sing-along.  Raising our voices in song can lift us above our cares, stresses and sorrows to a higher place.  It’s what keeps our lovely and talented PUCC choir working so diligently to learn the sacred music we hear each Sunday.  As they lift their voices, proclaiming God’s goodness, worship flows through their bodies and into ours.  And if we each stay aware, we float the song of God’s love right out the church doors and into the community each Sunday morning!

Here is a YouTube recording of famed Mezzo-Soprano Marilyn Horne singing these words from Isaiah 40:9. Just double click on this link (or control/click) and enjoy five minutes of someone who spent her whole life lifting-up her voice mightily.

 

    https://youtu.be/CSqNfnTAV3Q

 

 

Prayer

May we all find time to lift our voices high to the mountains to proclaim Gods goodness this advent season.



Daily Devotion – December 3, 2017
12.03.17

 

Isaiah 40:3-4

Listen! It’s the voice of someone shouting,

“Clear the way through the wilderness for the LORD!

Make a straight highway through the wasteland for our God!

Fill in the valleys, and level the mountains and hills.

Straighten the curves, and smooth out the rough places.”

 

Devotion by Chris Shiver

In my younger years my soul was like a wilderness or a wasteland, full of mountains, hills & valleys that I had built up, perhaps without realizing it, that were impediments to the spirit of God.  But as I became more involved and in relationship with spiritual people who were seeking and loving God, I did not realize that they were helping to make my wilderness more hospitable to the divine spirit.  Then one day the love of God provided through those caring people was enough to break through the final barriers & I knew that God was real & loved me for who I was, and that God could replace my wasteland with his kindom.  Now I know not only that I do not want to return to that barren place, but when possible I want to help others make a straight highway in their souls for God’s love.

 

My Prayer:

Jesus, I pray that I will always remember what it was like to be without an awareness of your love and care, and that each day I will try to help others to realize their need also for the divine spirit.   Amen.



Daily Devotion – December 2, 2017
Isaiah 40:1
Comfort, O comfort my people,
says your God.
 
Reflection by Janet Derby
 

As I head into a second (and in some ways, third) season of Advent which speaks more to me of a need for hope than a state of joy, these words are heartening. Advent, for all of us, can be a mix of emotions, including anticipation, stress, sorrow, and delight. During those times when we struggle, God sends comfort in many ways. It comes in memories, in reaching out to others, and in the support of people who share our concerns and love us. Sometimes the most difficult aspect to feeling comfort is that we are unaware of its availability. This Advent season, perhaps we can all open our lives to the lights in the darkness around us and be comforted.

 
Prayer:
Comforting God, thank you for all the ways you help us when we are down. Help us to be aware of those and to provide comfort for those around us. Amen.