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Jesus Gives the Gift of Life

Wendy Dorsey

August 8, 2021
     Psalm 78:23-29
     Exodus 16:2-15
     John 6:24-35
     Ephesians 4: 1-16

Zoom recording:

When I was thinking about the Scriptures you just heard today, I noticed that they are very aligned in their observation of human nature — which hasn’t much changed, it seems, over the past 2,000 years.  We humans tend to get demanding, jealous and ungrateful, especially when stressed!   Even when offered gifts, whether from God or our fellow human beings!   (As a 4 on the Enneagram, for those of you who have studied it, I think I understand the jealousy or envy that comes when someone is exercising their gift and I’m not “as good as” or as gifted at that person.  I may even understand the perfectionism that always notices what’s not there – or not good enough – and leads me to be ungrateful for what is).

The Israelites complain to Moses and Aaron, "if only we had died at the Lord’s hand in Egypt, where we sat around the fleshpots and had plenty of bread to eat!   But you have brought us out into this wilderness to let this whole assembly starve to death!"

Instead of being grateful for Moses and Aaron’s leadership out of the oppression they suffered in Egypt, they complain they have no meat!  Psalm 78 is a retelling of the story of Israel’s rebellion and complaints against God – told repeatedly, over and over again ad nauseum!   It says God was filled with fury and his “anger blazed up against Israel because they put no trust in God…” In the psalm (if you read further than today’s reading), God is repeatedly angered by the people who are in rebellion against him.  But God turns around again and again, and, like a human father with his complaining children, then acts with benevolence toward his spoiled offspring, granting them what they are demanding — “meat and sweets,” all for free.  They said the manna was like a honey wafer.  I probably would have told the people, “Eat prickly cacti – there’s plenty of that where you are there in the wilderness.” I guess God really wanted the children of Israel to survive — so the compassionate side of God, the merciful, forgiving side won out.

Your Strength Is Made Perfect in Weakness

Carol Martin

July 11, 2021
Texts: Mark 6:1-13
           2 Corinthians12:2-10

The lectionary scriptures this week, at least in the gospel and the epistle, are about embracing vulnerability, or in the Holy Spirit’s words to Paul, “Your strength is made perfect in weakness.” Jesus sends out the disciples with just the clothes on their backs and they come back rejoicing about the amazing outcome of casting out demons and healing sick people.  Paul, after a stunning heavenly revelation, receives a thorn in the flesh and is given the paradoxical wisdom: be thankful for your weakness.

Gail and I have been keeping Nathan a bit this week while Matthias is away.  We consider it a great privilege and a lot of fun.  Tuesday, he just would not take a nap even though we took turns rocking him, Gail took him to a darkened room, we played, read books, sang, and did patty cake.  He just squirmed and grinned at us and insisted on his own way.  His behavior is just a perfect image of my resistance to rejoicing in weakness and finding strength in it.

I resist, I squirm, I get busy and distract myself.  I have not yet fully accepted the fact that I am really, really old.  I am just beginning to learn the developmental task of hallowing my diminishments, of finding strength in the increasing weakness of my body and even more, my mind.

Interrupted by Grace

Gail Arnall

June 27, 2021
Text: Mark 5: 21-43

In our scripture today we have a wonderful story of Jesus going about his ministry.  He crosses the Sea of Galilee, and when he gets off the boat, there is a large crowd wanting to hear more from him.  He gets ready to teach them and then a man comes up and says his little daughter is dying and he asks Jesus to come to his house to heal his daughter.  Jesus knows that a lot of people have gone to a lot of trouble to get the venue and set up the sound system for his appearance; furthermore, the crowds have been waiting.  But he is able to change his plans and plans that his followers had for him, in order to go with this man to attend to his daughter.  So, he starts out on his journey.  Then a woman touches his garment and he knows it, and he stops what he is doing and asks who touched him.  He waits.  Everyone else is trying to give him excuses and explanations for what he feels.  But he waits.  And finally, the woman speaks up and tells him her story.  He takes the time to listen and to assure her that her faith has healed her.  About the same time, the father of the sick daughter is told that his daughter has died, so there is no need to go to the man’s house.  Jesus overhears this exchange and says, “Don’t fear; only believe.”  So, he continues his journey along with a few of his close disciples.  But there is a large crowd at the house lamenting the death of the child.  Jesus is not dissuaded.  He says to them, “Stop your weeping.  The child is only sleeping.”  The crowd laughed at his naiveté.  They surely said things like, “Bless his heart.  He wants to help but this is a lost cause.”  Jesus then goes inside and brings the child to life.  The scripture says, they were overcome with amazement.  Jesus said: ”Give the child something to eat, for Pete’s sake.”

God of History, God of Eternity, God of Life

Paul Fitch

June 20, 2021

God of History, God of eternity, God of life, speaking to us, acting through us, in the midst of the storm.

Good morning! Happy (belated) Juneteenth; happy Father’s Day; happy summer solstice! We are blessed to be joining together, before God, in the presence of one another, even though physically we are yet apart.

In the Old Testament reading, God responds, speaking out of the torment of a storm, to Job’s many professions of innocence as he had been subjected to so many afflictions and much slander, even though he considered himself a righteous man. God asks Job,

Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge? Brace yourself, I will question you, and you will answer me. Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone - while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?

In other words, God is telling Job that, in spite of his great efforts to be God’s faithful servant, efforts that are undeterred even in the midst of his “unjust” sufferings, that God has a deeper purpose and Job really doesn’t know what he is talking about.

Mustard-Seed Faithfulness

Alice Benson

     I Samuel 15:34-16:13
     Mark 4:30-32

The Old Testament scripture lets us know that the youngest and unlikeliest child can be the one to do great things — not the first-born son as usually expected.  Whenever stories like this have things like “seven sons” they make me think they are being used as a parable — and the other version of this story in the Old Testament has David being the seventh, not the 8th

son.  The names of his brothers here all have grand meanings — but David’s name simply means “Beloved.”

Little things can add up.  God can use small things and small acts to change lives.  God can use a young shepherd boy to become a good king. God can use even you and me and this little 8th Day Faith Community to demonstrate the power of love and God, change lives, and bring about the Reign (or Kingdom) of God.

Mark’s gospel was written before the other three, and today’s reading is part of the parables about seeds recorded in that book, with the focus being the Reign of God.

Being the Resurrection: Faith in Action

Rev. Darryll LC Moch

June 6, 2021

Scripture references:  Genesis 3:8-15, Psalm 130, 2nd Corinthians 4: 13- 5:1, & Mark 3:20-35

Greetings in the love and light of Christ my siblings. It is indeed a pleasure and a privilege to be with you today.  I appreciate the invitation and opportunity to share with you today as we continue to celebrate the season of Pentecost. 

You have heard and read today the series of texts that inform our reflection today.   First let me ask you a question, and feel free to unmute yourselves and talk back to me, have you ever felt an unction so deep inside of you that it felt like it was trapped in the very fibers of your bones and muscles?  It was such a strong compelling feeling that it was so inescapable that it consumed you. 

Dark Era and New Era

Cruz Ramirez

Thomas Aquinas said if God had made all things perfect or all good, we may not be able to differentiate the good and bad.  This phrase I describes what I will try to talk about today. 

We lived four terrible years under Trump administration.  That was the darkest era I have seen in this country since moved up here.   

This year began with a new Administration and a new era with new objectives including people who were not welcomed by the past administration.  Dreamers kept their dreams and their hope alive to become permanent residents then citizens and continue their education.  Temporary Protected Status (TPS) beneficiaries also still have hope to remain in this country and obtain their legal documents to become permanent residents then citizens.

New Life Through Unity

Child, woman and man smiling together in a family photo outside
Crisely Melecio-Zambrano

Spirit of the Living God fall afresh on us this morning. Amen.  

Happy Pentecost 8th Day!

Our readings this morning speak of a new creation, new life in the Spirit, God renewing the face of the earth. What hopefulness!


Our first reading which I didn’t have read this morning is the valley of the dry bones from Ezekial. I often feel like this scripture is following me around. It keeps resurfacing in my life at moments when I might not know I need it. I was looking back at the last time I shared a teaching with Michael. Can you all remember that? It was really our first Sunday meeting via zoom back in March. I remember assuming Michael would want to reschedule, and he said he would still like to figure out a way to make it happen. That was certainly before it became second nature for us to adapt to a virtual reality. We spoke about death leading to resurrection and Michael’s lesson of taking one thing at a time. 

Perfect Imperfection

Kate Lasso

In December, on the 4th Sunday of Advent,  I offered to you all reflections about the “advent” or “coming” of love through the birth of the Christ child.  Here is part of what I shared that Sunday: