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Suffering and Hope

Ann Barnet

April 7, 2019    

Psalm 126
Isaiah 43:16-21
John 12: 1-8
Philippians 3: 4b - 14

 I would not attempt this teaching if we were not in reach of Easter and its promise of resurrection; I ‘m planning to talk about suffering, not a subject most of us want to dwell on.

  Each of us is unavoidably confronted with both personal suffering and a world of suffering. How can we deal with it? We are sorely tempted to turn away – it’s too much. We act cheerful even if it means putting on a false front. Some of us use painkillers like alcohol or the opioids that end up killing 47,000 Americans each year. Some people latch on to cults or religions that soothe– as you know religion has been called “the opiate of the people.”  And the real purpose of much of the bloated consumerism of our times is to deaden feelings of pain and suffering. It’s only natural to avoid as much pain and suffering as we can - to eat, drink, and be merry, and buy stuff.

Hope in the Darkness

David Hilfiker

March 31, 2019

     Jer 25:3-11
     Ps 137:1-6
     Luke 13:1-9

     Marja and I recently received a fund-raising letter from an environmental organization we support.  On the front of the envelope they had printed: “Join us today to put an end to global climate change.”  Well, they are good organization but I have some news for them I have some news for them.  Whether we joined your organization or not, whatever we do, whatever you do, whatever anyone else does, we’re not going to put an end to climate change.

Beloved Beloved Beloved

Patty Wudel

March 24, 2019

Over the years, some of you might have heard me say that I have little faith of my own—what faith I do have is mostly borrowed—from David Hilfiker and Fred Taylor, from Harold Vines and Mike Hopkins, Stephanie Harding, and from the residents and staff at Joseph’s House for so many years.  I also borrow faith from African American writers and activists: Sweet Honey’s Bernice Reagon, a young womanist theologian and anti-racism activist, Christena Cleveland, Reverend William Barber; and I borrow faith from the people I know and have known at L’Arche.

Then, not long ago I came across a reflection by Rabbi Abraham Heschel that got my heart’s attention.  Here it is:

Faith is an endless pilgrimage of the heart.  Audacious longing, burning songs, daring thoughts, an impulse overwhelming the heart, usurping the mind - these are all a drive towards serving the Divine who rings our hearts like a bell. 

My understanding of faith has been too narrow because surely the Divine has rung my heart like a bell!   Surely my heart has been overwhelmed again and again, all these years at Joseph’s House.

Belonging, Risk-Taking and Freedom

Alfonso Sasieta

March 10, 2019


Good morning friends and family, I’m so grateful for this opportunity to be surrounded by you on the day of Santiago’s baptism. I’d like to begin with a prayer.


Holy Spirit, comforting Spirit,
happy are they who turn to you
over and over again!

And when we entrust to you,
even without words,
our lives and those of others,
our longings find a Gospel response.[1]


Path to God, Love of Enemies, Spirit Body in our Earthly Body

Carol Bullard-Bates

February 24, 2019:

Psalm 37

Psalm 37 explains for us a path to being with and following God:

We are not to fret because of the wicked.
We are to trust in the Lord and do good.
We are to commit our way to the Lord, trust in him and watch for God’s actions.
We are to be still before the Lord and wait patiently for God.
We are to refrain from anger and forsake wrath.

We are not to fret or worry about the wicked?  I don’t know about you, but I have been doing a lot of fretting since our President and his followers have been a part of our government.  The psalmist says that fretting only leads to evil.  One thing it does is waste time,

  • time we have that is precious,
  • time we could be acting against the decisions that are separating us from each other,
  • time we could be doing retreats for the Samaritans at the border like Connie and Jesse,
  • time we could be enjoying each other and supporting each other in the fight for justice,
  • time we could be fleshing out our call we are hearing from God,
  • time we could be asking God for help in healing ourselves and others. 

The Borderlands, in the Desert and the Inner Life

Connnie Ridgway

Feb 17, 2019 
     Jeremiah 17:5-10
     Psalm 1
     Luke 6:17-26

SONG (traditional)

I’m just a poor wayfarin’ Stranger, traveling thru this world of woe
But there’s no sickness, no toil or danger
In that bright world to which I go.
I’m going there to see my mother, I’m going there no more to roam
I’m only going over Jordan, I’m only going over home.

I know dark clouds will gather round me,
I know my way is rough & steep
But beauteous fields lie just beyond me,
Where souls redeemed their vigil keep.
I’m going there to see my savior, to sing her praises evermore.
I’m only going over Jordan, I’m only going over home.

A few weeks ago I went with my friend and partner Jesse to Sahuarita, a town south of Tucson AZ, to be a part of “Common Ground on the Border,” a 3-day event that introduced people to migrant issues on the border, as well as celebrating the music and arts of the border lands. 

Making a Home in the Wilderness

Kip Dooley

February 3, 2019

     Jeremiah 1: 4-10
     Psalm 71: 1-6
     Luke 4: 21-30
     1 Corinthians: 1-13

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts together be acceptable inour sight, oh God our rock, redeemer, and friend.

A little over eight years ago, something very unusual and unexpected happened to me. I, 21 year-old lifelong skeptic, walked into an evangelical megachurch in Cape Town, South Africa, and had a very sudden and cathartic spiritual awakening.

This experience has become a touchstone for me. It's an experience I cherish and go back to often in my own mind. Many of us have a few singular experiences in life where we really felt God's love and everything became suddenly clear. But these moments of grace, where God reveals himself to us in an unmistakably clear way, are very rare. What I really want to talk about today is what 8th Day has made possible for me: which is to turn a moment of faith into a journey of faith. Moments of revelation are wonderful and important; but what is just as important, if not more so, is what we do after that moment of revelation.

Re-Membering Our One Body

Crisely Melechio-Zambrano

January 27, 2019

     Nehemiah 8:2-4a, 5-6, 8-10
     Psalm 19: 8,9,10,15
     Corinthians 12:12-30
     Luke 4:14-21

"Today the scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing"...

I don't know about you, but if I was sitting in that synagogue (not that I would have been able to say anything as a woman), I would have thought to myself "Who does this guy think he is?  Seems like a pretty cocky and bold statement to me...'scripture being fulfilled in him.'"

How did he say this?  And not just to anyone, but to the people of his home town, the people who saw him through every human year growing up, including those pesky hormonal teenage years we conveniently know nothing about. 

It seems to me that the only way that it was possible for Jesus to feel so confident in his calling, would be through community.  Deep communion with the Holy Spirit and his Abba gave him the confidence to name and be certain of his calling to proclaim liberty to captives, sight to the blind, and let the oppressed go free.  Even in the times he must have been uncertain of this call, he could rely on the certainty of his Abba and that love/spirit between them, not to mention the support and sense of belonging he received from his family.  You don't grow up with a Mama who said the words of the Magnificat and not learn at least some sense of your call.

The Embodied Journey at Christmastime

Emily Owsley

December 30, 2018
     1 Samuel 2:18-20 and 26
     Psalm 148
     Luke 2:41-52

Merry Christmas!   I feel especially grateful to be sharing the teaching with you all today in this Christmas season.  We have come through the time of waiting and expectation and now we get to honor and hold up Jesus’ birth and growth as a young adolescent.  We can also reflect on the growth and newness that we see in and around ourselves, and praise God for it!   This is a time for witnessing, praising, and recognizing the broader story of life that we are a part of.  The lectionary scriptures for this week are a wonderful guide for our reflection on this season. 

The 1st Samuel passage gives us little bits of the story of Samuel as a young boy serving in the temple.  Samuel ministered in the temple and wore a linen ephod, which was a tunic-like garment worn by the high priest.  His mother and father (Hannah and Elkanah) visit the temple once a year for the annual sacrifice and Hannah gives Samuel the robe that she has made for him.  Eli blesses Hannah and Elkanah for giving Samuel to the priests/temple.  The passage skips several verses and we get verse 26, “And the boy Samuel continued to grow in stature and in favor with the Lord and with men.”