Friday, November 20, 2020

Experiencing Fall

The leaves on the trees are in a variety of stages; some have fallen to the ground and are piled up by the wind, others are changed in color yet holding their grip onto the tree for a few more days - being unmoved even by swift rain and wind, and still others are green - giving little evidence that fall is upon us and that they will soon be changed. It's a marvelous time - I like best those leaves of brilliant color that hang onto their tree for as long as possible - they bring joy in their colorful glory and endurance. 

- originally written to a friend in an email

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

It's Spring ... Time to Garden - East Stanford Neighborhood Garden

Five years ago Schweitzer UMC started a Neighborhood Garden. This video captures it's first year. In 2015 there were 36 plots, today it has 60+ plots. Additionally, in 2020 we're anticipating providing space for two urban farmers to conduct a pilot program in collaboration with the USDA. It is good to get outside and provide a space for people to connect and build a good and beautiful community.

Schweitzer UMC Food Pantry: Aspirations and guiding framework

This video refelcts the aspiration of the food pantry at Schweitzer UMC. In the present moment, the operations are different, but the spirit is the same, we long to see people flourish in life.

Friday, April 10, 2020

In Holy Week - an Intercessory Prayer

Intercessory Prayer for Holy Week

L: Let us pray for the Church and for the world

Kind Father, almighty God, that all who confess your name may be united in your truth, live together in your love, and reveal your glory in the world.
Lord, in your mercy, Hear Our Prayer. (silent prayer)

Guide the people of this land, and all the nations, in the ways of justice and peace; that we may honor one another and serve the common good.
Lord, in your mercy, Hear Our Prayer. (silent prayer)

Bless all whose lives are closely linked with ours, and grant that we may see Christ in them, and love one another as Christ loves us.
Lord, in your mercy, Hear Our Prayer. (silent prayer)

Comfort and heal all those who suffer in body, mind, or spirit; give them courage and hope in their troubles, and bring them the joy of your salvation.
Lord, in your mercy, Hear Our Prayer. (silent prayer)

Be our healer, as the world experiences a health pandemic, guide those giving care, conducting research, and leading communities in challenging times
Lord, in your mercy, Hear Our Prayer. (silent prayer)

Renew our hopes and dreams, many of our plans have been dashed upon the rocks, plans set in motion for months or decades 
Lord, in your mercy, Hear Our Prayer. (silent prayer)

Kindle in us afresh a thirst for your living presence, that above all our hearts could hope for; we are living when we are connected to You, the true vine
Lord, in your mercy, Hear Our Prayer. (silent prayer)

We offer these prayers through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

(with guidance from BCP, USA, 20th Cent).

Holy Saturday - A crisis reveals our loves

As we move through the experience of COVID19, we are experiencing the loss of things we really loved.
I miss seeing people in worship, having time with my co-workers, of trips to the theater with my girls. We all have a list
At the same time, I’m also experiencing space for a deep quest - of asking myself, what do I love that is essential?
In John’s account of the death of Jesus he writes about Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus. They both loved Jesus, but had stayed in the shadows because of fear and social pressure. (John 19.38-42) Jesus’ death changed all that. Their love provoked them to ask Pilate for Jesus’ body. They buried him in Joseph’s grave. The crisis of Jesus’ death, revealed their love; and love moved them to action.
As we are in this season, what loves are being revealed in your life? Who do you love that needs to know it in fresh terms and actions? What is your love like for Jesus?
Today is a great day to come out of the shadows, to let love move you to act. To restore a relationship. To open yourself anew to God. To live the purpose of your life.
God loves you. Move out of the shadows. May your loves be good, beautiful, and true.
~ Jason

Monday, March 23, 2020

A Morning Fog - a new day during COVID 19

Awakening in a fog, so real in so many ways
As the sun will soon cut through it like a knife
We trust the Holy Spirit to quicken our eyes with light
And the Way will be revealed

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

A Prayer before a new year

On December 29, 2019 - I used the following prayer in worship. The refrain "we send to the cross" is something I’ve encountered in other prayers and was impressed upon to use in this prayer.
Kind Father, As we transition from one year to the next, we look back and we look ahead.
Remind us to look to you and to trust you fully, to send to you our hopes and fears, our joys and sorrows, for you can receive them and make all things new. In faith we pray...
  • For the moments of this past year that brought us great joy... we send to the cross
  • For moments of grief and sorrow... we send to the cross
  • For moments when we blew it with a sister, brother, neighbor, or friend... we send to the cross
  • For moments when we were renewed in an act of worship... we send to the cross
  • For our hopes in the year ahead... we send to the cross
  • For the turmoil in our country and the new election cycle... we send to the cross
  • For those who will welcome new life, or those who will have a new medical diagnosis... we send to the cross
  • For the church of Jesus Christ, and for the UMC as it looks ahead in its stymied state of being... we send to the cross
  • We send to the cross the following....
Thank you for the work of Christ done on the cross; to take away our sins, to transform life’s moments of grief and lead them to a new and glorious beginning. This past year we send to the cross. This new year, we receive from You, and commit it to the Way of Jesus. Amen.

Monday, December 16, 2019

E. Stanley Jones on the Triune Nature of God

Recently I pulled from my book shelf The Way to Power and Poise by E. Stanley Jones (1949), prominent Methodist missionary and ambassador for Christ for much of the middle 1900’s. The work is meant to be devotional, and it is. At the same time it into engages the full bearings of scripture, doctrine, and the self.
Here is an example of Jones’ reflecting on the nature and work of the triune God:
"God the Father is God for us; God the Son is God with us; God the Spirit is God in us. I cannot be satisfied with "for," more with "with," nor with "in." God the Father is the Creator; God the Son is the Redeemer; God the Spirit is the Creator-Redeemer within. The Father’s love, the divine intention; the Son’s approach, the divine invasion; the Spirit’s coming, the divine indwelling. God dwelt in a holy temple, then in a holy person; now He dwells in us who want to be holy. God in the Old Testament is Light; God in Jesus is Life; God in us is Power. Each time He comes closer, until He finally He comes to the ultimate place - within." (P.32)  

Sunday, December 15, 2019

A Christmas Prayer from the Angels

"Glory to you in the highest heavens, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased."
Kind Father,
You sent your angels to proclaim in song "good news to the world"
  That in the baby Jesus you placed a way of salvation in the world
And this Way was good new for all people,
   all could enter in, all could rejoice, all could know your salvation
You sent the angels to the Shepherds, at night, to the night watchmen
   They were surprised - no one brought them good news
      their world valued them little, but not You
You see, You behold, You love us all - including the night watchman
As we hear the story again, we pray for us
   Who speak ill of ourselves - may we Hear Your Good News
   Who wonder at what benefit we bring the world - may we Hear Your Good News
   Who are lost in the darkness of our own machinations - may we Hear Your Good News
   Who carry sorrow - may we Hear Your Good News
   Who are overwhelmed with guilt - may we Hear Your Good News
In Jesus, the Light has dawned, Salvation is here
   By your Spirit help us hear, help us sing with the Angels, help us walk with peace and joy in the way of Jesus.