compassion

Today’s word: Psalm 145:1-9

My compassion has limits.

There, I said it. As much as I try to have compassion and grace and mercy, I often do not have enough, running out as situations become more complicated, as relationships become much harder, as I become hungry or sleepy or weary of doing good.

I hope I am growing in this. Both in having compassion that endures, and in being wise about how to best approach a complicated situation or relationship.

What astounds and amazes me is the vastness of God’s compassion, mercy, love, patience, and goodness. When I want to set limits and ask God to be reasonable, I’m reminded that God is not limited or reasonable.

3Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; his greatness is unsearchable.

4One generation shall laud your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts.

5On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.

6The might of your awesome deeds shall be proclaimed, and I will declare your greatness.

7They shall celebrate the fame of your abundant goodness, and shall sing aloud of your righteousness.

8The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.

9The Lord is good to all, and his compassion is over all that he has made.

The photo above was taken in the sanctuary at Peace Presbyterian Church. Yesterday, we collected the hygiene kits (wrapped in bath towels) made by members of the church for folks in our community who may need them.

cornerstone

Today’s Word: Matthew 21:33-46

A condition of humanity is this: we rarely know what is best just by looking at what we can see with our eyes.

Ever pick a beautiful apple from the bowl only to find that it’s rotten inside?

Ever select the book with the most interesting cover only to find that it’s not anything that interests you?

Ever choose a friend/lab partner/hairstylist/spin instructor based on nice appearance, only to find out that…well, it just wasn’t a good choice?

Yep, me too! It’s what we do–and we try to learn, and we do learn, and we even say things like, “You can’t choose a book by its cover!” But we still sometimes choose our books by the cover

Jesus did not look like a savior. He did not look like a King. His “good news” did not sound all that great. As a teacher, the students he gathered were a bit too rugged and not very scholarly. Even his death was embarrassing and pedestrian.

Who would choose him?

Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the scriptures: ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is amazing in our eyes’? Matthew 21:42

memory

Today’s Word: 2 Peter 1:12-21

(photo credit: Bill Chater)

In seminary, I learned the word anamanesis (ἀνάμνησις). This Greek word means “remembrance,” and when using it to talk about communion, or the eucharist, it is an action word.

When we “do this in remembrance” of Christ, we aren’t just remembering Jesus and who he was. It’s not, “oh these are nice memories we have of our loved one.” We are actively recalling what Jesus did and what he taught us to do, we are re-membering ourselves with the Body of Christ, and we are remembering everything that is promised in the receiving of the eucharistic feast. We remember being at the Table with Christ, even as we are at the Table with Christ, and even as we remember that we will once again be at the Table with Christ in the fulfillment of the Kingdom of God. “When we eat this bread and drink this cup, we proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes again,” ministers say with the bread and the cup aloft.

It’s the kind of remembering the author of 2 Peter had in mind when he wrote:

12Therefore I intend to keep on reminding you of these things, though you know them already and are established in the truth that has come to you. 13I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to refresh your memory, 14since I know that my death will come soon, as indeed our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. 15And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things.

16For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17For he received honor and glory from God the Father when that voice was conveyed to him by the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, my Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” 18We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven, while we were with him on the holy mountain.

19So we have the prophetic message more fully confirmed. You will do well to be attentive to this as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. (2 Peter 1:12-19)

In the sacraments, we remember the teaching and actions of Christ like “a lamp shining in a dark place, until the Day dawns and the Morning Star rises in [our] hearts.”

May the peace of Christ be with you today.

(I know, I didn’t actually take this photo, and I know, I usually try to use a photo I took specifically for the word. I did take a photo, but once I read the scripture, I knew I wanted to write about communion so I used the photo Bill took on Sunday.)

Sermon: Luke 18:1-8

To read the eulogy I wrote for our friend Scott, click here.

Luke 18:1-8

Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people. In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Grant me justice against my opponent.’ For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, ‘Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.’” And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them? I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

A New Ministry

At the beginning of this academic year, I became an Adjunct Chaplain at Methodist University.

Find me on the MU website here.

What does this mean? Here’s my September Newsletter article about it:

Dear Peace Family,

This past month at Peace, in partnership with the Office of Religious Life at Methodist University, we have started a new ministry created for college students on Wednesday nights called MU @ Peace. We have had several people working hard to create a welcoming space for them to gather in our Christian Education hallway–if you haven’t seen it, please stop and visit. The room looks great!

Part of our partnership includes me becoming an Adjunct Chaplain at MU, an opportunity I am very excited about.

The Adjunct part of my title recognizes that I’m not the university chaplain, but rather I am serving in a way that assists the chaplain–Rev. Kelli Taylor.

The Chaplain part of my title recognizes that I’m acting professionally as a pastor at an organization that’s not a church. 

Basically, I will serve Methodist University in the following ways:

  • I will have office hours on campus on Tuesdays from 2-4 p.m. for any students who need a friend, some prayer, or help preparing to lead their Bible Studies.
  • I will lead worship at University Chapel one time each semester.
  • I will support Rev. Kelli Taylor in her work as University Chaplain.

Thank you for being a church that supports me as I seek to engage our community and represent Peace Presbyterian Church outside of our building! Please pray for me, for the MU @ Peace Team, and for students and faculty on the MU campus–and all college campuses.

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Becky

Sermon on Luke 14:25-33

Luke 14:25-33

25Now large crowds were traveling with him; and he turned and said to them, 26“Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. 27Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. 28For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it? 29Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it will begin to ridicule him, 30saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31Or what king, going out to wage war against another king, will not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32If he cannot, then, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for the terms of peace.33So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions. 34“Salt is good; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? 35It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; they throw it away. Let anyone with ears to hear listen!”

Sermon on Luke 14:1, 7-14

Luke 14:1, 7-14

On one occasion when Jesus was going to the house of a leader of the Pharisees to eat a meal on the sabbath, they were watching him closely.

When he noticed how the guests chose the places of honor, he told them a parable. â€œWhen you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not sit down at the place of honor, in case someone more distinguished than you has been invited by your host; and the host who invited both of you may come and say to you, ‘Give this person your place,’ and then in disgrace you would start to take the lowest place. But when you are invited, go and sit down at the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher’; then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at the table with you. For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” He said also to the one who had invited him, “When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

Faces of Our Faith: Lydia

Acts 16:6-15

They went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. When they had come opposite Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them; so, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas.During the night Paul had a vision: there stood a man of Macedonia pleading with him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.”When he had seen the vision, we immediately tried to cross over to Macedonia, being convinced that God had called us to proclaim the good news to them. We set sail from Troas and took a straight course to Samothrace, the following day to Neapolis, and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We remained in this city for some days. On the sabbath day we went outside the gate by the river, where we supposed there was a place of prayer; and we sat down and spoke to the women who had gathered there. A certain woman named Lydia, a worshiper of God, was listening to us; she was from the city of Thyatira and a dealer in purple cloth. The Lord opened her heart to listen eagerly to what was said by Paul. When she and her household were baptized, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come and stay at my home.” And she prevailed upon us.

And verse 16:40

After leaving the prison they went to Lydia’s home; and when they had seen and encouraged the brothers and sisters there, they departed.