Opening litany based on Psalm 89

Psalm 89
Pastor:  I will sing of the LORD’s great love forever; Letting all generations know of the faithfulness of the Lord. For the love of the Lord stands firm forever, on earth and in the heavens.

Congregation: The Lord made a covenant to Abraham and to David that the heavens and the earth will be blessed through them for all generations.

Pastor: Let the assembly of Holy ones in the heavens praise the wonders of the Lord.

Congregation: For who in the heavens above and on the earth below is like Lord God Almighty, surrounded by majestic wonder and faithfulness.

Pastor: The Lord God Almighty rules over the surging seas, stilling the raging waves, and rules over the surging peoples, stilling those who rage against your people and against the heavens.

Congregation: For you O Lord have created all that is with your mighty hand.  The heavens are yours and yours also is the earth. 

Pastor: Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne O Lord, love and faithfulness go before you. Blessed are those who sing praises to Your Holy Name and walk in the light of your Presence, O Lord.  For they rejoice in your name all day long and celebrate your righteousness with their lives.

Congregation: For you are the glory and strength of those who walk in your presence, indeed you are their shield O Holy One over all the earth. 

Poem based on 4th Sunday in Advent Luke 1:26-38

Mary! Mary!
And the voice was so soft
that she could not be sure
if this was a dream that had awoken her
--so gentle
Awake my child
Awake to the promise
-----(Hail Mary)
given to you from of old
in the promise passed on
-----through Abraham
Men of Greatness
-----------and blessing
gone now
---except for the promise
---and the history
-----of God
---------acting in this world of humanity
-----and all that is to come
focused now
--on this
------------young maiden
(full of grace)
from this part of the world so far from all
----that is considered greatness
----by all who are considered great
softly the voice speaks
And the dream that has been dreamed
By all people
In every time
Has come
--------(the Lord is with you)
sprung from the loins of no man
is the one who is to come
carried safely now in the womb of
the one
to save
that the people of power and greatness have dreamed of
for themselves
carried safely now
--to bring light and hope to all people
God breaking forth in gentleness
And greatness
In a new way
Aided by just this one
-----(I am the Lord’s servant)
-----(May it be with me as you have said)



Sunday December 21st, Luke 1: 26 In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. When we trace the lineage of Jesus back to David through the ancestry of Joseph, we honor the traditions of humanity and what the world views as great.  That greatness is impressive and contains some wonderful examples of men of great walking with God. God chose a slightly different route however, Mary, whose lineage is not known at all.  In choosing Mary, we are left with Jesus’ greatness coming from God, not lineage or pedigree or education or maleness or anything having to do with human honor, prestige or power. Just like today, all attempts to corral or control Jesus fail. From the very beginning of the birth of Jesus, God’s plan was God’s plan and  continues to be God’s plan and has nothing to do with humanities grasps at greatness. Books and movies like “The DaVinci code” which still plays regularly on the movie channels, attempt to bring Jesus down to a purely human level. Others attempt to make Jesus so Holy so as to strip all humanity from him on the one hand and sing “Jesus is my boyfriend” praise songs on the other, stripping him of his true God given holiness that came through suffering. What came from Mary was a gift from God, and a gift for you and I and all humanity. Emmanuel means God with us, not just God with me.

Mary’s gift

Monday December 22nd,  Luke 1: The virgin's name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you." Highly favored!! What had Mary done to make her highly favored? She was not a prophetess, a preacher or a poet; she was just a young maiden of no great lineage from nowhere.  And when we say young, we mean probably around 13 or 14 at the time, with Joseph being much, much older.  Not the stuff of the family values crowd.  The term translated into English as virgin is more accurately translated as a young maiden who may or may not even be virgin as we would use the term. Just a young maiden of no virtue other than that she was chosen by God. When it comes right down to it can any of us claim anything more or anything less? All the greatness we create, all the good we do, all the wealth we have simply comes to us as a gift from God and all too often in the case of power and wealth, the manipulation of situations that create victims of other children of God. There are times when we get a glimpse of Mary’s response in our own lives and in those times we tend to use all, or at least some of these many gifts for the Kingdom. Those are the few times that we can almost see the shimmer of Heaven off in the distance and hear the angels sing. Perhaps it was Mary’s gift of the willingness to be an open, giving, willing child of God that is the real gift.  Perhaps that willingness and do God’s calling in life is a gift we can bring to humanity.  Watch out humanity, it is from this simple willingness that the Messiah comes into the world. 

say yes

Tuesday December 23rd,  Luke 1: 29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. The understanding of the day was that when and if an Angel visits you, you just know the rest of your life is going to be a bit different, out of your control, or most likely, very, very short. All your plans are out the window and you are now either on a mission or shopping for a gravesite. I suppose you could say no, but Jonah among others would advise you against it. What lies before you is nothing less than an adventure. My son has a tattoo of Calvin and Hobbes going on an adventure on his back.  Like Bilbo Baggins in the Hobbit, what lays beyond that horizon can only be guessed at, and even then you will be wrong for the most part. All you know is that it will be an adventure and you will most likely not be alone during this, or any adventure that involves a calling from God.  For some it may be exciting, for others scary, and yet, somehow the thought of staying home and watching reruns on the tube just does not sound all that appealing anymore. So get out there and have an adventure with God, say yes to the call, or at least a strong maybe.  You will not be alone, no matter what evolves, God will be with you.  

remaining anonymous

Wednesday December 24th, Luke 1: 30 But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. 31 You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end." If someone in Mary’s position was to be found to be with child, it would be a disgrace to the family and she would most likely be killed to maintain her families honor.  Even with the Angel saying “fear not” I have to believe that what we do not read about in these stories were the inner thoughts and a great deal of fear on Mary’s part. Not only was she going to be in a family way, the child she was carrying would change the world, so much for remaining anonymous and living out a nice little life in the “burbs.” But, Like Mary we are all asked, in spite of our fears, to get down on our knees saying “yes” to God, remembering that fear is the opposite of faith.  Then as we are packing, we begin to see what direction our lives will take?  For some it is a once in a lifetime thing, but for the truly brave of heart and strong of faith, go for it.  Open each day with your willingness to say, I am the Lord’s servant.   


Thursday December 25th, Luke 1: 34 "How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?" First, a very merry Christmas to all.  We, like Mary at first see limitations, God sees possibilities. To Mary’s credit, she only saw the limitations for a short while, while most of us only see the limitations and are ruled by the limitations most of our lives.  What are the possibilities in your life? What are the self-imposed limitations that are holding you back? Where is God in the midst of it all? Hannah, Rachael, Elizabeth, Mary, they all saw the limitations at first, but it was looking back that they were able to see God’s blessings revealed in God’s plan put into action by their saying yes.  Going along with God’s plan made the blessing real to them.  Going along with God’s plan makes the blessing real for us also.  This Christmas season, give yourself the best gift of all, ask God to help you find your part, your journey, your adventure,  more in God’s plan than in your own plan.  And may the blessing of the Christ Child walk with you every inch of the way.  


Friday December 26th, Luke 1: 35 The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. That overshadowing, what comfort. When you think of overshadowing, think of a hen with her young chicks protected under her wings.  There is a church in the shape of a teardrop overlooking Jerusalem with the mosaic on the altar of a hen with her wings spread out, protecting her young.  Overshadowing means comfort, protection, warmth, love, safety and companionship. It is what gets us ready for ministry in the real world. It is what gets us through the day.  It is what accompanies us during our ministry in the real world. It is what comforts us in the midst of ministry and life in the real world. At those times when we need it most, and are open to it, the Holy Spirit covers us with her wings and overshadows us with the love of God. Is there any ministry task that is beyond us with overshadowing on our side? When we pray for someone, we cover them with our wings, which in turn are covered with the grace of God.  


Saturday December 27th, Luke 1: 38 "I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her. I can think of no greater prayer than this, “I am the Lord’s servant, may it be with me as you have said.” Keep this prayer on your lips and in your heart as you go into the new world into the New Year. Be open to what God has called you to be, and is calling you to do. Be open to the wonders beyond the horizon. Be open to giving beyond graciousness. Be open to all the wonders God has in store for you if you but just open your heart to being the Lord’s servant. May it be with you as God has said!!!! Now pray with me, ”I am the Lord’s servant, may it be with me as you have said.”


10w for December 14th, Bruised Reed, NL

The following is a 10 minute worship for December 14th, Bruised Reed, NL. You can listen on the flash player below. You now also have the option of receiving these notices each week and on festival days by signing up for the 10W constant contact email list on the right side of the 10W blog where it says "Please Join our Email List. The song for the day is: Rebel Jesus by Dakota Road from the CD Love Can Break Through http://www.dakotaroadmusic.com/index.php?p=catalog&parent=4&pg=1

10w for December 14th, Prepare the way.

The following is a 10 minute worship for December 14th, Prepare the way.  You can listen on the flash player below. You now also have the option of receiving these notices each week and on festival days by signing up for the 10W constant contact email list on the right side of the 10W blog where it says "Please Join our Email List. The song for the day is: Come O Long Expected Jesus by Dakota Road from the CD Love Can Break Through. http://www.dakotaroadmusic.com/index.php?p=catalog&parent=4&pg=1


Isaiah 40

Pinky Friedman interviews people on the street regarding their Mission Statement

Isaiah 40 from Dan Bollerud on Vimeo.


Poem based on John 1:1-18 2nd Sunday after Christmas

before all time and being
before the light and darkness
was the God of creation
---- the Alpha
before all worlds
---- and Omega
once again in the timelessness of god
who for a brief moment
-------- in this place
-------- this time
Lived among us
the Word and the work of God
again and always
the Creator and the Creation
the Word and the Work
in one
the Christ

Opening Litany based on Psalm 126

Psalm 126

Pastor: When my life changed, when God came into my life and turned it around, I was like one who had just entered a dream. 

Congregation: When our lives were changed, when we allowed God in, we could not stop from laughing; our very being was filled with joy. 

Pastor: Our friends looked at us and knew something was different.  Those who knew us well and who knew the Lord said, the Lord has done great thing for them, and together we rejoiced. 

Congregation: Restore our ways O Lord; direct our lives to the paths you have chosen.  Like a river in spring, may your blessings fill to the brim the blessings of your presence in our lives.

Pastor: May those still in sorrow experience shouts of joy.

Congregation: May those who go into the world in sorrow be filled with your love and bring that fruit of your blessing home to friends and family.


Sunday December 14th, Isaiah 61: 1The Spirit of GOD, the Master, is on me because GOD anointed me. He sent me to preach good news to the poor, heal the heartbroken, announce freedom to all captives, pardon all prisoners.  In Luke 4:14-20 we read where Jesus began his ministry in Nazareth reading from this section of the scroll of Isaiah.  One could call it Jesus’ mission statement, and by association as the children of God, our mission statement.  Christ is coming, that we know, but what should we do in the mean-time while we wait and live life?  How should we live this life that has been sanctified by the grace of a loving God?  Should we live it by bringing good news to the poor, healing the heartbroken, and working to free all those who are bound by whatever it is they are bound by?  These are the marks of the saints who seem to “get it”.  In the simplest terms, we are called to love God and love others.  The “Others” in this statement defined as whoever God places before you or on your heart this day.  Those at the bottom need it more than those at the top and in order for both to get help, the ones at the top should be helping the ones at the bottom, for in doing so, both are blessed.  We often confuse Jesus message with our own agendas and that often times gets us in trouble as we step outside of the simple message to love God and love others, and end up primarily loving ourselves and the others who are like us.  This Christmas, follow the mission of Christ and let God be God. Love others, in what you say and in what you do, and let the others be whomever God places before you each day.  That is your mission as a child of God. 


Monday December 15th, Isaiah 61: 8"Because I, GOD, love fair dealing and hate thievery and crime, I'll pay your wages on time and in full, and establish my eternal covenant with you.  9Your descendants will become well-known all over.  Your children in foreign countries will be recognized at once as the people I have blessed." Power works in solving the problems of this world and in our lives in the short run.  At this point internationally we are reaping the results of power trying to solve problems, financially and politically and it is not a pretty sight.  In the long run, integrity wins the day.  If you treat others fairly, that will be remembered, not just for a generation, but for generations.  Short term solutions tend to result in long term problems.  Fair treatment does not always get the results you want when “you” want them, it is a gift however to your children, your grandchildren and your great-grandchildren.  On the other hand, our short term solutions have left our children mounds of debt and distrust and a planet in dire straits.  Short term power solutions, like chocolate, sure seem good, but in God’s time and in God’s mind, honesty, integrity and fair dealing win the day.  


Tuesday December 16th, 1 Thessalonians 5: 16Always be joyful 17and never stop praying. 18Whatever happens; keep thanking God because of Jesus Christ. This is what God wants you to do. Never stop praying!  That doesn’t mean you need to walk around with your hands folded all the time.  Instead of seeing this as a calling of something to strive for, think of it as a statement of what is a reality.  Perhaps it is a calling to recognize that everything we think do and say is a prayer and then asking ourselves if this is a prayer we want to be praying right now.  This can come in the form of both blessing and curse depending on what we are thinking, doing and saying.  Try it for one week, be aware of all you say and do as a prayer and see what affect it has on your life.  Then start living life, all of life, as a prayer everyday.  

why me?

Wednesday December 17th, 1 Thessalonians 5: 23I pray that God, who gives peace, will make you completely holy. And may your spirit, soul, and body be kept healthy and faultless until our Lord Jesus Christ returns.  Sometimes our spirits, souls and bodies take a beating, and sometimes our bodies lose the battle.  A dear departed friend of mine, Glenn Growth, when talking of his cancer said the following: “The way I see it, we read that in the beginning God created order out of chaos, and ever since then we have been expecting order to be the norm.  I have come to realize that chaos is the norm and that every day I have lived without cancer is a blessing.  The question is not why me? It is rather, why not until now.”  Sometimes real peace only comes after a life well lived.  I pray that God who gives peace, will make you so completely open to the holy that you become aware, even if ever so slightly, that all of life is a blessing to be lived.  

blocking the light

Thursday December 18th, John 1:  6There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. 7He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. 8He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.  We are called to be like John in at least one way, announcing that the Kingdom is near.  But then sometimes we get a bit enamored with our own light.  We start shining it around and feeling good about everything we can accomplish in life.  In time we all learn, often the hard way, that in order to truly see our light shining, we need to be standing in the dark.  Instead of a flashlight, God gives us mirrors.  Sometimes the mirrors are used to show us who we really are, sometimes they are used for reflecting the light of Christ into the darkness.  God loves us either way. But if your mirror is only used for grooming, making yourself look good, you might have trouble seeing your true self because you’re blocking the light.  You might not even know you are standing in the dark.  


Friday December 19th, John 1:  10He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.   That is all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time.  Being a child of God is a gift of grace, not birthright.  Receiving God into your life is not something you accomplish or find, it is simply a gift of grace.  There are many who do not know or want God in their lives, what of them?  God loves them too.  They too are made in the image of God.  They have just chosen not to accept the gift of grace for right now which again reflects the reality of some of the people all the time and all the people some of the time.  God will continue to love them, and you and I until they/we do love in return.  There are many who follow spiritual roads that do not include Christ as the center-line.  Don’t worry, Grace will find them in the long run, in this life or the next.  Jesus always seemed to be finding examples of faith on both sides of the road and even down some of those side roads that seem so far from the center line.  Perhaps we could find encouragement and understanding there too.


Saturday December 20th, John 1:  23John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, "I am the voice of one calling in the desert, 'Make straight the way for the Lord.' “ Get the road ready.  Get your life ready.  Get the world ready.  The Lord is coming soon.  When a king would come for a visit to a small town, everyone got to work fixing up the roads as a sign of welcome and honor.  John is announcing that it is time to start fixing the roads in our lives because the true King, the Messiah, is coming.  Some are busy fixing the roads, others are too busy standing around telling others how to fix the roads.  All the ones standing around produce are potholes.  As you fix up the roads in your life in preparation for the coming of the Messiah, watch out for the tendency to produce those standing around pietistic potholes.   



Esther from Dan Bollerud on Vimeo.

10w for December 7th, For Such a Time as This, NL.

The following is a 10 minute worship for December 7th, For Such a Time as This, NL.  You can listen on the flash player below. You now also have the option of receiving these notices each week and on festival days by signing up for the 10W constant contact email list on the right side of the 10W blog where it says "Please Join our Email List. The song for the day is: Go Tell it on the Mountain by Dakota Road from the CD Love can Break Through http://www.dakotaroadmusic.com/index.php?p=catalog&parent=4&pg=1

10w for December 7th, Prepare the Way, Advent 2.

The following is a 10 minute worship for December 7th, Prepare the Way, Advent 2.  You can listen on the flash player below. You now also have the option of receiving these notices each week and on festival days by signing up for the 10W constant contact email list on the right side of the 10W blog where it says "Please Join our Email List. The song of the week is: The song for the day is: Love can Break Through by Dakota Road from the CD Love can Break Through. http://www.dakotaroadmusic.com/index.php?p=catalog&parent=4&pg=1


Poem based on Advent 2 Mark 1:1-8

Make straight the paths

Prepare the way
the Lord God is come
to you
            to me
to the people and creation
to set right
and make righteous all
the Lord has made
Prepare your hearts
Prepare your world
the heavens will open
and the Lord will appear
to humanity waiting and watching
for the one who will make all things right
Look upon your neighbor
            the child
                        the world
and see

the coming of the Lord.  

Opening Litany based on Psalm 85

 Pastor: You O LORD have shown favor to the land and restored the children of God.

Congregation: You have forgiven our greed and all our sins and set aside your wrath and anger.  Restore us again O God our Savior. 

Pastor: Will you hang onto your anger O Lord from generation to generation?  Will you not revive us again so that we may rejoice in you?

Congregation: Show us your unfailing love O Lord and grant us your salvation.  Call us again into your fold and open our hearts to your word in the coming year.  

Pastor: The Lord promises peace to all people, so do not turn to folly.

Congregation: Surely the salvation of the Lord is near to all who walk in the ways of the Lord so that the glory of the Lord may dwell in the land. 

Pastor: Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other. Faithfulness springs forth from the earth, and righteousness looks down from heaven. 

Congregation: The LORD will indeed give what is good and the land will yield its harvest. The Lord’s righteousness sweeps into the land and prepares the way for the coming of the Lord. 


Sunday December 7th Isaiah 40: 1 Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. 2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins. Comfort my people.  This is the message of the Lord to a people living in the depths of darkness.  When the angels came to the shepherds to announce the birth of the Christ Child, their first words were fear not.  When the angel came to Mary to announce that she would be carrying the Christ child into this world, the first words were, fear not.  This message of Isaiah, which comes not only to the people of his day, but to you and I is do not live in fear, but know of God’s love for you, and live in the comfort of knowing God’s love for you will never die.  Often we hear the message of the Lord’s second coming as one of fear.  Will you be ready?  Two going up a hill and one’s left standing still, I wish we had all been ready.  Will you be left behind?  These are all messages of fear and control, not assurance and comfort.  They are used more to build churches and media empires than to convey the message of God.  What will it be like when Christ returns?  I don’t know, no one does.  The first coming was predicted with the words Comfort Ye, and was announced as the babe in Bethlehem with the words fear not.  So in the midst of your dark days, hear the words, Comfort Ye and Fear Not and know that Emmanuel is with you. 

longs to carry us

Monday December 8th Isaiah 40:  9 You who bring good tidings to Zion, go up on a high mountain. You who bring good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the towns of Judah, “Here is your God!"  10 See, the Sovereign LORD comes with power, and his arm rules for him. See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him.  11 He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.  All too often the messages the world hears from the church are messages of judgment.  All too often the messages the world hears from the media, even in times of economic distress, is who cares, just spend and you will feel good, at least for a while.  Our calling as the children of God is to let the world know the real message of Christmas is the message of God in Christ coming into the world.  This is a message of one who longs to carry us in his arms and hold us close to his heart at all times and in all places, especially when things fall apart and terrorists and pirates and economics of privilege besiege the world.  This is a message of one who leads gently those who are fragile or have young.  This is a message of God’s love and Grace.  Our call is to shout that message of Grace from the mountain tops, don’t let the doom and gloom, you better watch out you better not cry you better believe things only our way, crowd win the day.  Our calling is to let the world know of God’s love in the face of all those who wish to destroy the message and turn it into judgment, death, destruction and profit.  Spread the Good news that Christ is coming and is already here in your hearts, and spread it as Good News.  

same place

Tuesday December 9th 2 Peter 3:  12Daily expect the Day of God, eager for its arrival. The galaxies will burn up and the elements melt down that day-- 13but we'll hardly notice. We'll be looking the other way, ready for the promised new heavens and the promised new earth, all landscaped with righteousness.  Spending all your energy getting ready is vastly different from living a life being ready.  We are called to be ready for God not get ready for God.  What does that entail?  It entails loving God with all your heart, soul and mind and your neighbor as yourself.  If you are busy doing that, you won’t even notice all the hype about when the second coming will be.  But then, it wouldn't really matter anyway.  It is a small transition from the Kingdom of God in your heart to the Kingdom of God in heaven.  Maybe they are even the same place.  So, daily expect the day of God, with eagerness.  

Sin Boldly

Wednesday December 10th 2 Peter 3: 14So, my dear friends, since this is what you have to look forward to, do your very best to be found living at your best, in purity and peace. 15Interpret our Master's patient restraint for what it is: salvation.  What God is interested in and predestined for, is the salvation of humanity.  The sending of Jesus, the cross, the waiting for us to get our act together and live in peace as the children of God, this is all part of God’s desire to save all of humanity through grace.  All those end time prophecies are just trying to throw you off your game.  If all that God talk in the world doesn’t fit into loving God and loving others it is just a distraction.  Instead of living trying to get your life right before God, live your lives as the saved and blessed children of God. You will still make mistakes, lots of them, but the message of the angels to those awaiting the coming of the Messiah were, fear not.  Along the way it may require a bit of what Luther referred to as Sin Boldly, but Rejoice more Boldly still.  It is better to mess up trying to live as a child of God in this world and having to seek forgiveness than it is to not mess up because you are being too careful.  Instead of careful, you need to be care-filled.  


Thursday December 11th Mark 1:  2It is written in Isaiah the prophet: "I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way"— 3"a voice of one calling in the desert, 'Prepare the way for the Lord,  We too are called to be the messengers calling to the world to prepare the way of the Lord.  It is time to set aside all conflict and strife. It is time to set aside all hatred and greed.  It is time to view friends and neighbors, enemies and acquaintances as brothers and sisters in Christ.  It is time to finally beat those swords into plow shears.  It is time to prepare the way of the Lord by turning this Christmas season into a season of love and forgiveness.  It is time to prepare the way of the Lord in what we do, not just in what we say or spend.  Let your life be a preparation for the coming of the Lord, in your life and in the world.  

Speak up

Friday December 12th Mark 1: 7And this was his message: "After me will come one more powerful than I, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie.  The very essence of sin in this world is the desire to be like God (that garden tree stuff).  It is our not so subtle way of trying to be in control and therefore not letting God be in control of our lives that is at the basis of fear and control in this world.  John got that.  As powerful as John was with a following far greater than anything Jesus had in his lifetime, John continued to see himself as a servant of God and one who was sent to prepare the way.  Preparing the way is our calling also.  Prepare the way in your heart through prayer.  Prepare the way in the world by telling others of God’s love.  Prepare the way in the world by working to implement just systems where there are fewer victims and fewer big winners. Prepare the way by speaking up and correcting the Christian message in love, especially when it is misused to further the way of hatred, war and fear.  Prepare the way by bringing the message of Grace into a world that all too often sees and hears the Christian message as one of hate and self-righteousness.  Speak up, Act out, and Prepare the way.  

fear not

Saturday December 13th Mark 1: 8I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."  John baptized with water to cleanse our hearts.  Jesus calls us to a baptism with the Holy Spirit that not only cleanses, but changes and fills our hearts with love and grace.  This is not a one-time dunking, but an ongoing day after day renewal upon renewal journey. Go forth from here and spread the word of God’s love and grace in what you say and in what you do.  Prepare the way this Advent/Christmas season with acts of love and the promotion of peace and justice in the world.  Prepare the way until the world finally hears the message to fear not.  


10wfor November 30th, Wait and Watch, A1.

The following is a 10 minute worship for November 30th, Wait and Watch, A1. You can listen on the flash player below. You now also have the option of receiving these notices each week and on festival days by signing up for the 10W constant contact email list on the right side of the 10W blog where it says "Please Join our Email List. The song of the week is: The song of the week is “Don’t wait " by Bryan Sirchio from the CD "Something Beautiful for God"  http://www.sirchio.com/index.php?page=cds&viewas=list


10w for November 30th, Happy Feet Habakkuk, NL.

The following is a 10 minute worship for November 30th, Happy Feet Habakkuk, NL. You can listen on the flash player below. You now also have the option of receiving these notices each week and on festival days by signing up for the 10W constant contact email list on the right side of the 10W blog where it says "Please Join our Email List. The song of the week is: The song of the week is "Dream God’s Dream" by Dakota Road from the CD "Boundless Love"  http://www.dakotaroadmusic.com/index.php?p=catalog&parent=4&pg=1


Opening Litany based on Psalm 80:7-15

Pastor: Restore us, God Almighty; make your face shine on us, that we may be saved.

Congregation: You liberated your people from slavery in the land of the Pharaohs.  You gave them a great land and a great calling, just as you have given us a great land and a great calling.  You blessed them with abundance as you have blessed us with abundance.  

Pastor: Why then O Lord have you broken down the walls so that all who pass by may pick its grapes? Why O Lord do you let the wild things and insects ravage and feed upon the abundance you have blessed us with?

Congregation: Return to us, God Almighty! Look to us from your heavenly realm and watch over this blessing you have planted, the children of God you have called your own, and help us in turn return to You as the cornerstone of our lives. 

Poem based on 1st Advent Mark 13:24-31

With the tribulation upon us
And all the heavens
And earth crashing down around us
We stand
Knowing the God of love
Knowing the promises of God
That the God of Abraham and Hagar and Sarah and Keturah
Isaac and Rebekah
Jacob and Leah and Rachel and Bilhah and Zilpah and Paddan Aram
Esau and Judith
Will be our God
And we will be God’s people
Even in these times
When all we know comes crashing down
The God of creation
Will be our God
Beyond the realm of time
Tribe, class, nation
Beyond all the limitations that seem so real

Only to us

just a glimpse

Sunday November 30th Isaiah 64:  3 For when you did awesome things that we did not expect, you came down, and the mountains trembled before you.  4 Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him. This is the expectation of Isaiah.  When God returned to earth, it would be a show of force such as the world had never seen.  The sky would turn, the mountains tremble, everyone would tremble and know that God was coming and everyone would know whose God it was that was coming.  God however had a different idea. Instead of might and awesome power, it was a baby in a manger.  Sometimes we also want a God of Might and Anger not night and manger.  Sometimes we want a God who will show all those others who is Right with a capital “R".  But then, sometimes we get just a glimpse of how tough God really is.  Sometimes we get a glimpse of the loving God Immanuel, and Oh how much harder it is to come as a loving God in a manger rather than the mighty God in anger.  It is then we know that God calls us to that kind of toughness also, the toughness that can only come through gentleness and love.

let God

Monday December 1st,  Isaiah 64:  7 No one calls on your name or strives to lay hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us and made us waste away because of our sins.  8 Yet, O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.  When God seemed distant from the people of Israel, they often used the imagery of God’s face being hidden.  What was hidden however was not God’s face but their eyes and hearts and souls, much as it is with us today.  When God seems distant, it is usually because we are looking the wrong way, inward to the self instead of outward at those in need.   The solution is to stop trying to run the show ourselves and let God take control.  Instead of the clay telling the potter what it should look like and function as, perhaps the clay should let the potter be the one who forms what will be.  Our job is to not fight what we were called to be.  From dust we came and to dust we shall return, but in the meantime, God has been able to form that dust into vessels of beauty, function and form, which is what happens when we let God be God.   It is when someone lets God be God in their lives that we call them the saints.  God simply calls them the children of God.  It is most of us sometimes and some of us most of the time.  

grace shines

Tuesday December 2nd, 1 Corinthians 1: 4I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. 5For in him you have been enriched in every way—in all your speaking and in all your knowledge— 6because our testimony about Christ was confirmed in you.  When we shine, it is the light of Christ shining in and through us.  I thank God for all the saints that surround my life.  I thank God for the simple and graceful ways God shines through you.  I thank God for the grace God has given you.  I thank God for the times when that grace shines through you to others as well as to myself.  There are times when the community seems to sparkle because of this gift of grace.  As the first candle in the advent wreath signifies “Hope”, may the grace of God bring hope to the world around you, and through you, today.  Amen!

That humming we hear

Wednesday December 3rd, 1 Corinthians 1: 7Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed.  Every congregation is given the spiritual gifts it needs to be a vessel for God’s love and grace in the community in which they are planted.  The roadblock most often is the way we keep pushing our perceived gifts rather than the gifts God has given us as a community of faith.  A sailboat can fight against the wind and make some headway, but it is a thing of beauty when catches full sail and gets up on step.  At that moment it becomes what it was intended to be from its very conception, and the sails and the ropes literally hum with excitement.  God intends something like that for us also.  It happens when we stop fighting God’s leading and turn and let the Holy Spirit catch our sails.  That humming we hear is what some would call angels singing.  

God acts

Thursday December 4th, Mark 1st 13: 26"And then they'll see the Son of Man enter in grand style, his Arrival filling the sky--no one will miss it! 27He'll dispatch the angels; they will pull in the chosen from the four winds, from pole to pole. The expectations in Isaiah were fulfilled in the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem.  Not by the Christ, but by all the angels who knew from before time what this event meant for the world.  In Mark’s Gospel we find similar expectations.  What will it be like when the Son of Man returns?  Will there be the “Left Behind” scenario where only a few are chosen and the many left behind?  Are the chosen only the hundred and forty four thousand, the frozen chosen, the right believers?  Listen to the Emmanuel, God with us version in which a babe is born in a manger and brings salvation to the whole world.  This is the way God acts in the world.  However, even with the Emmanuel version, it is always a good idea to live ready. 

looking for signs

Friday December 5th, Mark 13: 28"Take a lesson from the fig tree. From the moment you notice its buds form, the merest hint of green, you know summer's just around the corner. 29And so it is with you. When you see all these things, you know he is at the door. 30Don't take this lightly. I'm not just saying this for some future generation, but for this one, too--these things will happen.  Each of us will face an end time in our lives.  Each of us is called to live a life that is a life of being ready all the time.  For those who spend their time looking for signs of the end, they can find them in one way or another each and every day in the history of humanity, and will continue to find them as events unfold before us generation upon generation, it may be in God’s word, but it is not God’s way.  For those who live their lives bathed in the love and grace of the babe in Bethlehem, each day brings a new opportunity to live in, and show others, God’s grace.  Perhaps that is what the scriptures mean when they tell us to be ready.  Perhaps that is what the King was referring to in Matthew 25.  When you live in love, you live ready and most the time are not aware of it.  It is no longer a matter of what you do, it is a matter of whose you are.

live ready

Saturday December 6th, Mark 13:  32"But the exact day and hour? No one knows that, not even heaven's angels, not even the Son. Only the Father. 33So keep a sharp lookout, for you don't know the timetable.  The only time you can be pretty sure is not “the” day and hour of the Lords coming, is the time most people agree is “the” day and “the” hour.  If you look ahead and try to figure it out so you can get ready, you miss all the fun of living as a child of God now.  It’s like a football player staying home and watching the game on TV so he can determine just the right time to suit up, drive to the stadium, run onto the field and win the game with the scoring touchdown.  The trouble is, he has missed all the practice, all the team interaction, all the other games and even if he gets to the game on time, will most likely not be allowed to play.  Don’t plan on getting ready, just live ready and enjoy the game, enjoy life.


10w for November 23rd, Ah, Lord, NL.

The following is a 10 minute worship for November 23rd, Ah, Lord, NL. You can listen on the flash player below. You now also have the option of receiving these notices each week and on festival days by signing up for the 10W constant contact email list on the right side of the 10W blog where it says "Please Join our Email List. The song of the week is: The song of the week is “Dream God’s Dream” by Bryan Sirchio from his album, J-Walking, used with permission.  You can find this album and others at his website www.sirchio.com

10w for November 23rd, Easy to understand.

The following is a 10 minute worship for November 23rd, Easy to understand.   You can listen on the flash player below. You now also have the option of receiving these notices each week and on festival days by signing up for the 10W constant contact email list on the right side of the 10W blog where it says "Please Join our Email List. The song of the week is: The song of the week is "No Hands But Yours" by Dakota Road from the CD, Break These Chains, used with permission.  http://www.dakotaroadmusic.com/index.php?p=catalog&parent=4&pg=1


Opening Litany based on Psalm 95


Pastor: Come People of God, let us sing for joy to the Lord and bring forth a joyful noise to the Rock of our salvation.

Congregation:  Let us come before the Lord with thanksgiving, music and song, for the LORD is the great God and the above all gods.

Pastor: The Lord holds the whole world in his hands, the depths of the earth, the peaks of the great mountains, the seas teaming with life and the very ground on which we walk and grow our food.  The Lord God has made them all. 

Congregation: Let us bow down in worship and kneel before the LORD our Maker; for the Lord is our God and creator of all, we are the people of God living in the beauty of this creation of God under the presence of our God's creating love and care.

Pastor: Hear the words of the Lord, let the spirit of the Lord guide your ways and your thoughts. Do not harden your hearts or close off your ears to the love and word of the Lord as did our ancestors long ago, for they tested the Lord even after being witnesses to the mighty acts of God's salvation.

Congregation: Lift your anger and judgment from us O Lord though we daily go astray from your ways.  Bring us again to the hope of your salvation so that we may indeed sing for joy to the Lord and bring forth a joyful noise to the Rock of our salvation.

Poem based on Matthew 25:31- 46

In the silence of the evening
Just before blessed sleep brings peace
The tomorrow plan begins
Mental notes
To do’s and timing
That fill the day
Bring those outgrown kids clothes to that lady at work
Three kids
And a nice card for what’s her names birthday
(did I see you)
Pick up some cans for the food drive
At church
And write the letter to the editor
(in prison)
On eliminating the death penalty
During my lunch
Sarah looked a bit down on Sunday
Tough times going through a divorce
Perhaps we could have her over for dinner
(a stranger)
I’ll give her a call tomorrow
Blessed be the lives too filled with grace
To notice



part of the binding up

Sunday November 23rd, Ezekiel 34: 15 I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down, declares the Sovereign LORD. 16 I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. It is a curious thing why the idea of building up the weak and destroying the strong and sleek is part of God’s plan. It does not fit with love your neighbor as yourself, as some of my neighbors, as well as myself, are the sleek and strong and well, maybe just a bit on the plump side as well. Indeed one could argue that the majority of the Lutheran church would fit into the category of the sleek and strong and sometimes just a bit plump. One could further argue that it is not just a Lutheran trend, but rather describes Churches, schools, Synagogues, and that Holiest of American institutions, the mall.  I think the discussion that follows should be how one becomes sleek and strong and sometimes a bit plump. Too often in the history of humanity the path to becoming sleek and strong is through the peril of those who are becoming rough and weak in the process. In our climb to the top, there are many unseen victims.  All economic systems, whether currently in vogue or not, tend to have winners and losers. What God seems to be concerned about in this text is those who are winners at the expense of losers. It is not a matter of what you have, it is a matter of who loses in the process of you getting what you have.  Another very important question is now that you have it what are you going to do with it. Now that you have, what are You, not someone else, going to do?? We can choose to be part of the binding up and strengthening, or the tearing down and weakening. You might want to ask yourself where God stands on those issues that stand before you before you act.

veal in the freezer

Monday November 24th, Ezekiel 34: I will judge between one sheep and another, and between rams and goats. 18 Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture? Must you also trample the rest of your pasture with your feet? Is it not enough for you to drink clear water? Must you also muddy the rest with your feet? 19 Must my flock feed on what you have trampled and drink what you have muddied with your feet? This is the part of the text that is not included in the revised common lectionary.  I also feel it is one of the most graphic depictions of the issue and therefore include it in these meditations and in the reading for Sunday.  I grew up on a farm in Wisconsin; as such I have studied at least to some degree the social interaction of cattle.  They do not impress me as being smart.  They will trample and relieve themselves in the water hole so long as they can get a drink of clean water.  Concern for the future, or for others, is non-existent.  I have witnessed the larger stronger calves with a budding horn take a running start and knock the younger weaker calves flat on the ground in order to get more food now, or perhaps just to keep the weaker one from getting their fair share.  I confess that one time it roused in me such anger that in using a stick to control the situation our family ended up with veal in the freezer.  I sometimes wonder if God also gets angry at our trampling of the weak and hungry just to get more of what we already have too much of.  We can excuse the cattle as being dumb animals, but what excuse do we have when humanity does the same?  It is not a new problem; Ezekiel witnessed the same 2500 years ago.  On an individual basis we seem to be able to grasps the idea that we are social beings and decisions and behavior within a family affect others in that family, but do we carry that same wisdom into the world, into the market place, and into the church?  When moving headquarters off shore for tax purposes, when moving jobs overseas for economic purposes, when shopping in the big store rather than the locally owned for convenience, are we not doing the same as those cattle?  Are we not feeding our own desires without awareness, or a care, or how it affects others or in the long run, the society in which we live?  How we live in the world is not just about “us” with a small “u”, it is about “US” in the most plural of all views, Gods view.  And although I regret the veal situation, sometimes anger, and the resultant action associated with it, is the proper catalysts for change. 

blessings overflowing

Tuesday November 25th, Ephesians 1: 18 My prayer is that light will flood your hearts and that you will understand the hope that was given to you when God chose you. Then you will discover the glorious blessings that will be yours together with all of God's people. This is Paul’s prayer for the church at Ephesus and it is God’s prayer for us. God intends for all of us to be filled with the light of God’s love so much that it can’t help but to spill into the hearts and world around us. God intends for each and every one of us to become so fully aware of all the glorious blessings that surround each and every one of us that there is no choice but to share those blessings with others. We are called to hear the music of God’s love and grace and dance in such a way that the world around us catches the spirit and dances with us.  It is through blessings shared that we truly begin to see, know, and experience the blessings in our lives. It is my prayer for you that you will truly develop a mindfulness of all the blessings God has given you through the sharing of these blessings with others as God leads you to do. May our church be a place of blessings overflowing into the world around us, and may we dance! Amen.

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