Sherri's Message
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February 10, 2016, 10:48 AM

February 10, 2016

“Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
                                                            Service for Ash Wednesday

“And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.”
-- Hebrews 10:25

This morning’s news shared a story about places in Buffalo where people could drive-in to receive the imposition of ashes.  I think the intent is good- get out to where the people are rather than expect people to come into the church.  We need to do much more of that.

And I hate to be critical of Sisters and Brothers in Christ who are trying to reach out to everyone. My concern is this: why are these people receiving ashes?  Is it simply because it’s Ash Wednesday?  The reception of ashes is not a sacrament like Baptism or Holy Communion.  It is sacramental in that it’s an action that points us toward the Holy and our relationship with God.  There is nothing magical or special about receiving ashes.

My question is, how are these people who drive in and get a quick smear of ashes hearing the Good News?  In this day and age of “I’m spiritual, but not religious- I don’t like institutional religion” I’m wondering if offering something sacramental without the opportunity to hear the Gospel, without the opportunity to explore why today we are to consider our mortality, without the opportunity to gather as the Body of Christ, is a good thing.  Why encourage people to be spiritual in isolation?

 As we look for ways to reach out to the world, we need to take care.  Are we simply offering the actions without explaining why?  Part of being the Body of Christ is taking time for worship – to put God first.  Another part of being the Body of Christ is to gather together to encourage, teach and hold one another accountable.  Sharing the sacraments or sacramental actions without the community of faith is just going through the motions.

I pray that this Lent we will not just go through the motions, but will take the time to deepen our relationship with Christ and with one another. 

Prayerfully yours,
Sherri
 

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January 28, 2016, 12:30 PM

January 28, 2016

"Then the Lord did exactly what he had promised...It all happened at the time God had said it would."  Genesis 21:1,2

I've been pondering this verse all week. It's found around the story of Isaac's birth. Sarah, as we know, was way too old to have a child.  Nonetheless, she found herself a new mother at an advanced age.

Sarah's response was joyful laughter.  She said, "Who would have dreamed that I would ever have a baby - yet here is our son - at my advanced age!"

God is always faithful in keeping God's promises. And God is always on time. What does it say about our faith when we are surprised and amazed when God does what God says he will do?

I've been asking God to open my eyes to his faithfulness. I'm continually thankful that our God is faithful and like Sarah, we can take joy in it.

Where has God been faithful in your life this week? 

Grace and peace,

Sherri

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January 14, 2016, 9:00 AM

January 14, 2016

Be Still and Know

The weather of the past few days has forced us into changing plans, cancelling meetings and rearranging our lives. Some have even had the joy of a snow day – unexpected free time that allows for recreation.

Snow days limit our mobility and force us to be confined close to home. What a great opportunity to retreat and spend time with God. It’s too bad we have to wait for inclement weather to make space for rest and renewal.

I remember Dr. Brian Babcock reflecting on Psalm 23 and the words, “He makes me lie down in green pastures.” Dr. Babcock emphasized that sometimes God makes us lie down, and that experience can be traumatic, such as an illness or other crisis. Dr. Babcock stated that if we take seriously the command of Sabbath, God may not have to make us take a break.

During these cold snowy days, I pray you will take time to pause and connect with the One who loves us so much and in doing so, your spirit is refreshed in the stillness of knowing God. Be safe out there!

We are so excited about our District Training Day on February 20th! This training is for both laity and clergy.  Please mark your calendars and watch for the brochure.  We’re working to bring great workshop leaders to the Cornerstone district who will offer practical tools you can take home and implement!  Please plan to attend!  

Grace and peace,

Sherri

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January 6, 2016, 9:13 AM

January 6, 2016

Today is the feast of the Epiphany, the day we remember the magi who traveled from the east, following a star, in search of the Messiah.

I’ve been pondering the magi, astronomers who paid attention to the stars, and who made a pilgrimage that eventually led to Jesus. Kevin Codd says that a pilgrim is, “one who travels to a holy place, a place where God seems especially close.” The remarkable thing about the magi is that they did not come seeking something from Jesus, but simply to acknowledge his identity and honor him.

So often we only come to Jesus looking for something. When was the last time you simply opened your heart in wonder to Jesus? How will you come close to God today? What gift will you bring?

Prayerfully yours,

Sherri

 




December 10, 2015, 8:41 AM

December 10, 2015

Joseph was Obedient

Joseph was a man of great compassion.  When Mary told him of her pregnancy, he could have had her stoned to death.  Instead, he chose the compassionate route. Instead of disgracing her publically, he decided to divorce her quietly.

Who can argue with Joseph?  The woman to whom he was betrothed tells him she is expecting a child and this outrageous story of how it happened!  Out of what we can assume is care for Mary, as well as self-preservation, he decides to release her from their marriage contract.

Then Joseph has a powerful dream with a message from an angel, confirming Mary’s story.  In spite of his plan, Joseph changes course and is obedient to God.  He takes Mary as his wife as the angel commands.

Is God asking you to move in a different direction from your carefully made plans? What will you do?

Prayerfully yours,

Sherri

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