Easter: Jesus/God as Gardener – Earth Day

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Easter doesn’t often fall this close to Earth Day. But these two celebrations coming a day apart invite us to pay closer attention to the holiness of the earth, and the earthiness of Easter. The four gospels offer a different lens of encounters with the resurrected Christ. In Matthew, the resurrection resembles a theophany—with earthquake […]

The Seven Deadly Needs – The Need to Be Right

Excerpts of Acts 15: Paul & Barnabas part ways – The Need to be Right Our Worship theme for Lent is based on a book written by Edward Bear called:  “The Seven Deadly Needs”. Some of these habits or needs can keep us from fully accepting ourselves as God does, or get in the way […]

The Seven Deadly Needs – The Need to Know

Our Worship theme for Lent is based on a book written by Edward Bear called:  “The Seven Deadly Needs” –  kind of a spin-off from the ancient “Seven Deadly Sins”.  The Seven Deadly Needs include the Need to Know, to Be Right, to Get Even, to Look Good, to Judge, to Keep Score, and to […]

Transfiguration / Sermon after General Conference 2019

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Most of you know that UCUP is affiliated with two different denominations – UCC & UMC. We have lived together for 49 years – holding the tension of the different ways each denomination operates. Some of you joined this church specifically because of its affiliation with one of those denominations.  Some of you are a […]

Like a Tree Planted by the Water

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These blessings and curses are really hard to hear, aren’t they?  At first reading, or hearing, we have to wonder at the harshness.  One is either happy or filled with woe, blessed or cursed.  But it seems to me that today’s scriptures are about the importance of relationships, both to God and to each other.  […]

Into the Deep

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Do you remember learning how to swim? And the first time you went into deeper water?  I don’t remember if it was the FIRST time, but when I was 4, my family took a road trip to southern CA. We stopped at a motel that had not only a swimming pool which is not so […]

Love as action, not feeling – I Corinthians 13

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Most people know these words from wedding ceremonies, celebrating the spiritual bond of love between two people. They are often spoken to unify two individuals for a lifelong journey of faithful marriage. Except this chapter, considered to be one of the most beautiful chapters in the Bible and other literature, was not written with the […]

Jesus welcomed and rejected in his hometown

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Who says you can’t go home again? It’s a Sabbath day soon after Jesus’s baptism and temptation in the wilderness. Filled with the power of the Spirit,”Jesus receives a warm welcome in synagogue after synagogue, extending to his hometown synagogue in Nazareth. An attendant hands Jesus the scroll;  and he reads from the prophet Isaiah: The Spirit […]

What Concern is that to Me?   Water Into Wine.

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Until 2-3 weeks ago, I always equated Epiphany with a bright star leading the Magi with their gifts to the Christ child. And while that HAS been the emphasis of the Western Church, the Eastern Church primarily focused on two events of Jesus’ ministry in Epiphany themes – Baptism and transformation of water into wine […]

Beloved of God

Always in the liturgical year on the first Sunday AFTER Epiphany we are invited to remember the Baptism of Jesus – this recognition of being Beloved by God, how God’s favor rested upon Jesus.  And in this church, on this Sunday, the whole congregation is invited, to ponder our belovedness in God, and how God’s […]