Author: Amy Aguilar

Thursday Thoughts, February 4 2021

Thursday Thoughts, February 4 2021

CLICK HERE to read the Thursday Thoughts for February 4, 2021

 

February 4, 2021

The 10:30 service can be viewed online at:https://boxcast.tv/channel/bzioh0xyyacgq5fmjnoi

11:30 a.m. Virtual Fellowshiphttps://zoom.us/j/153605864?pwd=M2VSRjZsRDdFd1Q4bms0RExzam5SUT09&status=success PW:  007681

Dear Congregation:

The Tuesday morning Bible study group has been having a lively discussion on the parables of Jesus. This week we explored the parable of the laborers in the vineyard. In the story, a landowner hires various workers throughout the day. Some work all day. Some work half a day. Some work for an hour. At the end of the day they all get paid the same amount.
For many of us, the immediate reaction to this parable is, “Not fair!” We identify with those laborers who worked all day and then somebody else comes in and gets all the same credit. Brings back bad memories of group projects in school.

The parable is disturbing because it forces us to think outside the box of what is fair or not fair. Professor Amy Joe Levine, whose book we are using as a resource for this study, asks us to approach the parable with a different point of view. Can we think beyond what is fair or not fair? Can we consider the generosity of the landowner? Can we consider that everyone ought to have a daily wage sufficient for living? Can we look at this parable through the lens of justice?

She also raises a question about living in community. What may have prevented those first hired from saying to the landowner, “Hey, my friends over there need work, too.”
We spent a lot of time trying to wrap our heads around those perspectives. And especially about the perspective of a landowner who chooses to be generous and how we react when someone gets more than we do.

Whatever made us think that life is fair? I once heard a speaker say that we have to get over that concept because the more we try and make life fair the more frustrated we get. Life, as we know it, is not fair.

Levine asks us to focus on generosity. Sometimes we are the recipients of generosity that to others may not seem fair. At other times, we may be the ones who share and consider the others in our community who may need more in order to live.

What might our lives look like if we gazed through a lens of generosity and justice rather than fairness?

Worship Notes Fifth Sunday after Epiphany
The readings today affirm the importance of prayer in keeping our focus for ministry. Restored by God’s transforming love, we are reshaped as messengers of good news. In our Gospel lesson, Mark 1:29-39, as Jesus is seeking rest at the home of Simon and Andrew, he is called upon to heal Simon’s mother-in-law. Crowds begin to press in around the house, demanding more words and deeds of power from Jesus. Isaiah 40: 21-31 calls God’s people to remember that God – who created the universe and rules everything within it – is their source of strength. We will share in communion this morning.

Food for Thought:
“Fair doesn’t mean giving every child the same thing, but giving every child what he or she needs.” (Rick Lavoie)

Rev. Dr. Barbara Kershner Daniel, Senior Pastor
Evangelical Reformed Church, United Church of Christ
15 West Church Street, Frederick, MD 21701
301-662-2762
E-mail: bkdaniel@erucc.org

 

January 31 Bulletin

January 31 Bulletin

CLICK HERE for the Sunday, January 31 Bulletin

he 10:30 service can be viewed online at:https://boxcast.tv/view/sunday-january-31-2021-989406

11:30 a.m. Virtual Fellowshiphttps://zoom.us/j/153605864?pwd=M2VSRjZsRDdFd1Q4bms0RExzam5SUT09&status=success PW:  007681

Worship

Fourth Sunday after Epiphany
In the gospel lesson, Mark 1: 21-28, Jesus is revealed as one who speaks and acts with God’s authority. In the focus passage, Jesus teaches and casts out an unclean spirit.  God will provide wisdom, courage, and power to those whom God calls to lead. In Deuteronomy 18:15–20, an account from near the end of Moses’ life, Moses assures the people that God will raise up new prophets who will speak with God’s authority just as Moses has.

 

 

 

Thursday Thoughts January 28, 2021

Thursday Thoughts January 28, 2021

CLICK HERE to read the Thursday THoughts for January 28, 2021

 

January 28, 2021

The 10:30 service can be viewed online at:https://boxcast.tv/channel/bzioh0xyyacgq5fmjnoi

11:30 a.m. Virtual Fellowshiphttps://zoom.us/j/153605864?pwd=M2VSRjZsRDdFd1Q4bms0RExzam5SUT09&status=success PW:  007681

Dear Congregation:
I have been reflecting, a lot, on the theme of connections.  Walking on trails around Frederick, I see how the tree limbs intertwined and their roots tangle together underground and on top of the ground.  The Green Committee has been helping me see the connection between  my behavior, consumption, use and disposal of items affects the environment, including God’s people.  The COVID pandemic has caused all of us to consider how we are connected in pain and sorrow as we see so many fellow citizens suffering from the virus but also how we need to pay attention to our behaviors that affect the health and wellbeing of neighbors around us.I’ve also been reflecting how we are connected in community, in the church, in Frederick, in the USA, and the world as we heal and rebuild relationships.  As St. Paul instructs in the letter to Corinthians, we cannot say to one another, I have no need of you.  We are bound together.I’m currently reading a book titled, Braiding Sweetgrass.   Author, Robin Wall Kimmerer is a botanist and has been trained to ask questions of nature with the tools of science.  She is also a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation and embraces that plants and animals are among our oldest teachers.  Her book is filled with wonderful reflections of her learnings that help the reader to make connections between science and our human experience of nature.In the preface to the book, I was struck by her words about the process of braiding a basket out of sweetgrass.   As she described the process of the connection between the braiders and the braiding and the tension involved,  I found myself connecting her thoughts with the experience of what we will need to do as a country in these days.  We are connected and share a common bond with other citizens, no matter who they are and where they are on the political spectrum.  As citizens, we are connected and called to find ways to braid together our experiences, even in the midst of the tension.  That the tension helps to make the braid stronger but requires us working together.I invite you to reflect on her words and how they might speak to you today:

A sheaf of sweetgrass, bound at the end and divided into thirds, is ready to braid. In braiding sweetgrass so that it is smooth, glossy, and worthy of the gift-a certain amount of tension is needed. As any little girl with tight braids will tell you, you have to pull a bit. Of course you can do it yourself by tying one end to a chair, or by holding it in your teeth and braiding backward away from yourself-but the sweetest way is to have someone else hold the end so that you pull gently against each other, all the while leaning in, head to head, chatting and laughing, watching each other’s hands, one holding steady while the other shifts the slim bundles over one another, each in its turn. Linked by sweetgrass, there is reciprocity between you, linked by sweetgrass, the holder as vital as the braider… Will you hold the end of the bundle while I braid? And then I’ll hold it for you, while you braid, too.

Rev. Dr. Barbara Kershner Daniel, Senior Pastor
Evangelical Reformed Church, United Church of Christ
15 West Church Street, Frederick, MD 21701
301-662-2762
e-mail: bkdaniel@erucc.org
January 24, 2021 Weekly Bulletin

January 24, 2021 Weekly Bulletin

CLICK HERE for the weekly bulletin for January 24, 2021.

The 10:30 service can be viewed online at:https://boxcast.tv/channel/bzioh0xyyacgq5fmjnoi

11:30 a.m. Virtual Fellowshiphttps://zoom.us/j/153605864?pwd=M2VSRjZsRDdFd1Q4bms0RExzam5SUT09&status=success PW:  007681

 

Worship Notes                Third Sunday after Epiphany

            God calls many different people in many different ways.  In the Gospel lesson from Mark 1: 14-20, Jesus sees four fishers, and they immediately leave their nets in response to the call to “Follow me.”   Jonah 3:1–5, 10 is also a story of call. The prophet Jonah has already failed once to respond to God’s call. Now God calls Jonah a second time to go to Nineveh to preach a message of repentance. Because of this reluctant prophet, the people repent and acknowledge God. God’s mind is changed and Nineveh is saved.

January 21, 2021 THURSDAY THOUGHTS

January 21, 2021 THURSDAY THOUGHTS

CLICK HERE to read the January 21, 2021 Thursday Thoughts

 

January 21, 2021

Dear Congregation:

I hope you will find this benediction, written by the Rev. Dr. William Sloane Coffin for Riverside Church in NY City, as a blessing for these days.

May the Lord bless you

and keep you.

May God’s face

shine upon you and

be gracious unto you.

May God give you the grace

never to sell yourself short;

grace to risk something big

for something good;

grace to remember that the

world is too dangerous

for anything but truth and

too small for anything but love.

So, may God take your minds

and think through them;

may God take your lips

and speak through them;

may God take your hearts

and set them on fire.

May God look on you with joy

And give you peace.

Amen.

 

 

 

Worship Notes                Third Sunday after Epiphany

            God calls many different people in many different ways.  In the Gospel lesson from Mark 1: 14-20, Jesus sees four fishers, and they immediately leave their nets in response to the call to “Follow me.”   Jonah 3:1–5, 10 is also a story of call. The prophet Jonah has already failed once to respond to God’s call. Now God calls Jonah a second time to go to Nineveh to preach a message of repentance. Because of this reluctant prophet, the people repent and acknowledge God. God’s mind is changed and Nineveh is saved.

 

Food for Thought:              

“It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”  (Robert F. Kennedy 64TH US  Attorney General)

 

Rev. Dr. Barbara Kershner Daniel, Senior Pastor

Evangelical Reformed Church, United Church of Christ

15 West Church Street, Frederick, MD 21701

301-662-2762

E-mail: bkdaniel@erucc.org

 

Sunday, January 17, 2021 Bulletin

Sunday, January 17, 2021 Bulletin

CLICK HERE For the JANUARY 17, 2021 weekly bulletin

 

Worship Notes                 Second Sunday after Epiphany

In both the gospel lesson (John 1:43-51) and the Hebrew lesson (1 Samuel 3:1-10) we hear stories about God calling disciples.  Samuel recounts the classic story of God calling him in the night.  Samuel responds in the way most of us would want to respond: “Hear I am, Lord… “Speak, for your servant is listening.”   In John’s gospel, the only gospel to mention Nathaniel as a character in Jesus’ gathering up his disciples (note that Nathaniel was not counted as one of the 12 disciples), we hear the question put to Jesus about worth and value.  We hear Nathaniel wondering: “Can this guy from Nazareth be worth it?”  We might ask the same question:  Can anything of worth come out of our lives of faith, lived individually or lived together in the church in 2021?

Thursday Thoughts, January 14, 2021

Thursday Thoughts, January 14, 2021

CLICK HERE for the January 17, 2021 Thursday Thoughts

 

January 14, 2021

Dear Congregation:

I am holding on to hope.  I am hoping that wisdom and calm will prevail.  I am hoping that we, as a country, can find our way to reclaim our values of liberty and justice for all.  I am hoping that we can recognize that saying we were wrong is nor a moral failing but an act of courage and the opportunity to find a new way forward.

We will gather for worship on Sunday as we have done for over 275 years.  We will gather for prayer next week, with one another and members of the United Church of Christ.  We will invoke the power of the Holy Spirit to fall afresh on us and give us wisdom and courage for the living of these days.

I share a prayer for going on from Steve Garnaas-Holmes:

 Prayer for going on

Beloved, you have not given up on us.  Shine your light within us.

Crucified One, you have been here before. Sustain us with your presence.

Give us the wholeheartedness to mourn our brokenness and then to rise and get to work.

Give us the resilience to stay faithful, even in the shadow of evil, to do justice and to love mercy.

Loving One, lead us.

Redeem our fear, redirect our despair and revive our spirits.

Give us hope and dissatisfaction.

Give us strength and patience.

Give us humility and courage.

Give us love that will not quit in the face of evil.

Be among us, be with us, be in us.

Faithful God hold our hearts in yours, and grant us your peace.   Amen.

 

Worship Notes                 Second Sunday after Epiphany

In both the gospel lesson (John 1:43-51) and the Hebrew lesson (1 Samuel 3:1-10) we hear stories about God calling disciples.  Samuel recounts the classic story of God calling him in the night.  Samuel responds in the way most of us would want to respond: “Hear I am, Lord… “Speak, for your servant is listening.”   In John’s gospel, the only gospel to mention Nathaniel as a character in Jesus’ gathering up his disciples (note that Nathaniel was not counted as one of the 12 disciples), we hear the question put to Jesus about worth and value.  We hear Nathaniel wondering: “Can this guy from Nazareth be worth it?”  We might ask the same question:  Can anything of worth come out of our lives of faith, lived individually or lived together in the church in 2021?            

 

 

Rev. Dr. Barbara Kershner Daniel, Senior Pastor

Evangelical Reformed Church, United Church of Christ

15 West Church Street, Frederick, MD 21701

301-662-2762

E-mail: bkdaniel@erucc.org

Sunday, January 10 Worship Bulletin

Sunday, January 10 Worship Bulletin

CLICK HERE for the Sunday, January 10, 2021 Worship Bulletin

 

Worship Notes:         Baptism of Christ Sunday

Today is Baptism of Jesus Sunday, an invitation to enter into the mystery and wonder of Baptism. Baptism is important to our identity as Christians, as it is the defining moment in which we enter into the Christian family. This day invites reflection on the relationship between God and Jesus, defined in Jesus’ baptism as special and different from all other relationships. Consider what it means that God says to each of us, “You are my beloved child.”

Mark’s gospel is characterized by urgency – events happen at a rapid pace. In these opening verses, John the Baptizer bursts on the scene in our Gospel lesson, Mark 1: 4-11, with a shocking message: Israel must repent and return to God’s ways.  In the defining moment of baptism, there is a new beginning for Jesus and for all who would follow him in the days and years to come.

Genesis 1:1–5 gives a vivid picture of the work of God the creator. Water is an image of power, both life-giving and destructive. A wind from God (God’s Spirit) brings order out of the watery chaos. God creates by speaking and calls the creation “good.” Creation is beloved and God is pleased with it.

We will be reaffirming our baptisms this morning.   If you are worshipping at home, please have a small bowl of water at your worship centers.

Thursday Thoughts, January 7 2021

Thursday Thoughts, January 7 2021

CLICK HERE to read the Thursday, January 7, 2021 Thursday Thoughts

January 7, 2021

Dear Congregation:

Like you, I am still reeling from yesterday’s events.  I am trying to process all that I saw and heard and wondering where our country goes from here.

What is clear is that we need leadership in the nation, the world, our community, and our church that is willing to do the hard work of building relationships of trust and respect.  It is clear that we all need to take a deep breath and focus on the values we proclaim as people of faith and as a country.  Then, we must do the even harder work of standing up to bullying, injustice, misinformation, and attempts to create an alternative universe.

We have seen so much of what we value ridiculed, challenged, and yesterday we saw an attempt to destroy our democracy.

There can be no silence.  There can be no “I had no idea this was going on.”  There can be no sitting comfortably in our lazy boy chairs or watching from the sidelines.  We have the responsibility as citizens and as people of faith to do this hard work.

Stacey Abrams of Georgia spoke of how she has been working, for years, to go to where people are, to listen to them, to hear their concerns, and build relationships.  She admits that this is hard, time consuming work but it is the only way we can building a community.  And you know where she learned these skills?  From her parents.  Her clergy parents used this model as the way they met people and created church community.

We know how to do this work and we must do it.  Our lives depend on it.

Worship Notes:         Baptism of Christ Sunday

Today is Baptism of Jesus Sunday, an invitation to enter into the mystery and wonder of Baptism. Baptism is important to our identity as Christians, as it is the defining moment in which we enter into the Christian family. This day invites reflection on the relationship between God and Jesus, defined in Jesus’ baptism as special and different from all other relationships. Consider what it means that God says to each of us, “You are my beloved child.”

Mark’s gospel is characterized by urgency – events happen at a rapid pace. In these opening verses, John the Baptizer bursts on the scene in our Gospel lesson, Mark 1: 4-11, with a shocking message: Israel must repent and return to God’s ways.  In the defining moment of baptism, there is a new beginning for Jesus and for all who would follow him in the days and years to come.

Genesis 1:1–5 gives a vivid picture of the work of God the creator. Water is an image of power, both life-giving and destructive. A wind from God (God’s Spirit) brings order out of the watery chaos. God creates by speaking and calls the creation “good.” Creation is beloved and God is pleased with it.

We will be reaffirming our baptisms this morning.   If you are worshipping at home, please have a small bowl of water at your worship centers.

 

Food for Thought:              

“Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time.”   (Ruth Bader Ginsburg)

 

Rev. Dr. Barbara Kershner Daniel, Senior Pastor

Evangelical Reformed Church, United Church of Christ

15 West Church Street, Frederick, MD 21701

301-662-2762

E-mail: bkdaniel@erucc.org