Category: Thursday Thoughts

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

 

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

Thursday Thoughts December 24, 2020

Thursday Thoughts December 24, 2020

CLICK HERE to read the Thursday, December 24 Thursday Thoughts

December 24, 2020

Dear Congregation:

Tonight, as we welcome the birth of Jesus, remembering and celebrating that God is with us, may we be blessed with these words:

In the beginning, the Word;

the Word was in God’s presence,

and the Word was God.

The Word was present to God from the beginning.

Through the Word all things came into being….

In the Word was life, and that life was humanity’s light-

a Light that shines in the night,

a Light that the night has never overtaken.

Go forth to witness to the Light, to the Word,

to the Glory of God dwelling in us;

Go forth to live in grace and truth.

(Rev. Susan A. Blain, Minister for Worship and Gospel Arts, Justice and Local Church Ministries, Faith INFO Team, UCC)

 

May you be blessed with the wonder of Christmas and the good news of light shining into our lives.  The light of Christ shines and nothing, absolutely nothing, can ever put it out.

 

Worship Notes              

                        Christmas Eve Services

5:30 p.m.   Children’s Service in the main sanctuary (live streamed)

7:30 p.m.    Candlelight & Carol Service in the main sanctuary (live streamed)

10:30 p.m.  Christmas Eve Communion Service (Trinity Chapel)

 

            First Sunday After Christmas   December 27

Our first reading is from Isaiah 61:10—62:3. In this portion of the long book of Isaiah, we read of the people’s return from exile, and encounter recurring themes of justice and righteousness, as well as the overarching theme of salvation. The prophet emphasizes God’s message of forgiveness, consolation, and hope, revealing God’s plan of blessing and salvation. The Gospel lesson is from Luke 2:22–40 resounds with the salvation theme as the righteous and devout man Simeon encounters the newborn Christ child and breaks into his song of praise.

The service will conclude with the “Letting Go and Letting God” ceremony.  This is a time when the congregation will be invited to write down on a piece of paper those things which each person wants to let go of from the old year of 2020, receive God’s grace and move into the new year with divine blessing and hope.  The dissolving pieces of paper will be placed in a bowl of water at the front of the chancel.

 

Food for Thought:              

“Joy to the world!”  Anyone for whom this sound is foreign, or who hears in it nothing but weak enthusiasm, has not yet really heard the gospel. For the sake of humankind, Jesus Christ became a human being in a stable in Bethlehem: Rejoice, O Christendom! For sinners, Jesus Christ became a companion of tax collectors and prostitutes: Rejoice, O Christendom! For the condemned, Jesus Christ was condemned to the cross on Golgotha: Rejoice, O Christendom! For all of us, Jesus Christ was resurrected to life: Rejoice, O Christendom! … All over the world today people are asking: Where is the path to joy? The church of Christ answers loudly: Jesus is our joy! (1 Pet. l:7-9). Joy to the world!   (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

 

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

 

Thursday Thoughts, December 17, 2020

Thursday Thoughts, December 17, 2020

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ THURSDAY THOUGHTS FOR DECEMBER 17

 

Dear Congregation:

Jesus said, “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”  (Matthew 11: 28)

Tonight you are invited to bring your weary self, and your burdens to our Longest Night Service.  The service will begin at 7:30 in the main sanctuary and will also be live streamed.  There will be gentle music, readings, and a time for quiet reflection.  There will also be an opportunity to light a candle in memory of a loved one, as a sign of hope.  A time of refreshment and fellowship will follow the service.

“Here is a helpful reminder to all who fear the dark. Darkness does not come from a different place than light; it is not presided over by a different God. The long nights of Advent and the early mornings of Easter both point us toward the God for whom darkness and light are alike. Both are fertile seasons for those who walk by faith and not by sight.   Even in the dark, the seed sprouts and grows—we know not how—while God goes on giving birth to the truly human in Christ and in us.”   (Barbara Brown Taylor)

 

Worship Notes               Fourth Sunday in Advent

As the Advent season draws to a close, we celebrate our annual lessons and carols service with our college students reading the scriptures.

 

Food for Thought:               Dark Moments — by Ann Lewin, UK

A reflection on Dame Julian of Norwich’s text from Revelations of Divine Love:

‘All shall be well. You shall see yourself that all things shall be well. That which is impossible for you is not impossible for me. I shall keep my word in all things and I shall make all things well.’

 

‘All shall be well’…

She must have said that

Sometimes through gritted teeth.

Surely she knew the moments

When fear gnaws at trust,

The future loses shape,

Gethsemane?

 

The courage that says

‘All shall be well’

Doesn’t mean feeling no fear,

But facing it, trusting

God won’t let go.

 

‘All shall be well’

Doesn’t deny present experience,

But roots it deep

In the faithfulness of God,

Whose will and gift is life.

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

 

Thursday’s Thoughts, December 3, 2020

Thursday’s Thoughts, December 3, 2020

CLICK HERE for the December 3, 2020 Thursday Thoughts

This week’s Thursday Thoughts is written by the co-chairs of the Mission and Social Action Committee, Rebecca Shillingburg and Colleen Baldree.    They wish to provide information about an item on the agenda for the congregational meeting on December 13th.

At the recommendation of the Mission & Social Action Committee, the Consistory approved bringing the following statement to the congregation:

“We, the members of Evangelical Reformed United Church of Christ, declaring that Black lives matter and acknowledging our complicity in systemic racism toward all people of color, commit to be an authentic reflection of God’s promises of peace through justice for all by working to become antiracist in all ministries of word, welcome, and deed.”

Our statement reflects our growing awareness of systemic racism and our call as Christians to work “to become antiracist.” ERUCC has begun this work with many opportunities to discuss and learn about racial injustice. Current events and ERUCC’s opportunities to learn and discuss what it means to be antiracist have awakened many of our members to the racial injustice that exists in our country today. We recognize how difficult this conversation can be, but together we can be the change our world needs. This is our opportunity to live into our call to be the church!

Rebecca Shillingburg and Colleen Baldree, Mission & Social Action Committee Co-Chairs

 

Worship Notes               Second Sunday in Advent

On this Second Sunday in Advent, the prophet Isaiah prophet proclaims to Israel that despite their present circumstances, God has not abandoned them.   Isaiah 40: 1-11 describes how we are as vulnerable as grass, and therefore we are at the mercy of forces beyond human control.  Yet God does intervene with salvation and deliverance.  John the Baptizer opens Mark’s Gospel with a scorching sermon in the Judean wilderness.  John calls people to change and, as a sign of that change, to submit to a baptism for repentance of sins as we read Mark 1: 1-8.                                                                                       We will share communion this morning.  If you are worshipping at home, please prepare bread or crackers along with a cup of wine, juice, or water for communion.  You are also invited to light the second candle on your advent wreaths as we light the candles in the sanctuary.

Food for Thought:               Prayer for Advent (Written by Kevin Coyle)

We approach this Advent season with trepidation. This winter will be hard on all of us for many of us are apart, unable to visit each other or suffering from this affliction or that. In this midst of all this turmoil, remind us that we are not alone. We cannot know for sure what will transpire in months ahead, but Your work is never done. There is always more we can do. Even as earthly troubles can seem insurmountable, You showed the power of little acts from the heart. You showed how sitting at a dinner table conversing with outcasts or laboring to fix a home, can make a difference. Above all, You showed what one person can do, when they are moved by faith and love, even in a world where injustices, hardships, and afflictions abound. As we move into this new month, dealing with our own struggles here, be with us, breaking through into our lives in unexpected moments as we move through these days of yearning, remembering, and waiting.

 

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

 

Thursday Thoughts, October 29

Thursday Thoughts, October 29

CLICK HERE to read Thursday Thoughts for October 29, 2020.

October 29,  2020

Dear Congregation:

In my sermon on October 11, I referred to a 1937 photo of shipyard workers in Hamburg offering the Nazi salute.  There was one man in the crowd who is pictured as having his arms folded, not participating with the crowd.  I encouraged us to be like that man,

Pastor Emeritus Fred Wenner sent an email connecting this story with Fran Wenner’s family.  I share it with you, with their permission:

In 2008, Fran and I, along with one of her brothers and his spouse, spent a couple weeks in Germany exploring places related to her family’s history. In the town of Thaleischweiler-Fröschen in the Palatinate we found a handwritten note from 1737 that confirmed family lore that a young blacksmith, Reinhard Alspach, had impregnated a teen-aged girl named Magdalena. They were effectively kicked out of Germany and emigrated to America, but not before they were married in the town’s Protestant Church.

            Here’s were Fran’s story and your sermon converge. When we approached that old church (1st photo), we were struck by a bronze plaque next to the church door (2nd photo). A translation of the plaque follows:

            HEINZ WILHELMY               

March 6, 1906 — May 16, 1980

From 1933 to 1953 Heinz Wilhelmy was pastor of the Protestant parish of Thaleischweiler. He was one of the few pastors in the Palatinate who courageously opposed the National Socialists (Nazis). In his sermons, he publicly denounced their godless and inhumane ideology. For him the standard was the biblical Word. Beginning in 1935 he was an active member of the Confessing Church. From 1953 until his retirement in 1969, he developed a strong program of Men’s Work for the congregations of the regional church of the Palatinate.

Imagine discovering this bit of family history — 200 years after the Alspach’s left Germany, the pastor of the church where Reinhard and Magdalena were married boldly preached the Gospel and “did not salute” the Nazi flag. In that place and in that time, he may have been the only one.

            That’s our story, brought back to life by the story you told on October 11. Thanks for triggering this bit of family history.

 

 

Thursday THoughts, October 22, 2020

Thursday THoughts, October 22, 2020

CLICK HERE to read Thursday Thoughts for October 22, 2020.

Dear Congregation:
From the Stewardship/Generosity Committee – Faces of Love
This Sunday we will bring our month’s spiritual journey to completion as we pledge our financial commitment to the mission and ministries of ERUCC for the coming year.
As we offer our pledges, we invite people also to reflect on what God is calling you to give or do this year as a renewal of your commitment to continue to grow in faith and love. What is one step that you might take?
At the 10:30 Service, Felecia Bishop will speak, after which we will offer our pledges and commitments. There will be paper, post-it hearts you can use to write down the step you have chosen and place it in the plate along with the pledge cards and offerings. Since there are no longer pencils in the pews, please bring something to write with.
To celebrate this day of appreciation and commitment, a boxed, tasty treat for each family member will await you after the 8:30 and 10:30 services and at our socially distanced “Consecration Sunday Drive-by” between noon and 2 p.m. During this time our gloved and masked team members will safely greet you with your treat and a cheery welcome! Please enter the church parking lot from West Church Street. You can then exit through the alley to West Second Street. If you are not able to pick up your treat in person, let us know and we will deliver it to your home.
If you need a gluten-free option or need it delivered to your home, email, call, or text David Howard, dehowardcello@gmail.com; 202-841-5061.
Pledges can also be dropped off on Sunday, during the 12-2 drive-by
YOU are the Faces of Love. Our bulletin covers have reflected some faces; please be sure to add your face to these images. We are all the church together.

Worship Notes
As the community of Jesus’ disciples, we are called to find ways to proclaim the love of God to our neighbors. The Gospel lesson in Matthew 22: 34-46 reminds the emerging Christian community of Jesus’ rules – unconditional love for God and neighbor. Today’s reading from the Hebrew scriptures, Deuteronomy 34: 1-12, brings to an end the life of Moses. He is given a glimpse of the promised land, but he will not cross over into it. Felecia Bishop will be speaking as part of our Faces of Love campaign. We will also be dedicating our pledges for our 2021 financial support of the mission and ministry of ERUCC. Pledges can be made in person, via the web page, via mail, or dropped off at the church office or brought to worship this Sunday to be received during the offering.
Don’t forget to come by the church between noon and 2 to pick up your tasty treat lovingly prepared by David Howard. A thank you for your ongoing prayer and support.
Food for Thought:
“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” (Soren Kierkegaard)

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

 

Thursday THoughts, October 15, 2020

Thursday THoughts, October 15, 2020

CLICK HERE to read Thursday Thoughts for October 15, 2020

 

Dear Congregation:

Do you have your ballot?  Do you know how to vote?  Would you be willing to join an energetic group of people trying to get as many people to the polls as possible?  Please join us on Friday evening as we celebrate our right to vote and the importance of participating in our democratic process.  This Friday, October 16th,  we will welcome musicians from the Frederick School of Rock, Pizza Llama, and Jay Mason from the FCPS Board of Education.

The ERUCC Faith and Democracy group completed 3000 postcards that were handwritten and sent to voters in Georgia, encouraging these voters to get to the polls.  We’re hoping that the record turn-out for early voting in that state can be attributed, in part, to the efforts of our work and that of others.

Many in the congregation are working with various groups such as the League of Women Voters to get out the vote.  These efforts include committing  to or encouraging at least  three friends to vote on or before Election Day. Because of the changing rules and procedures amidst the pandemic, it is more important than ever that we know our voting rights and that we have a plan vote.

I recognize that we, as individual members and friends of ERUCC, have a variety of thoughts and opinions with this election and with many other aspects of life.  What I really appreciate is our willingness to share those perspectives with one another.  It is not always easy to stay in community when we share differences of opinion but we are called to love one another as God has loved us.

Please continue to share your perspectives with me.  I sincerely want to learn what all of us value and how we can make ERUCC stronger and more welcoming as a community.  I also want us to explore how we can embody those values in the larger community of Frederick that we love.

 

Worship Notes               

In Exodus 33:12–23 , we are privy to a conversation between God and Moses. Reminiscent of last week’s struggle of the Hebrew people with an idea or presence of God vs. a tangible, physical god, Moses also asks for proof of God’s presence – to see what God looks like. Matthew 22:15–22 tells the story of discerning taxes, where the stamping of Caesar on the coinage settles the question – “Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s and unto God the things that are God’s” (v. 21). While this can be seen as an example of the separation of church and state it also harkens back to the wilderness experiences of discerning and following God’s guiding presence.

Food for Thought:   

           

“The thing about light is that it really isn’t yours; it’s what you gather and shine back. And it gets more power from reflectiveness; if you sit still and take it in, it fills your cup, and then you can give it off yourself.”   (Anne Lamott, Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith)

 

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

Thursday Thoughts, October 1, 2020

Thursday Thoughts, October 1, 2020

CLICK HERE TO READ THURSDAY THOUGHTS for October 1, 2020

 

Dear Congregation:
The Serenity Prayer is a prayer written by the American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr (1892–1971). God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.

I know that many of us are feeling overwhelmed, discouraged, frightened by daily life these days and it feels like there are many things we cannot change. Today and in the weeks ahead, I am inviting us to consider things we can change in our lives, things we can do to bring some peace into these chaotic days.
I invite us to consider a holy pause each day. Imagine the power of all of us pausing at noon, every day. Take a few moments to take a deep breath. Consider something for which you are grateful. Go outside and smell the fall air. Gaze at the changing colors on the trees.
A pause can help us reframe our day and perhaps even our attitude, move us away from negative thoughts, and give our bodies a chance to renew itself.
Here are some other thoughts on practices you may consider adopting in the weeks ahead. Limit your exposure to how much mews you are subject to – including TV, social media, newspapers. It’s clear that in the current climate that we are being torn apart as individuals, a community, and nation by the tone of discussions.
Practice gratitude. Write a letter or email or text to someone, giving thanks for their presence in your life. Make a list of people and things in your life that bring you joy. Take a moment to reframe your thinking by meditating on joy.
Pray or meditate asking for peace, guidance, wisdom.
Eat healthy. Feed your body with food that is nutritious and will make you feel better.
There is an old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy. “It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.”

 

He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”
The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”
May we feed ourselves with that which will bring us joy, hope, and peace.

Thursday Thoughts – September 10, 2020

Thursday Thoughts – September 10, 2020

CLICK HERE to read your Thursday, September 10, 2020 Thursday Thoughts.

 

Dear Congregation:

I am grateful for an energetic group of ERUCC members and friends who have committed themselves to getting people to the polls this November.  The UCC encourages its members and congregations to engage in voter registration drives, candidate forums, providing information on how to vote and in this year, the process for obtaining mail-in ballots.

The Rev. Traci Blackmon,  Associate General Minister of Justice & Local Church Ministries for The United Church of Christ, writes:  “For people of faith, the public arena we know as ‘politics’ represents much more than the partisan politicking we see on the news.  It is a means by which we live out the commandment to love our neighbor as ourselves.  Scripture reminds us over and over that building right relationship in human community and with God’s creation is an act inseparable from our relationship with God.  So, it is important for faith communities to engage in nonpartisan voter education and empowerment programs that help us reflect on our collective life and work to uplift the common good through the political process.”

No matter your opinion or political affiliation , your voice – your vote – matters and you deserve to be heard.