Category: Thursday Thoughts

Thursday Thoughts April 15, 2021

Thursday Thoughts April 15, 2021

CLICK HERE for your Thursday, April 15, 2021 Thursday Thoughts

April 15, 2021

Dear Congregation:

In last Sunday’s sermon, I reflected on how Jesus shows up, appears in person, walks through the locked doors of our hearts and minds and breathes new life and peace on us.  I reflected that Jesus appears every time words of hope, prayer, praise is shared by the followers of Jesus.  Jesus appears in person every time bread is broken, and people are fed.

Today, I give thaks for the ways in which our congregation and other congregations, are showing up for our community.  One of the many strengths of Frederick is the many ways in which businesses, non-profits, and government turn to the faith communities as partners in creating a healthier, safer, and more equitable Frederick.  In the past year, I have participated in discussions with members of the Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Frederick Partnership on equity and inclusion in our community.  The faith community has continued to be a voice for justice and care for our homeless population and the Hayward Road Emergency Family Shelter is a great example of partnership between churches, foundations, businesses, individuals, and government.  Most recently, I have participated in numerous discussions about equity and accessibility in the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.

The faith community brings a needed and necessary voice to these discussions and I am grateful that we are being included in the conversation.

Last week, 135 of our neighbors showed up at ERUCC to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.  ERUCC embodied the love and care of Jesus as we offered our usual hospitality.  People felt safe entering our building and their experience continued to be positive.  As we talked about prior to opening the new space, one of our core values was to offer radical hospitality for everyone who came through our doors, that we would see each person as a beloved child of God, and we would embody the love and care of Jesus.

Thanks, ERUCC, for the many ways you show up.

Worship Notes:          Love Means Showing Up

            Luke 24:36b–48 “Peace be with you.”

Here it is again – another story like last week from John’s gospel (John 20:19–31) when Jesus encounters the disciples after the Resurrection and greets them with a word of peace. This encounter, however, doesn’t seem to calm the disciples but stirs them up. When does being a Christ-like peace bearer stir things up?

Acts 3:12–19 recounts Peter’s sermon following his and John’s healing encounter with a person who has been lame since birth (v. 2).

Food for Thought:   

When there is shattered glass in my heart,

when the road is long and dull,

when the past has bent, the future vanished,

when I seem to walk from darkness toward darkness—

I pray not that the story be changed

but that my eyes be open

to you,

here beside us,

opening our eyes.

(Steve Garnaas-Holmes)

 

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 April 8, 2021

Thursday Thoughts April 8, 2021

CLICK HERE for the Thursday, April 8, 2021    THURSDAY THOUGHTS

Dear Congregation:

We are in the process of working on the annual report for 2020. As leaders of various committees and groups and staff prepared reports, it was clear that even in the midst of the pandemic restrictions, ERUCC was able to be the church.

Our re-opening team provided guidance for our church activities as well as how we could safely provide space for community groups.  As you know, we see our buildings as an extension of our ministry to a whole variety of groups and during the pandemic we were able to provide space when other buildings in the community were closed.

Yesterday, we were able to provide space for a vaccine clinic.  135 doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine were administered with many of the doses going to underserved members of our community.  While we had offered our space for a clinic as soon as vaccines were available, this opportunity came through our friends at Grace UCC who were unable to host the clinic.   It went so well that another clinic is planned for April 21st.

This clinic went well, due in large part, because of the work of Amy Gervase Aguilar, our church administrator extraordinaire.  There are few things that happen at ERUCC without her touch.  She maintains the schedule for the buildings and most times serves as the one who welcomes our guests.  Yesterday, was no exception as people were welcomed and honored.  While we have been unable to rent much space during the pandemic, Amy has figured out how we can rent out beautiful commercial kitchen.  Not only does this bring income to ERUCC, we are pivotal in empowering young people in starting up their catering and food truck businesses.

In the ERUCC email blast you received earlier this week, we thanked as many people as we could for their work and leadership in the past month or so.  I did not want the week to go by without calling special attention to Amy’s work and how grateful I am that she is with us.  May 1 marks her second span of four years working with ERUCC having previously been on staff from 2009 – 2013.   Will you join with me in thanking her?

Worship Notes:          Love Is a Response to Grace

                        John 20:19–31 “Peace be with you.”

In this story, Jesus appears to the disciples when they are locked away in fear and breathes upon them with a word of peace and empowerment.                                                                                                        Acts 4:32-35 describes how the early followers of Jesus were so unified that they shared their possessions and cared for another so that no was in need.  The Gospel lesson is from John 20: 19-31.  When Jesus appears to his followers after the resurrection he shows them his hands and side.  Then he breathed on them and blessed them with the Holy Spirit.  Thomas arrived later after Jesus had left and said he needed to see for himself.  Jesus came to be with them again when Thomas was with them and encouraged Thomas to touch his hands and sides.

Food for Thought:   

Though the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the      people, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.”   After he said   this, he showed them his hands and his side.                —John 20.19-20

 

The Damaged One emerges from trauma with peace.                                                           His wounds, his brokenness, evidence of what such peace endures.                                              Through doors of pain, walls of despair, he comes with peace.                                                           Yours, beloved, he comes through.                                                                                    Gravestone, locked door, unbelief do not keep him from you.                                         The wounds still gape. The room is fraught—  but he is not.                                                Now and yet to come, he’s here.                                                                                                         Now your pain can breathe.

            (Steve Garnaas-Holmes, www.unfoldinglight.net)

 

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, March 25 THURSDAY THOUGHTS

Thursday, March 25 THURSDAY THOUGHTS

CLICK HERE to read the Thursday, March 25 Thursday Thoughts.

March 25, 2021

Dear Congregation:

After hundreds of years of slavery, it is the Israelites’ final night in Egypt before leaving for their long journey to freedom.  Moses stands before the people and instructs them to tell their children to remember and tell their story of how God led them from bondage into a new land.  A book was created known as the Haggadah, which means “telling.”    The Haggadah is the script for the meal that our Jewish friends will celebrate beginning the night of March 27.

Mark Gerson, in the Wall Street Journal in his article, “Passover and the Power of Jewish Continuity,” writes, “As much as any other book [Haggadah], it has been responsible for assuring the continuity of Judaism. The Haggadah does this “horizontally,” by creating an experience that every Jew in the world shares at the same time, as well as “vertically” through history…If the Haggadah were just a holiday manual or a dinner program, it would have disappeared a long time ago…The Haggadah has enabled the Jews to tell the story of the Exodus to their children for more than 100 generations because it isn’t simply to be read.  Rather, the Haggadah involves a combination of activities: listening, speaking, being heard and responding anew.  It is truly a conversation, in which the participants converse with those at the same table those at Seders all over the world and those who sat at Seders in the distant past.”  (Saturday, March 20-21, 2021)

In the Christian tradition, we tell our sacred story of the last week of Jesus’ life through worship that begins on Palm Sunday.  We have rituals to enhance our telling of this sacred story as we wave palm branches to signify Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem.  We gather on Thursday and enact the last supper Jesus’ shared with the disciples and break bread together.  On Friday, we remember Jesus’ death on the cross.  Then, on Easter, we gather once again to celebrate Jesus’ rising from the dead and the gift of life.

This is our story and like our Jewish friends, we have the responsibility to remember the life and death of Jesus and share the story with our children.   Our retelling of the last week of Jesus’ life testifies to the work of God through Jesus and our life as a community of followers of Christ.

I invite you to join the journey through Holy Week once again.

 

 

 

Worship Notes:                               Palm Sunday

Mark 11:1–11 “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!”

This week marks the beginning of the week when we tell the story that is central to our faith.  It begins with Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, and continues with his arrest, trial, and death.  Next comes the Resurrection.  We will hear of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem as we read from Mark 11: 1-11 and then of his passion as we read from Mark 14 and 15.

Food for Thought:   

“Remember finally, that the ashes that were on your forehead are created from the burnt palms of last Palm Sunday. New beginnings invariably come from old false things that are allowed to die.”  (Richard Rohr)

 

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, March 18 Thursday Thoughts

Thursday, March 18 Thursday Thoughts

CLICK HERE for the MACH 18 THURSDAY THOUGHTS

 

March 18, 2021

Dear Congregation:

From the beginning of this pandemic, the church has vowed to be transparent with our communication.  I am grateful for the hard work of the re-=opening team last spring and the hours of work they put into envisioning how we could open up our buildings and worship in-person while providing options for people to remain at home.

Now that more of us are vaccinated, we are seeing an uptick in attendance for worship on Sunday mornings.

Even though some restrictions have been relaxed, the leadership of the church reminds you that when in the church buildings and worship we must wear our masks, maintain distance as we are seated, and refrain from singing.  We continue to encourage you to wash your hands frequently and to make use of the hand sanitizer we have available.

We are prepared to welcome more of you and your family and friends to worship.  Our deacons and greeters will be present on Sunday mornings to help you and others be seated so that we are able to maintain appropriate distancing.  A gentle note – they may not be able to seat you where you normally enjoy sitting.

We ask that you please enter through the front doors of the Keiffer (Church Street) Foyer where our greeters will warmly welcome you to ERUCC.  The parking lot remains available for those who have mobility challenges.

Worship Notes:               Fifth Sunday in Lent          God’s Love is on Our Hearts

Jeremiah 31:31–34 “I will write it on their hearts.”

Jeremiah’s words in 31: 31-34 offer assurance that deep in our hearts we will know God’s word and ways.  This is a week where we hear the words of hope spoken to a people wondering about their future.  In John 12: 20-22 we look at covenant and recognize that being in relationship requires more than simply the legalities.  Choices about living in God’s way are required.  However, God’s grace is continually offered.

Food for Thought:   

 

 

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, March 11, 2021

Thursday Thoughts, March 11, 2021

CLICK HERE to read THursday Thoughts for March 11, 2021

 

March 11, 2021

Dear Congregation:

I remember, as well as you, these days of a year ago.  Ken and I were all packed and ready to fly on a trip to Indonesia and Thailand with Global Ministries.  The trip was canceled on March 1st, the day prior to our flights.

On March 5, the Governor of Maryland declared a state of catastrophic health emergency.  At that time, there were to be no public gatherings of 250 or more.  But it did not pertain to religious gatherings.   So we planned to hold services on the 15th acknowledging the state of emergency our safety protocols.

In my Thursday Thoughts on March 12th, I wrote, “  We know, that the church community is a place of encouragement and refuge.  When there are so many things in the world causing concern and anxiety, the church is the place where many of us come to find meaning and understanding.”  I followed those words and information about our cleaning practices with words we have repeated over and over in this past year, “With all that being said, please use your judgment as to whether you feel comfortable coming to worship.   Remember that you can watch the service online.”

I remember three days of sleepless nights, agonizing over whether we really could be open or not.  Other congregations were closing and it seemed imminent that increased limitations for gatherings would soon be imposed.

March 15th, about 40 of us gathered in the sanctuary for what we knew would be our last in-person service for a while.  Several members were interviewed by the Frederick Newspost that day.  Colleen Baldree commented, “There’s so much chaos and concern and fear that has just bene growing and growing that I needed a grounding experience.  We needed to show support for one another but also just to be able to be reminded to not give in to the fear but to be reminded to rely on God and that we will be taken care of.”  Jenna Duranko commented, “In this time of chaos, honestly, church is definitely one of those places where people find comfort.”

As I look back on the past year, we, as a congregation, made a commitment to be the church.  Being the church did not rest solely on our ability to worship in the sanctuary or being physically present with each other in Bible study, Sunday School, and fellowship times.  We have been reminded over this past year that we are the church, no matter where we are.

Like many of you, I am still processing what we have experienced and learned over the past year.  Not just with the pandemic but also the other forces in our society that have shaped our lives – a volatile political climate and a renewed awareness of how many black people are killed on our streets and too often at the hands of those who have promised to protect us.

Yet, as Colleen and Jenna said, our faith and the church commuhnit6y has provided us with a grounding for dealing with the chaos of these days.  And the church will be there in the days ahead.

 

P.S.  Here’s a great article from The Atlantic that Jacqueline Messner shared with me that captures the essence of the grief we have experienced in the past year.

https://www.theatlantic.com/family/archive/2021/03/we-have-grieve-our-last-good-days/618233/

Worship Notes:               Fourth Sunday in Lent          One Great Hour of Sharing Sunday 

Isaiah 49:8–12 articulates a stunning vision for a world of justice and equity; a world where everyone has enough, and all live in safety and abundance. It is also a vision for a world of interconnectedness. In this vision, what is good for you is also good for your neighbor; what is good for one country is good for the whole world; and what harms any one of us harms us all.

This morning we will be receiving our One Great Hour of Sharing offering.

Food for Thought:   

“As it turns out, lines on a map don’t stop the spread of disease; a pandemic does not recognize human-made boundaries. Whether we like it or not, our lives are deeply intertwined. Our well-being is bound, inextricably, to that of neighbors close to home, and those halfway around the world.”  (From the One Great Hour of Sharing resources material.)

 

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 March 3, 2021

Thursday Thoughts March 3, 2021

CLICK HERE to read the Thursday, March 3, 2021 Thursday THoughts

 

March 4, 2021

Dear Congregation:

This comes to you while I am learning and playing with my clergy support group — Hal, Curran, and Jeff.   Five years ago, we were blessed to participate in a program named CREDO through the UCC health insurance program of the Pension Boards.   CREDO is a wellness program targeted to for clergy in mid-career to assess our spiritual, vocational physical and psychological, and financial health.   During the week-long program, we met as a large group for worship and presentations.  We were also assigned to a cohort group of four colleagues from across the country to share hopes and dreams and goals for continuing strong in ministry.

My small group has been in contact almost monthly since we first met in October of 2015.  We have met in person each year to play and learn and to find renewal and rest.  Our time together, it gives me a safe haven where four pastors serving very different congregations hold each other accountable to personal goals, celebrate successes, console each other in hard times, and encourage each other. We explore new ideas in an atmosphere of trust that sings with synergy, creativity, and honesty.

            I am grateful for this group of colleagues and friends and the time we have spent together.

Worship Notes:               Third Sunday in Lent

Psalm 19 “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O God.”

With the image of God as a rock, the end of the Psalm 19 uses an image from Creation for God that alludes back to the Creation language at the beginning of the psalm. Skies and rocks speak of God. The individual or leader who prays this psalm prays to live in dependence on God, and in harmony with all Creation.                                                                                                                                             John 2:13–22 speaks of Creation and justice in a different way. In the ancient world, the temple was understood as a microcosm of Creation. This relationship to Creation is evident in the architecture and decorations of the temple. Jesus cleansing the temple is a cleansing of Creation from injustice. In calling his body the temple, Christ holds together spirit and matter. The body is spiritual, is God’s temple. Christ’s body is a microcosm of Creation. If this is so, then Creation could be understood as the body of God.                                                                     We will share in Holy Communion this morning.  Have some bread and a cracker and a cup of water, wine or juice at your worship centers.

 

Food for Thought:   

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing.”  (George Bernard Shaw)

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 for February 25, 2021

Thursday Thoughts for February 25, 2021

CLICK HERE to read Thursday, February 25, 2021 Thoughts

 

February 25, 2021
Dear Congregation:
The weight of the anniversary of one year being in this time of pandemic is wearing on many of us including the knowledge that more than 500,000 people have died from COVID 19.
This week, I share a prayer by a favorite writer, UCC minister, Rev. Maren Tirabassi. Hope it comforts you as it did me.
Prayer for Grieving 500,000 Dead of Covid-19 in the US
Holy One, who blesses those that mourn and do not hurry into being comforted, we sit down into the loss of those we know, and those that now we’ll never have a chance to know. We grieve the stories they will not live, the songs they will not sing, the children they will not have, the hope they will not offer to those around them, the inventions they will not patent, the art, poetry, ink, music, shingling a house, legal argument, good tune-up and tire rotation, diagnosis, surgical procedure, gentle placement of a ventilator, dental cleaning, quilt, strawberry picking, produce counter stocking, life-guard undertow rescue, lullaby, recipe and vote that will never be made. We grieve the birthday candles on cakes they will never taste. We grieve for their parents and their children, their families, their colleagues and their friends. We grieve memories slipping away waiting for memorial services. We grieve that the very sadness ebbs away from weariness or the new whisper of good news. O God, our masks are wet with tears and our fingers shake holding balloons at nursing home windows. Comfort us, we pray. amen
Worship Notes: Second Sunday in Lent
Our first scripture reading for this Second Sunday in Lent is Genesis 17: 1-7, 15-16, and speaks to trust in God’s promises. Abram and Sarai are childless; yet God makes a covenant, promising Abram he will be the ancestor of many nations. In Mark 8: 31-38, Jesus and his disciples are near Caesarea Philippi. For the first time, Jesus teaches that he will suffer and die. Today we will be honoring our young people and their families involved with Scouting.
Food for Thought:
“Carve your name on hearts, not tombstones. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you.” –Shannon Alder
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, February 11, 2021

Thursday Thoughts, February 11, 2021

CLICK HERE for the Thursday, February 11 Thursday Thoughts

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

February 11, 2021

Dear Congregation:

On Super Bowl Sunday, our youth gathered to receive food donations and monetary donations for the Frederick food bank. The kids hadn’t seen each other in months. It was a beautiful day to be outside. There was snow from the morning providing the perfect opportunity for making a snowman and making snowballs and tossing them at each other.  The joy of seeing them together, wearing masks and staying physically apart, was a gift in an otherwise weary time.

I see that same joy whenever we have seen one another over these months.  When we gather for worship, when we meet for a Spiritual Walk, when people are delivering worship packets or stopping by the church office, I see the joy in being together.

In our hearts and minds, we know there’s always a risk when people gather. Even before the pandemic, we recognized the need to have clean bathrooms. When serving food, we pulled our hair back, washed our hands, and made sure we had gloves on.  When we did not feel well, we did not attend worship or a church gathering.

There is no magic day when we all of us will feel comfortable gathering together at one time.  Integrating ourselves back into the wider culture of gathering will take some time. For some of us, it will take longer than for others.

Our church and its leaders are committed to creating a safe space for gathering.  We will continue to honor your decision to come to activities in person — and to remain at home until you feel comfortable doing so.  I ask you to remember these values as part of our love of neighbor and to respect one another’s decisions to connect in a socially aware manner in person or online, understanding that, while different in approach, are both valid.

P.S.  Using our young people as an example, we all need to play and to laugh.  I am looking for someone/some people to plan some silly or playful activities for the coming months where we would be outside and able to social distance.  Use your imagination.  We have a beautiful patio area, high top tables, noisy musical things.

Worship Notes                

The Season after the Epiphany ends with the story of Jesus’ transfiguration in Mark 9: 2-9. This revealing of Jesus’ glory is a turning point, marking the end of Jesus’ ministry in Galilee and the beginning of the journey towards Jerusalem and the fate that awaits Jesus there. Just before today’s reading, Peter declares that Jesus is the Messiah. But Peter does not understand Jesus’ teaching about the kind of Messiah Jesus has come to be.                                                                                                     I John 4: 7-19 reminds us of the gift of love.

Norman Ross will be preaching this morning and Kim Sexton leading the liturgy.  The ERUCC singers will be reading scripture.

Food for Thought:   

            “Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.”   (Maya Angelou)

 

 

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, 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

 

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