Thought for the Day: This scripture describes the building of the Temple in Jerusalem, and it sure sounds as if it was gold from floor to ceiling and everywhere else. One of the words that catches my attention is the word: thresholds. Along with golden doors and walls, Solomon had the thresholds made of gold. This is one step above the doormat, yet Solomon wanted them to be of equal value with everything else. Thresholds were important, for they symbolized a passing from one place to another, an entering in while leaving something else behind. We often think of carrying someone over the threshold, and even though I was fearful that I might trip, I carried Donna over the threshold of our first house. I don’t believe one space is more sacred than another, yet as human beings we are defined by symbols and space and movement. There is something about stepping over a threshold, whether it is literal or figurative. Tonight, we will be stepping over the threshold of a new year. It is only a movement from one day to the next, the same exact thing we have been doing since the day we were born. But let’s be honest, there is something symbolic about leaving behind 2020. One second into 2021 is not going to look a whole lot different, except that we will all be a day older. Yet Solomon was right to line the Temple’s threshold with gold. There is something very sacred about crossing a threshold and entering into something new. May this year be filled with great hope and joy for the human race and the planet on which we live.
Prayer: With a spirit of expectation, Gracious God, we look to the possible, believing that you are about the work of making all things new. Amen.
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Thought for the Day: I remember a minister years ago saying, “Protect the fun!” I do not remember the context, and have no idea why that phrase has stuck with me after 35+ years. Yet right now, it is a good mantra to have. In a time when we are still unable to do a lot of the things we’d define as fun, we need to protect the fun we can have. It may not be our first choice, or even our second choice, but protecting the fun we can have is important. Some might even suggest it is life-giving. Protect it from the naysayers, specifically those who will want to tell you that if you can’t have fun the way you want to have fun then it is not fun. It is easy to get sucked into that thinking. Protect the fun, protect whatever silly thing you have discovered over the last ten months that provides a little giddiness for the heart. It might be a tad embarrassing, even juvenile. That’s ok! The author of the Proverb was on point when he wrote, “A cheerful heart is good medicine,” and right now we all need some good medicine for the soul.
Prayer: Gracious God, give me permission to set aside previous definitions of fun as I explore overlooked experiences that might provide a smile, a giggle, a spirit of playfulness, or a goofy feeling of delight. Let me be less concerned about what others may say. Instead, I wish to focus on what might bring a little healing to my heart. Amen.
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Thought for the Day: There are moments in life when the contrast between options could not be clearer. This verse depicts such a moment as King Herod represents the Roman Empire and its vision for the world, Jesus represents God’s vision for the world, and the Wise Men represent those who are presented with these two very different world views. The perspective of the Wise Men (Magi) is interesting as they are outsiders, people who are approaching these two world views with no preconceived notion. I can almost hear the old Grail Knight in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade say, “You have chosen… wisely” in response to the Wise Men who turn away from Herod and bow before the Christ Child. There are some choices that are challenging, where determining what is right and what is wrong is not clear. Let’s make sure that when it is clear, we are bowing before the right(eous) power.
Prayer: Though opinions are easy to come by these days, Merciful God, I seek the voice of Jesus whose life represented a love that stood against hate and violence; a life that never sought power over people, but sought to empower and liberate people. The contrast is often clear, and I pray that I will have the faith to stand on the right(eous) side. Amen.
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Thought for the Day: This may seem like a strange passage of scripture just a few days after Christmas, but Paul speaks of Timothy who has brought the good news of the Thessalonians faith and love. In the King James Version it is translated as Good Tidings. It is the same identical word used by the Angel who spoke before the Shepherds, announcing the Good News of Jesus’ birth. This is the focus of today’s sermon, and it reminds us of how our work is not much different than the angels. We are to announce, in both word and action, the good news of Jesus Christ; the good news of God’s love; the good news of divine mercy. The story of the angel’s hillside proclamation to the shepherds is really a model for our work in the world. Let’s look for some shepherds or anyone who might need a message of great joy for all the people.
Prayer: Thank you so much for the examples of faithfulness, O Lord God. Allow for the prophets, angels and Jesus himself to be the inspiration for the work of the church, the Body of Christ in the world. Amen.
TODAY’S WORSHIP SERVICE
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Thought for the Day: Earlier in December, I was reading one of Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditations and there Rohr paraphrased the medieval mystic Meister Eckhart (1260–1327):
“We are all meant to give birth to God.” As a man who has taken a vow of celibacy, I will never know what it is like to physically give birth, nor have I ever held the hand of a woman I love in labor—neither sister nor friend. However, I have experienced the birth of Christ in the world many times throughout my life—in big ways and small, sometimes through grand gestures, but more often through simple acts of patience, love, and mercy. To incarnate the Christ is to live out the Gospel with our lives, as faithfully and fearlessly as a woman in labor who holds nothing back in order to bring new life into the world.
Prayer: Through my life, Holy God, may the gift of Christ be born into the world. Amen.
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12-25-20 Christmas Day
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Thought for the Day: Every parent has some unspoken dreams for their child. Will she win the Nobel Prize? Will he find a cure for cancer? Will she have an amazing singing voice that inspires millions? Will he become the next Leonardo da Vinci? Though these thoughts may come to the mind of a parent, at the end of the day I believe most parents want above everything else health and happiness for their children. In the story of Zechariah and Elizabeth, we learn Elizabeth has given birth to her son, John. After the proper naming ceremony at the temple, Zechariah regains his voice and praises God. The people in the temple believe John is special, for God’s hand is upon him. Isn’t the hand of God upon every child? Though called to different tasks and distinctive work, God is present in the life of every human being. Let us live as those who believe the hand of God is upon us.
Prayer: May your dreams for me, O Lord, be spoken clearly so I may perceive them and faithfully choose to embrace them. Amen.
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Rev. Bruce Frogge