Always Present

Sometimes the most difficult thing about hard times is facing them alone. I shared a story about how I was not left alone in a very dark hour. When the prophet Jeremiah relayed God’s promise to the people of Israel it was: “I will make a new covenant with them… put my law within them, … write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people… I will make an everlasting covenant with them, never to draw back from doing good to them.” This is the promise of God’s intimate presence with us even in hard times, and even when we can’t recognize it. Hard times are often important transitions to new ways of living, new ways of seeing the world. Jesus understood, as an enemy of the entrenched powers, that he would die, but that the difficult transition of his death could mean new life for those who followed his path.

As individuals, and as a community, we have good times and hard times. Let us be channels for God’s presence and grace with one another, so we are never alone. I’m looking forward to seeing you all during Holy Week, starting with this upcoming Palm Sunday!

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Peace and grace be with you,
Pastor Carol

PC(USA) Supports Marriage Equality

After over 30 years of debate, the Presbyterian Church (USA) has embraced an LGBT-inclusive definition of marriage!  A majority of presbyteries voted to accept a change to the Book of Order which now defines marriage as “between two persons.”  There is still division among Presbyterians with some individuals and churches leaving the denomination where presbyteries voted down what was termed “Amendment  14-F,” and affiliating with other branches of Presbyterianism.  However, we are proud that two of the three denominations with which Island United is covenanted now support marriage equality.  The UCC was the first among American mainline denominations in 2005.  The marriage of gay or lesbian persons is currently not permitted in United Methodist churches, per the Book of Discipline.  This continues to be a subject of debate and discernment in the UMC.

Surprised by Grace

Last Sunday we talked about the gifts and promises we receive in good times – especially the promise of God’s steadfast presence and love. Sometimes those things are surprises, or we are almost oblivious to them. We fail to give thanks and don’t realize until much later, when we are mired in more difficult times, that we were given promises for a “way through.” Not a way around, not a way to duck life’s realities – but a way through. Much of that way through is paved, bordered, and sheltered under the trees of relationships – sometimes relationships that we thought at the time were not the most significant in our lives. Then we discover all the people that have “been there” for us all along.

We are called to be observant and grateful people in the present – to note the kindnesses and caring of others, even when they might be a bit awkward. Receive them as God’s presence and promise of love in your life; promise of a way through. And then you might just be surprised by grace.

Pastor Carol small

Peace be with you,
Pastor Carol