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The Love o’ the Irish

It’s a day that means so much more than alcohol, green rivers and Irish culture. In fact, St. Patrick’s Day is, at its core, a day about restoration, which is exactly what we are talking about at Floris UMC this Lent in our sermon series, “Restored.” Patrick asked questions about living a restored life in community with others, questions so central to our practice of Christian faith. If you have never heard anything about who St. Patrick was or what he did, I encourage you to watch this short video ... Read More »

Loving God

“We need to love God and love each other,” Bishop Sharma Lewis said to a group of us who had come together to “chat” with our new bishop at the recent Chat n’ Chew with Bishop Lewis. She encouraged us to reclaim a key tenet of those first Methodists: love. It’s a reasonable prescription to solve the problems before us, both in our denomination and in our world. Love God and love our neighbor. The Bible tells us that when asked which was the greatest commandment in the law, Jesus ... Read More »

Blest Be the Tie that Binds

Yes, blest. That’s the way they spelt it in the hymnal I had extracted from its place in the next-to-last pew at the Church of the Palms, Presbyterian. I am hidden in the back, scrunched behind a pillar in a nearly empty pew the older folks have difficulty accessing. There are a lot of older folks here in Sarasota, Florida, where I am a “winter resident,” and many of them come to this service: 11 a.m., Sunday, traditional. They have several services, both contemporary and traditional, and offer worship both through ... Read More »

So Watch Yourselves

Here we are, America. It’s been less than one month since we got a new president. For many, Facebook has become a place we visit with fear of what our friends and family might say about their approval or disapproval of President Trump’s first few weeks in office. But the truth is, it’s time to take a deep breath. It’s time to remember that the same people you are avoiding today are the same people you were having barbecues with this past summer, making friendly small talk with at back ... Read More »

No Parking Any Time

I don’t believe in the New Year’s resolution thing. However, I am a big fan of finding certain words to focus on at the beginning of a new year. Usually I pray about it and ask God to show me what I need to work on. Surprisingly, this year my focus words are not from the Bible. What a shock! Actually, God gave me words based on his ideas but not in his book: “No parking any time. Keep moving.” I have found over the years that I have a ... Read More »

Continuous Change

So I spent some time in the book of Acts recently. I delved into Acts based on something I learned at a training class I attended in New Jersey. Specifically, I read about Peter’s interaction with Cornelius found in the tenth chapter. In this chapter, Peter makes the decision to include gentiles in the work of Jesus. Peter and many of the early church founders saw their movement as a Jewish movement, not one that would include gentiles. Yet, God implored Peter to look beyond his Jewish roots. As Peter ... Read More »

Have a “New” Year

The New Year is often a starting point for folks to make positive changes in their lives. Gym memberships skyrocket, a ridiculous amount of kale and kombucha is purchased at grocery stores and people order the latest and greatest athletic clothes and gadgets. You see a lot of new shoes on runners in January. By the way, kale is gross. If you say you like kale, I just assume you’re lying. The excitement for change often collides with the steps necessary to achieve change and thus most changes rarely last ... Read More »

When You Need a Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace

On the first Sunday of Advent in 2008, we received a call that my father had finally lost his battle with alcoholism. The next week or so, as we drove back and forth to North Carolina to make funeral arrangements, I struggled with the swirl of emotions: grief, loss and sadness mixed with anger and regret. Here I was in the midst of this fresh loss right smack in the middle of the Christmas season, and everything felt raw. Christmas was hard that year. That year, I found particular comfort in the ... Read More »

A Quieter Christmas

The Sears’ catalog was already marked and dog-eared by the time it got to the youngest child. With a sheet of notebook paper I would make my list for Santa, carefully offering page and item number along with a brief description. I was unusually attentive to the task. No need for Santa to blow the one shot a year he had to make Christmas special for me because of poor penmanship or insufficient information. I’m not sure what I did with those lists or how I thought Santa would get ... Read More »

Thank You for Letting Us Sing to You: Confessions of a Choir Crasher

You’ve heard of party crashers and wedding crashers, but perhaps you have never heard of a choir crasher. That’s me, the person who, back in the doldrums of September as election campaigns were still in full swing, shorter days and longer nights were just beginning to descend and Christmas trees were not yet at Lowe’s, I began to wonder in earnest … What can I do to make this season feel more like Advent? A clear and undeniable suggestion came to mind: join the Floris UMC Cantata choir. Don’t get me ... Read More »

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