Wednesday, December 28, 2016


I've been reflecting... as I've been thinking about my sermon for Sunday, I've been reflecting on the last couple of weeks and I've realized that I feel like I've kind of found myself again.  It's nice.  

I think that since I've started serving in my little churches, I've lost a little of myself and over the holidays I've slowed down a bit and have been letting myself just be me.  I've been doing things I enjoy.  I've been taking time to blog, to tidy my house, to hang out with the family.  I've enjoyed it so much.

As we are preparing for a new year, I've decided that I want to really continue to find me, to be me.  I don't want to let me go.

One of the ways I'm going to do this is by getting back in the kitchen again.  I love cooking!  We are going to as a family, work on being more healthy and developing more healthy eating habits.  I can't wait to get in the kitchen and get started.  I'm looking forward to feeling better as I get rid of the junk in my diet.  I'm looking forward to playing in the kitchen! 

I may even let some of this roll over into other parts of my life too!  As I work to get rid of the junk in my diet, I may work a bit on getting rid of some of the junk in my closet and off my desk and dresser.  Just thinking about letting go of the junk in my life makes me feel lighter!

I don't know how much I'll succeed at this but if it will help lead me back to me, if it will help me to feel better and live more fully, then it is so worth it!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Christmas at my House

I can't believe that Christmas is over...  Well, technically it's not if you go by the church year but you know what I mean.  It seemed to go so fast, but we had a wonderful time.  I didn't even let myself get too caught up in missing DS.  That was a real possibility with me but I knew he was with his little family and having a good Christmas and I talked with him and his dear wife often so I was able to focus on those here with me.  It was nice.  We had fun.  We started on the 23rd by going to see the lights at the Crown Center.

They were magical!

It was so beautiful!

So is she.  

We had so much fun enjoying the lights and the trains.  We stopped for frozen custard on our way back to the car and it was yummy.

We came home and watched Christmas movies and just spent time together.

Christmas Eve was a fun day too.

It started with DH running out to get propane so we could fry our turkey the next day and coming home with these cute blinky necklaces.  DD's and mine were a daintier version.

Next we worked on our Christmas cookies!

And they were yummy!

and beautiful.

Next DD worked on her music for the service that night and we worked on our song for Christmas day services too.  Of course then we had to take some family selfies around the piano.

They got a little silly...

And fun!

Isn't this girl beautiful?!

It was a foggy night.  We felt certain, Rudolph would be needed tonight.

The service was great with lots of people.  It was 2 churches combined.  We had 46 people there! It was wonderful.

And the candlelight was beautiful.

Then we came home and watched my most favorite movie EVER!! 
 "It's A Wonderful Life"! 

Christmas morning was great too and my house was filled with beautiful music. DD had to practice for the church and then she also got this!
Yep!  A Ukulele.  She played it for hours.
And then I got this... It's not new but it is fixed!  I've haven't played in years but I played all day on Christmas day!!  I need to get me a book to refresh my abilities.

And then we had this for our yummy breakfast before church.  Cinnamon Biscuits.  Oh, they were soooo good!  

And then we headed to church.  Unfortunately, we didn't get any photos but we had a good crowd then too.  More than I expected actually.  We came home and some took naps, others played their instruments and then we leisurely prepared our Christmas dinner.  It was delicious.  Then after cleaning up we went down to the family room for "A Christmas Story".  It was a lovely day full of family, music, worship.  

I'm quite ready for it to over.  It's been a great Advent season, a little busy for me but I so enjoyed it.  Christmas night as I was telling DD good night, we talked about we weren't ready for it to be over yet and I said, "Well, we are supposed to keep Christmas all year through.  We should be living Christmas Every Day!"  And she replied, "YEAH!  Let's do it!"  

So... for my New Year's resolution, I think it be to live Christmas every day.  To keep Christmas in my heart the whole year through.  Christmas isn't just a day, it's a feeling, it's a way of life and it's what I want for my life every day.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas Eve!

Well, I had a little trouble sleeping last night... Today is Christmas Eve and I think I'm a bit nervous about the Christmas Eve service and probably the Christmas day service as well.  These services should be beautiful and leave people feeling closer to God and well, I just don't want to let anyone down.

As I was typing that I thought to myself that what I described should be EVERY Sunday!  So, maybe I don't really have anything to worry about and I'm just a silly worrier.

I am excited that Christmas Eve is finally here!  What I'm especially excited about it the fact that we will have a neat, as in tidy, living room when we wake in the morning to open gifts.  That is my aim every year but I don't know that we have EVER succeeded before so I'm pretty excited!  It's the little things.  ☺

We have a relative busy day today.  We have cookies to cut out, bake, and ice.  We have a cake to make and then a few Christmas dinner preparations to make too.  We have to be a the church at 4:15 which means we have to leave by 3:45 but knowing me it will be earlier.  But in this busyness, I'm going to relax and have fun.  It's going to be a great Christmas Eve!

I hope yours is as amazing as mine will be.  Merry Christmas Eve!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Busyness of the Season

Morning came much too early for me today.  I didn't have to get up when I did but I just feel like I have so much to do and not enough time to do it!  I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed and not, all at once.

This Christmas is a little different.  It's our first without DS, so it's a little sad.  It's also my first as a Lay Pastor, so I've been more busy than usual.  I've been busy with sermon writing, and worship planning.  You might be surprised how much time goes into this.  If you haven't lately, thank your pastor for all they do and if there is one, the church staff too.    

Then there is all the usual stuff that needs to get done for Christmas... mailing packages, wrapping gifts, baking, cleaning, time with the family.  

I wrote a devotion this morning for my little churches about taking time to be quiet and listen.  I've been working on that.  I think that's why I enjoy getting up so early, even when I don't want to, so I have this quiet, peaceful time.  Time to reflect, to listen, to just be.   

Then I shared questions with our online Bible study and reflected on them too.    The questions asked about Christmases Future.  What you envision for them.  How might you better glorify Christ in future Christmases and it got me thinking about the busyness of this season.  Example:  This morning, I wrote and emailed the devotion, posted to the online Bible study, need to go get ready for the in person Bible study, eat breakfast with DD, do the bulletins for Saturday and Sunday, tweek my sermon for Sunday, make arrangements to have the elements consecrated for Saturday, take DD to dance and the list goes on a bit but you get the general idea.  It's a bit much for me.  I'm pretty much a homebody and truth be told... a bit lazy.  But I don't have time for the lazy anymore!  

But I digress... in the busyness of the season, how am I finding times and ways to glorify Christ?  I'm thinking I need to work on this bit and I would like to see it better in my future.  How do you glorify Christ during the Christmas season?  Share your ideas in the comments!  

Sunday, December 18, 2016


Good morning!  Here I sit on this beautiful Sunday Morning.  Looking at the snow behind my Christmas tree.  Isn't it just lovely?  I love snow, well, I love to watch it snow from right here.  I enjoy going out and playing in it for a short while, a very short while if it's not too cold.  But it is very cold here this morning... -7  BRRR!!

I do feel a little guilty though.  We cancelled worship for today.  I received a phone call from one church saying they thought we should and I wanted to do what they thought was best and when the other church found out they agreed.  They all worried about my family driving out there.  Which is so sweet, I'm 30 minutes away. Then I was worrying about them as they are both older congregations and well, I was worrying about them getting out in the cold and having the possibility of falling on the ice.  I know it was for the best.  I totally agree with the decision but it does make me feel a little guilty.  

We had an exciting weekend.  DD had her ballet evaluations on Friday.  DS and DDIL decided to surprise her by coming to see them only, the weather turned on them and what is usually about an 8 1/2 hour drive turned into 12.  They didn't make it to the evaluations but DD was so surprised when we got home and found them here.  She did a great job dancing.  I could see a lot of improvement since she started with this new school.  Her best friend and her mother came out to see her and then we all went for pizza.  It was all great fun.  

Now we have been able to spend a nice weekend all together, all 5 of us!  We've baked (may do more) and we've watched Christmas movies, we've talked and listened, we've wrapped presents, and played with the dogs.  I love when we are all together.  It makes me happy.  VERY.  

Well, I guess I could spend the rest of the quiet morning before everyone gets up working on Christmas Eve and Day services.  I'm excited for both!  I hope you have a very blessed Sunday.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Good bye ramblings...

Last night DDIL began preparing to leave us to go live with DS.  It's bittersweet.  I'm so excited for her and DS to finally get to live as a married couple, to really begin their life together but...  well, I'm remembering how very much I hate being left.  I've never been good at long term see ya laters.  I kept ending up in tears last night...  She probably thinks I'm crazy now!  lol  

It's not like I won't see her again!  I think in a way it feels like I'm telling DS good bye again and it's Christmas time...  I love Christmas!  But I've always had a hard time being away from family and this will be our first without DS.  Oh, we'll be out to see them soon.  DS is going to Air Assault school soon and we'll go out for the graduation.  So, I'll be back with them soon, but it's still hard.

I think it's the Christmas season.  I brings back memories of my precious babies,
those sweet little toddlers, those tween years when they thought they had to take care of me because Daddy was gone.  Now, they are all grown up and starting their lives, their own traditions.  I'm so proud of them.  DD of course is still home and I'm so looking forward to this special Christmas with her, though she is going to make me soooooo FAT with all of her baking and goodie making!  I'm going to have to go on a starvation diet soon...  

And then there is the dog!  That crazy dog that drives me crazy!!  I'm missing him too!!  Who will play with me in the early mornings now??  LOL

Let's just say there is going to be big time missing going on this Christmas, but I will enjoy those who are here with me, every single moment of it!  It won't be long and DD will be all grown up and moving out too.  So, I will cherish every moment I get with any and all of my dear ones, near and far.  We'll facetime, we'll call and we'll make new traditions.  

Oh, be right back.... we're loading her up!

And, just like that she's on her way, loaded to the gills.  I'm so excited to see where life takes the sweet couple!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Sticks like Glue...

Oh me... I just don't know if I'm very good at this job or not...  It seems that only negative things stick to me.  Are you like that?  People can say positive things, good things to me or about me all day long and they make me feel good in the moment but after a while that's gone... It just doesn't stick to me for very long.  But if someone says something even mildly negative it will be with me for the rest of my life!  

Why is that?  It's crazy!  I struggled falling asleep last night because I couldn't let go of something someone said in criticism of me.  It just kept replaying over and over in my mind... I kept thinking about how I've failed and honestly, that's not what was said at all but my mind likes to build these things up.  If only it could do that with the positive things people say!!  But then I might just end up with the big head and that'd be bad too...  I guess it's a no win situation.

I should probably just let things roll right off.  Listen to them, learn what I need to learn from them and then just let it go.  That is definitely something to work on in my life.  

Today, I'm going to be in the spirit.  I'm going to do some cooking.  I'm going to type up the bulletin for Christmas eve.  I'm going to tidy up the house a bit and be sure to take some time for me, doing something I love.  Maybe I'll play the piano a bit or pick up my flute or BOTH!  Maybe I'll sit for a bit at my sewing machine and I'll definitely pick up my crochet for a bit.  I'm not really succeeding on crocheting a bunch of scarves... so far I haven't even finished one!  Hmmm... I don't know if I can fit any of that into my schedule!  I need to try though!  

I better get off of here and go get busy.  I hope you have a wonderful day full of all the things you love!

This is my piano, which I love...
I'd show you the full piano but it and the bench are full of music.
Very messy ... 

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Family Time!

Sitting here this evening watching Christmas movies with the family and thinking about how fortunate we are.  DDIL is leaving us on Tuesday to finally get to live with DS, her husband, for the first time.  I am so happy for them to finally get to be together again but I'll admit, I'm really going to miss her around here.  She has become one of my own.  

We've had a nice day and evening together.  We went to a new restaurant after church for lunch and it was sooo yummy!  It was our last big dinner with all four of us before she leaves.  We laughed, we joked, we were silly and we just had such a good time.

In worship today we talked about being in the present and we totally were today. I love days like this.  Days filled with my family, with love and joy.  With the busyness of life it's hard to fit days like this in but when we do they are amazing. I cherish each and every one.

Wonderful Worship!

What a wonderful morning of worship!  I thought I'd share today's sermon with you.  It's the third in a series based on the Bible Study "The Redemption of Scrooge."  Our scripture references are Deuteronomy 15:7-11, Acts 2:43-47, and Luke 2:8-20.  This is a rough copy, typos, missing words and all.  :)


Presents, Presence, or Both?

We are continuing on with our sermon series on “The Redemption of Scrooge.”  Scrooge has been visited by the ghost of his partner Marley, where he was warned that he needed to change, then he was visited by the Ghost of Christmas Past and he began to be transformed as he began to remember his past, his life.  Today Scrooge is visited by the Ghost of Christmas Present.  The present is such a fleeting thing.  The author of our study says more than once, that as soon as we begin to think about the moment we are in, it becomes the past.  Honestly, I had never really thought about it like that.  I guess I always thought of the present as more of the day we are in or maybe even the hour we are in but wow, to think that this moment in time is already over before I can even finish this sentence is almost unfathomable!  I actually think it’s more than we can truly understand.  It is for me!  How do we then truly live in the moment?  As soon as you start it’s gone!   I think I’m going to just take it an hour at a time or maybe even time of day, morning, noon and night at a time.  My family often hears me complaining about how I’ve wasted my time doing nothing... scrolling on facebook, or looking at pinterest (if you don’t know what it is, trust me you don’t want to know!  It’s a time waster though it is also very helpful), reading about what to do instead of actually doing something. Example, at Christmas, and in the time leading up to the season, I spend a lot time looking for ideas of what to make for Christmas gifts, of what to give as gifts and then before I know it Christmas is upon us and I don’t have a single gift ready to give!  My heart has been in the right place but... I’ve squandered my time.  Time... it is fleeting just like the present and what we do with it matters.

Would you please pray with me? May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts and minds be acceptable to you, O Lord, our rock and our redeemer.  Amen.
Christmas is time of celebrating the greatest gift ever given, Jesus Christ.  We celebrate this gift by sharing our abundance with others through Christmas gifts and through acts of charity.  But sometimes as our author says, “Our commitment to abundance is misplaced.”  

Have you seen the movie, “A Christmas Story”?  On Christmas morning, the family is gathered around the tree opening presents and the mother suggests that the boy, Ralphie (the main Character) open his gift from his Aunt Clara.  The narrator who is Ralphie all grown up, tells us that, “Aunt Clara had for years labored under the delusion that I was not only perpetually 4 years old, but also a girl.”  Then he opens the gift to find a pink bunny costume that his mother immediately makes him put on and come downs stairs for everyone to see.  His father’s reaction was perfect.  “He looks like a deranged Easter Bunny...  He looks like a pink nightmare!”  

Aunt Clara kind of missed the mark on this gift.  It physically fit but it did not fit Ralphie as a person at all!  Ralphie had a hard time being grateful and who can blame him!  

But let’s look at our carol, “A Christmas Carol.”  I’d like go back to the beginning for just a moment if you don’t mind.  When Scrooge’s nephew, Fred, came into the counting house for a visit.  He wishes Scrooge a Merry Christmas to which Scrooge replies, “Merry Christmas... What right have you to be merry?  What reason have you to be merry?  You’re poor enough.”

To which Fred answers, “Come, then, what right have you to be dismal?  What reason have you to be so morose?  You’re rich enough!” 

Here Dickens is showing us that money has little to do with happiness.

Now, the Spirit of Christmas Present comes and leads Scrooge on their journey through the present.  As they begin their journey, they pass over the city.  Dickens writes of the city, “There was nothing very cheerful in the climate or the town, and yet was there an air of cheerfulness abroad that the clearest summer air and brightest summer sun might have endeavored to diffuse in vain.”   The Cratchit family is a perfect example of this, so let’s take a look at them.  Bob Cratchit is Scrooge’s clerk and well, you know Scrooge, he’s pretty tight with his money, so as you can imagine, Cratchit isn’t paid all that well.  They are a poor family with very little.  The Ghost of Christmas Present takes Scrooge to their home so that Scrooge can catch just a glimpse of their life.   As the Ghost and Scrooge arrive at the house, one can’t help but notice how poor they are.  Scrooge looks in to see the Cratchit family preparing their Christmas dinner.  They are joyful as they prepare their simple meal.  They act as if their small goose is something of a rarity.  They laugh, they sing, they smile, they share their joy in what little they have.  They can do this because they know what is truly important, being together, being a family, and being thankful in all things.  Bob Cratchit even gives a toast to Ol’ Mr. Scrooge naming him as the founder of the feast!  His wife objects at first saying that Scrooge is stingy and doesn’t do enough for Bob or appreciate Bob enough but she finally relents because it is Christmas after all and they all toast Scrooge thankfully and joyously.

It is Christmas after all.  Christmas can give us the gift of perspective if we let it.  Let’s consider the first people God chose to receive the good news of Christ’s birth.  There were shepherds, members of a humble and poor community.  Probably not the most eloquent spokespeople for a worldwide movement.  But, as usual, God shows up in the unlikely, pursuing those who he lifts up as important.  One of my favorite pieces in my nativity scene, besides the baby Jesus, is that of a young shepherd boy.  I always smile as I unwrap it.  I think it speaks to me the most because not only was he a lowly shepherd but he was also a boy, a child.  I imagine how he must have felt to be included in this announcement!  To be there to see the angels and to hear their message.  Now, I realize that we don’t really know if there was boy present or not but I love that he’s included in my nativity along with the adult shepherds and wise men.  A boy.  A lowly shepherd boy, of a humble and poor community.  Jesus’ birth turned the world upside down and continues to do so.  He came so that we might discover and share abundant and everlasting life.  Through Jesus, God has reconciled everything, from the depths of the earth to the farthest star in the sky.  So fill your cup with good things this season and share God’s goodness with the world!  That’s what the shepherds did!  The angels came and shared the good news with them.  Then they went and found the baby and shared what they had been told, what they had seen.  They shared the gift they had been given.

So how can we do that this season?  How we share this gift?  What gifts can we bring?  Not just gifts to go under the tree but gifts to offer others a place at our tables and room in our lives, in our church.  God has blessed us all, with the greatest present ever, his presence among us.  Let’s go now and share it with all we meet.

Christmas Lights

Christmas lights.  Have I mentioned how much I love them?  They make me happy.  If I could, I'd add more every year and some I would leave up all year!  I love the twinkling lights.  In fact, I told my daughter we should get a bunch and just crisscross them all over the ceiling in our living room.  What is it about lights that just mesmerize me?  Like really!  I sit for hours just watching the lights the tree.

As a kid we would always take a drive to look at the Christmas lights people put on their houses.  This isn't a tradition that DH had and so it's taken a while for him to want to get into it with me.  I've always wanted to go to one of those neighborhoods where they go all out and walk through it all bundled up.  We've done that once, in Tucson, AZ back in the year 2000.  I know we have some neighborhoods nearby like this, maybe this year will be the year!  I'll have to do some googling and find just the right one.  We can go get hot chocolate and just make a evening of it!  DD would love it.  She's like me in this love of lights.

What pre-Christmas traditions do you have?  

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Making room

Here I sit in the quiet of an early Saturday morning... Not as early as during the week... wrapped up in a blanket, sipping cinnamon tea watching the lights dance on the Christmas tree.  Yes, these early mornings are quickly becoming my favorite time of day.

I should use them to be more productive, but I really enjoy just sitting in the peaceful quiet.

Oh, I did do a little online Christmas shopping this morning, and I stretched a little, and read a little news (dumb idea, almost ruined my peaceful morning) but I prefer to just sit here and think, dream...

I've been thinking a lot about those less fortunate then me and what I can do for them this holiday season, and well, every day.  I decided the other day that maybe I'll start crocheting scarves to donate to the local shelter.  There are a couple of fundraisers coming up for it too that I'm going to try to support (eating pancakes is easy!)  My two churches collect food and such for the their local food banks.  I could do more to support that.  But all this just never seems like enough.  I want to do more but I just haven't figured out what more is yet. The Bible study I'm doing right now talks about giving more than just what can go in a stocking or under a tree.  We need to give them place at our table, room in our lives.  That's what I want to do.  I want to invite more people into my life, I want to make room for those in need in my life.  I just need to figure out how exactly to do that.

So, what do you do to help the poor?  How are you making a difference in the world?  How are you inviting people to the table and making room for them in your lives?

Friday, December 9, 2016


Good morning!

I've been finding that I have to get up really early (5:15) in the mornings now, in order to get anything done.  I really haven't minded all that much (once I get myself out of the bed).  I mean I get to see beautiful moments like this one.

This photo just doesn't do the colors justice.  There was a lot more pink and blue involved but you get the idea.  Getting up early puts me in the right place to see beautiful sunrises like this.  It gives me time to get some things done for church before the family gets up so that I can spend time with them when they do.

I'm actually discovering that I love my quiet early mornings.  I spend time writing devotions for my churches and working on my sermons.  I spend time tidying up the house and sometimes I even get in a little more exercise (which I definitely need more of!).  It's been really refreshing for me.   

PLUS!  This time of year, it lets me see the Christmas tree all lit up in the dark.  I love sitting in the dark and watching the lights dance in the tree.  It's one of my favorite things to do.

Well, I had better get back to work.  I've got Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services to plan!  Music to find and a house that needs a little more work.  

I hope you have a wonderful day enjoying all the things that bring you joy.

Thursday, December 8, 2016


When I first moved over to this blog from my old one at Musings By Mommy, I did so because I felt like I needed a new place to call home.  People had kind of come in and read my blog and were being ugly and so I wanted some place new, some place safe.

In my first post here I shared that  I wasn't 'mommy' anymore.  My kids were growing up and so was my blog.  My topics were changing so finding a new home seemed reasonable.  Now... I miss that old blog.  It was home for so long.  It got me through some pretty rough times that I call deployments.  I met some really great friends.  People who entered my life through the blog and found a place in my heart as well.

Last night one of those friends, reappeared and I was so excited to hear from them.  It made me nostalgic.  I've been looking back at this blog and my old one, reading old posts and remembering.  These blogs are like scrapbooks with snapshots of my life.  

Some of my favorite posts are about Christmas and I haven't even posted one time about Christmas this year on here.  My life is very busy these days with preparing sermons, planning services, making bulletins, making visits, caring for my home and family but blogging has always been so therapeutic and comforting for me.  I'd like to get back to it.  I really would but when would I find the time?  I already get up at 5am just so that I can get everything done in a day!  I don't know but I think I want to try.

I titled my old blog Musings by Mommy so that I could just ramble on about anything, no certain topic, just life as I see it.  This one is Simply Sherri.  It was supposed to be a place to just be me, to share what I was working on or thinking.  It's turned in to just being a sermon here or there.  I don't think that's what I want it to be anymore.  Nobody wants to read a sermon!  Most people don't even want to come and hear one on Sunday mornings anymore!  

Oh, I'm sure if I really like a sermon, I'll still share it but I think I need to find my voice again, not just my sermon writing voice, but my everyday voice of life.  So, that being said,  I'm going to try to be back more, to write more.  I love writing.

So we'll see... I've done this before where I said I wanted to get back at if but then never came back!  HA!  I'll try to be better this time.  I'll try to be here, to be present.  Until then, I'll share my happy place with you.  Enjoy.  I always do!
My Happy Place

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Work to be Done

It's been quite a while since I last posted.  I've so very busy with my family and the churches.  I've just kept my focus there but today, I thought I would share this morning's sermon with you.  The Scripture references are Isaiah 65:17:25, 2 Thessalonians 3:6-13, and Luke 21:5-19.  The commentaries I read are from the UMC Discipleship page and also Adventurous Lectionary.

“There is Work To Be Done”

Wednesday was a very quiet morning for me.  I spent a lot of time in prayer and quiet contemplation.  There were a few tears too.  I found myself wanting to sit and cry, not because of who won or lost the election but because of the hurt I was seeing, the meanness,  the fear.  I asked my mom how I was supposed to write a sermon now.  She said she didn’t know.  Later I asked Susan the same question and replied, “I don’t know, but you have to address this.”  But that’s hard!  I know we have folks on both sides here today.  We have some feeling relief and some are hurting.  It’s very real.  On social media this week… well, it’s been hard.  It’s hard to read about the hurt of many of friends, LGBTQ friends, immigrant friends, young people who voted for the very first time.  I saw some of my friends gloating, boasting and spewing some awful stuff at those on the losing side and like wise I saw some on the losing side doing the same to the winning side.  Even STILL! 

And then I saw friends, who I love more today on both sides of the table offering love, understanding and encouragement.  That was beautiful and it comforted me.  Eventually, like many of my friends, I put Facebook away.  I just could take the pain anymore.

I began to try to focus on my sermon and try to remember what it was that I had planned to say and that’s when I realized that I still wanted to share the same message I had planned.  See when I first read the scriptures a week ago, I though how perfect it was for an after election message and now that it IS after the election, I think I was right so, bare with me this morning as we work to begin healing our community by uniting to answer God’s call and continue his work.

Let us pray, May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all of our hearts and minds be acceptable to you, O Lord, our rock and our redeemer.  Amen.

I love our scripture from Isaiah this morning.  It’s filled with such hope!  And, well, we can sure use some hope right now right?  Every day!  These verses offer us just that.  A light at the end of the tunnel, a beacon of light on a rough sea.

It says, there will be no more weeping, living long lives, and peace.  Peace.  He says the wolf and the lamb will eat together.  That’s hope.  He will answer before we even call.  Hope – light – and we should rejoice! God has great vision for the future.  God is creating new possibilities and the energy to achieve them even when things are not exactly how we want them.  Today we can dream this future with God if we so choose. (Living a Holy Adventure)

Here’s a thing though.  2 Thessalonians tells us that WE have work to do.  Now, a lot times when people read these verses, they think of them as a way of saying they don’t have to help those who aren’t working but I don’t think so and the commentary I read didn’t either.  Here is what it said.
This was no critique of those who were poor and could not physically work to support themselves for whatever reasons. Of course, the community cared for these people and provided them with daily bread. Rather, Paul’s admonition appears to be aimed more at some of the wealthier members of the community who actually did not need to work to support themselves and so could choose lives of “idleness,” becoming “mere busybodies” (verse 11). Very likely, too, it was intended to stave off Christians deciding to cease regular labors in expectation of Christ’s second coming, the major theme of this whole letter.”

I think Paul was telling us as Christians we still had work to do.  Our Bible study on Hunger told us this, “that the idle ones in Thessalonica were failing to practice real love. They not only had stopped working to feed themselves, but they had also stopped working to help others.”

See we all need to do our part.  We need to be there for one another.  We need to work together to make the world a better place.  We need to help those in need, protect those who need us to and we need to stop judging each other and just simply LOVE more.  WE need to be more like Christ.  We have to love through the hate, we have to stop hate in it’s tracks and the best way to do this is to LOVE.  Last week, I told you love is the answer – well, this week, it’s still the answer.

I’m not saying it’s easy.  In fact in our reading from Luke today, Jesus tells us it won’t be.  He tells us it will be hard.  He tells the disciple they will arrested, persecuted.  It’s not easy to be a follower of Christ.  Oh, it seems easy enough to come to church on Sunday morning  and sing a few hymns, listen to a few scriptures being read and put a few dollars in the offering plate, but you KNOW Jesus calls us to do MUCH more than that.  He calls us to stand up for him and his people.  He calls us to love his people – ALL OF THEM.  Trump supporters, Hillary supporters, Republicans, Democrats, Independents, immigrants, Muslims, women, the LGBTQ+ community, children, the poor, the elderly, EVEN our ENEMIES.  He calls us to love and care for each one – each and every person whether we like them, agree with them or not.  We are to love them – all.  WE are to care for them, stand up for them, fight for them.  We are all ONE in Christ and it’s time for us to remember this and to live it every day in every way.

It’s not easy, in fact, sometimes it can be downright hard, scary even, but in Luke Jesus tells us not to be afraid.  Think of what Jesus endured for loving his people – all God’s people.  Through out the Bible we are told not to be afraid for God is with us.
We had an extra reading in Isaiah in our lectionary reading.  It was chapter 12.  In verses two and three it says, “Surely God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid, for the Lord God is my strength and my might; he has become my salvation.  With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.”

He is our strength and our might, he is with us and he loves us and he wants us to love even when it’s hard.  He wants us to help his people all of his people even when it’s hard.  He wants us to follow the example of his son and trust him even when it’s hard. 

I want to close this morning with a couple of quotes from The Lord Of The Rings.  Thank you, Michaela for pointing them out.

Frodo: I wish the Ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened.
Gandalf: So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us. There are other forces at work in this world, Frodo, besides the will of evil.

We all have to decide what to with the time give to us.  What will we do with this time?  This question brings us to our next quote.  Sam is talking to Frodo this time.

Sam: I know. It's all wrong. By rights we shouldn't even be here. But we are. It's like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn't want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it's only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn't. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.
Frodo: What are we holding on to, Sam?
Sam: That there's some good in this world, Mr. Frodo... and it's worth fighting for.

So that is what we need to do with our time here.  Be the good in the world, be the light, be the love and know that it is worth fighting for.  Amen.