A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life

A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life
I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Thanksgiving 2020

by Lindsey Funtik, Coordinator of Volunteer Ministries, Ashland First United Methodist Church,  Ashland, Ohio.
The loud, the cheerful, the expansive has shrunk.

Now it is gentle and quiet and maybe a little bit hollow.

Now it is a quick shopping list and an early Christmas tree and just a few extra hugs from the only safe arms. 

Now it is resignation to make the most of it. 

Scriptures and Prayer for Thanksgiving Day, USA

Old Testament: Deuteronomy 8:7-18

Psalter: Psalm 65

O God, in your Son Jesus Christ you richly bless us with all that we need, bread from the earth and the bread of heaven, which gives life to the world. Grant us one thing more: grateful hearts to sing your praise, in this world and the world to come. Amen.

Have a Blessed Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

If It Were Up to Ben Franklin, We Would Not Be Eating Turkey on Thanksgiving

Ben Franklin was very disappointed that the Bald Eagle was chosen as America's national bird. Instead, Franklin wanted the turkey as a federal symbol. In a letter to his daughter he wrote,
For my own part I wish the Eagle had not been chosen the representative of our country. He is a bird of bad moral character. He does not get his Living honestly. You may have seen him perched on some dead tree near the river, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the labor of the Fishing Hawk; and when that diligent Bird has at length taken a fish, and is bearing it to his nest for the support of his mate and young ones, the Eagle pursues him and takes it from him.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Advent and Christmas-- Putting Christ the King in Context

Last Sunday was Christ the King Sunday (also called the Reign of Christ). It is the last Sunday of the liturgical year, which begins anew this Sunday with the season of Advent. When the New Testament proclaims that Jesus is Lord, it is not simply an affirmation that Jesus reigns in our individual hearts and lives; it is a radical political claim meant to put the nations of the world and their leaders on notice. In the Roman Empire, it was common to swear allegiance to the emperor with the shout, "Caesar is Lord." When the Christians substituted Jesus for Caesar, they were making a significant claim about the nature of Christ's lordship, and the ultimate insignificance of Caesar as one who determines the destiny of human history.

Monday, November 23, 2020

A November Rose Before the Sleep of Winter

by Rev. Tom Snyder, Pastor Emeritus and Visitation Pastor, First and Christ United Methodist Churches, Ashland, Ohio.
The picture above was within view a recent morning at breakfast. We eat our meals in our sunroom; Kitty and I each have a different view of her flower garden, and what now are its sad remnants, from our seats. I see our angel which was surrounded by delphiniums, bellflowers, impatiens, dianthus, coral bells, and a lovely new find this year, angel faces. They are now all gone. Beside the angel we would soon to stash away from the cold weather, is a rock and this rose was growing next to it, a last testimony to the power of beauty and growth before the sleep of winter. 

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Sunday Afternoon Poetry: “Inspired by Psalm 65”

by Lindsey Funtik, Coordinator of Volunteer Ministries, Ashland First United Methodist Church,  Ashland, Ohio.
A poetic praise for the call to worship at Ashland First United Methodist Church, 11.22.20.

The rustle of our skirts is drowned out by the crescendo, by a melody swirling and rising and exploding as the doors are flung wide and our eyes take in what they can of power distilled into smiling bridegroom, of the unfathomable looking at us with a partner’s gaze—shoulders squared, chin up, promises emanating, as alive as solar flares.

You, my God, my love, are magnetism and warmth, the walking, talking assurance of soiled linen laundered, of lacerations vanished, of black spots and hissing lies obliterated and banished.

What About the Eleventh Leper?

Luke 17:11-19

Scriptures and Prayer for the Reign of Christ

Old Testament: Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24

Psalter: Psalm 100 or Psalm 95:1-7a

O God, in Jesus Christ we celebrate your power at work. You raised him from the dead to rule with you forevermore. Enlighten the eyes of our hearts, that we may see the hope to which Christ calls us, a realm of eternal peace. Amen.