Category Archives: guest preachers

Prayers from February 20, 2011

Epiphany Seven

O God of eternal light, we come into your presence because you have illumined the paths of our searching.  Accept us and meet us now, as faithful yet still seeking sojourners who must, this day, find sustenance for our journey.  Lead us into a fuller recognition of your Spirit which forever goes before us, leading us into the possibility of making real your reign on earth.

We come to this time of prayer with thanksgiving in our hearts and with praise on our lips.  We rejoice for you have made us glad.  We thank you for our mountain top times.  Holy one deliver us from all the fear that comes when transformation is at hand.  All forgiving God, we pray for all the peoples, nations and races of the world; we pray for those who govern and have authority over us; we pray for justice and for peace; we pray for our community, our friends and our families. We pray for those in need of healing.  We pray for those who are stuck in the valleys of life with no view of your splendor or your grace.  We thank you that renewal comes when we seek you and when we search for your light…Shine on us so we might let ourselves be the people who bring your light to the world.  In Jesus’ name, AMEN

Sunday, January 30

Just a few highlights from the morning service:

From  reading  Micah 6:8  ” and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

Unison Prayer

God of the prophets, help us to recognize your voice among the competing claims of our day. Raise up in our midst authentic witnesses to your truth.  Be present with us now to  guide  our prayers and praise.  Let us not presume to know your message without careful listening or to speak your word without discerning the Spirit.  Light your fires within us so we may heed your summons and give our best in your service. Amen

January 16, 2011

The service was enriched further by poems chosen by Emily Broderick and a reading by Lorna Andrade of some of Martin Luther King’s words.  Lorna met Dr. King at her grandparents’ home in Boston. Dan Cabot led a lively discussion of the lessons.

Chilmark Community Church
January 16,2011

Prelude Sinfonia #11 J.S.Bach\
Gathering and Announcements
Introit  p.328 “Surely the Presence”
Opening Prayer
O God, our Guide and Guardian, you have led us apart from the busy world into the quiet of your house. Grant us grace to worship you in Spirit and in truth, to the comfort of our souls and the up building of every good purpose and holy desire.  Enable us to do more perfectly the work to which you have called us, that we may not fear the coming of night, when we shall resign into your hands the tasks which you have committed to us.  So may we worship you not with our lips at the hour, but in word and deed all the days of our lives: in Jesus name.  Amen

*Hymn  p.103  “Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise”

Confession  (unison)
God of grace and glory, we thank you that you judge us not by the perfection of our actions, but by our readiness to live boldly by faith.  Help us, as individuals and as a congregation, to trust you and follow where you lead, that in Christ your name  may be glorified in all the earth. Amen  R. Duck
Silent prayer
Musical Amen  # 898

Psalm 40:1–11 (UMH 774) No musical response.

Special Music Arietta Edvard Greig

Proclamation and Praise
Isaiah 49:1–7
1 Corinthians 1:1–9
John 1:29–42Is

Discussion :  Dan Cabot, leader

*Hymn  p.593 “Here I Am, Lord”

Concerns and Celebrations
Communal  Prayer
In the silence of our hearts, let us remember all those who most need God’s healing touch…….
Remembering Martin Luther King, let us pray  for those who work for peace in our world and for the justice that underlies worldly peace.  …….
Let us ask God to increase our numbers that we can share our love and the strength that comes from our worship together….
The Lord’s Prayer

Offering  We give of our time, our talent and treasure.
*Hymn 95 “Praise God From Whom All Blessing Flow”
Prayer of Dedication (unison)
All Things Come of Thee O, Lord, and of Thine own have we given Thee.

*Hymn  p.397 “I Need Thee Every Hour” vs. 1-4

Benediction  (unison)
May the blessing of God, fountain of living water, flow within us as a river of life.  May we drink deep of her wisdom.  May we never thirst again.  May we go through life refreshing many, as a sign o healing for all; through the One who is Life Eternal. Amen

Postlude Trumpet Tune Vivaldi

Please join us for coffee in fellowship hall after service.
Organist:  Carol Loud
Worship Leader: Emily Broderick
Next Week’s Lessons:Isaiah 9:1-4:Psalm 27:1, 4-9;                     1 Corinthians 1:10-18;  Matthew 4:12-23
*Stand if you are able

“Ann’s” Pumpkin Apple Soup

We asked Ann for her recipe after Tues night’s soup supper.  It was so good.


1 Tbsp. oil

1 med.onion, finely chopped

3 Granny Smith or tart apples, peeled and sliced

4 cups Libby’s complete pumpkin pie mix with seasonings,

(not plain canned pumpkin)

½ tsp. mace

6 cups chicken broth

Cook onion in oil until wilted. Add apples; cover and cook until tender. Stir in pumpkin pie mix, mace and chicken broth.

Cook for ten minutes, stirring to blend.

Prayer for the Sunday after Christmas

Pastoral prayer by Rev. Arlene Bodge

O God, who stands beyond both the darkness and the light, who is hidden by the names we give you and yet who moves in great mystery to touch our lives, wake us from our indifference and cynicism to see your grace and to respond to it.

We pray for all our brothers and sisters who stand beyond the margins of our comfort and our security: for all who are alone in this season which affirms love and community; for all who are homeless and jobless in this season of compassion and new life; for all who live in pain of body or mind in this time when love is declared incarnate.

We pray for the children of this earth;  for all who are abused or neglected; for all who suffer the consequences of our carless acts or words.  Link us again with their  sense of play and wonder, their capacity to trust and to forgive;

We pray for all who are victims of hate and oppression, including all we unknowingly hurt through our blindness.  Enable us to feel their pain and rejection.  Help us to reach out in understanding and reconciliation.

And for ourselves we pray that we might find the time to consider the direction of our lives, the values and people we cherish, and so discipline ourselves to be more intentional as agents of hope, as channels of your grace, as a people who have seen your presence in their lives.

Helen’s song on kindness

sometimes all it takes to pull us through
is a smile – from you
a simple tenderness
to remember us to whats true
a little kindness
to remind us
what the heart can do..
She describes the setting for the song:

every morning at about nine thirty i walk past tomkins square park,
where the food lines are already forming –  and by the time i return
an hour or so later – the line will be endless…it is no different
from poverty depicted in the paragraphs of dickens, george bernard
shaw, dostoevsky or brecht. the derelicts, the denizens, the
dispossessed. struggling and abandoned. bundled in shabby winter
attire and eroded by the frigid temperatures. aside from the various
christian and hari krishna missions that offer provisions, it is
alcohol that for most provides the warmth and strength to survive the

they all know me.  the neighborhood bums.  they listen to me play in
the park when its warm – and they know they can count on me for a
smile and a hello…they are all over, on particular corners, in
different doorways.  home is essentially a cardboard box.

Prayers from the 4th Sunday in Advent

During this season of light, allow us to see your light.                                                        During this season of carols, may there be a song in our hearts.                                   During this season of love, may we experience your love and love in your name.  AMEN

Dear God, you surround us with your angels of love so that we are able to live a life filled with joy. Thank you for these angels, and help us to become angels of love for others.

A sermon on Third Sunday in Advent

This was shared by a member of  Rev. Bloch’s church in Port Townsend, WA

Isaiah 35:1-10 Elizabeth Bloch

Canticle 15 12/12/10

James 5:7-10 Advent 3

Matthew 11:2-11 Year A

Lighting Candles in the Dark

It was dark in John’s prison, all right, darker and darker in Herod’s fateful jail on the shores of the Dead Sea. And John the Baptist – for whom God’s fiery light had shone so fiercely bright in his desert days – by now, he could barely detect the light of even a feeble, guttered flame in these days of fear and fury with himself, with God, and with his heartbreaking cousin, Jesus.

It would only be a matter of days now before Herodias would find a way to convince her husband to bring John’s head to her on a silver platter. He was sure of that by now, and that he was sure he would have been proud, no fulfilled, to die for the Messiah he had expected, the one John thought he had preached and promised…

But from almost the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry, everything had turned out so differently from what John had expected. I mean, there John had been surviving on locusts, isolated in the wilderness, denying body and soul any hint of fleshly comfort or contact with human corruption, and the next thing he hears: Jesus is changing water into wine at some wedding in Cana so that everyone, apparently, could carouse without limit! John had preached about righteous living day after day until his throat was raw, warning the people about what terrible consequences would surely be if they didn’t fix their wickedness, get rid of all the bad guys, and begin again with a clean slate of righteous people. Meanwhile, Jesus had been deliberately socializing with the unclean, with outcasts and flagrant sinners of every horrible kind.

Now John, in prison and in the worst kind of trouble, was hearing more and more disheartening news. Jesus, far from using his power and popularity to lead a clean sweep of all that had gone wrong with Israel – not to mention the possibility of freeing John from prison on his way to victory – Jesus seemed to be spending all his precious time and talent on a few ailing people who would certainly not be much help in bringing all Israel to revolutionary repentance. Stories of hemorrhaging women, and lepers, and demoniacs, healing one here, one there, just as he came upon them, it seemed. John couldn’t fathom it. He’d even heard a rumor about Jesus healing a Roman soldier’s slave one day. But that couldn’t have been, could it?

Finally, John just had to ask, even if Jesus’ answer was as terrible as John’s question sounded to him; even if it was the last thing he ever did. So he sent some of his old disciples – probably the same ones who had come to Jesus once before to challenge his far-from-strict spiritual practice – to ask him point blank: Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?

Now, listen with me to Jesus’ answer. It holds within it so many answers to all of our John-the-Baptist-questions. John asked, Are you the one who is to come?

Jesus answered, Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them.

The blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them. Jesus makes absolutely no claims for himself. Every statement is in the passive voice. There is not one I statement in the whole list. No 1st person anywhere. John was definitely asking for a 1st person answer but Jesus would not answer the question John thought he was asking. He made absolutely no claim for himself.

This is the first of the two huge stumbling blocks, I believe, for John and for us – stumbling blocks that come between who we often think God should be and who God really is. Jesus says to John’s disciples: Don’t look at me. Look around you. See for yourself people right here – maybe right here at lunch on Wednesdays, maybe right here at our 2nd Saturday Potlucks – see for yourself people right here who really know what Isaiah’s prophecy was all about. Ask them what it feels like to leap like a deer when you couldn’t even walk before, to sing songs full of joy when you’d never been free enough to speak. Pay attention to them. Talk with them. They’re the ones with the answers you really need. As always, Jesus, our brother and our God, was not interested in wielding power but in giving power away – to us.

And that brings us to the second thing about the way God works that was so hard for John to swallow and is often just as hard for us. A huge, all-encompassing, clean sweep of the religious and political arena – with winnowing fork and fire and an axe to the roots – was simply not Jesus’ way. For Jesus, the healing, and raising from death to life, the care for the poor and the lost and the hungry happened pretty much one by one as he walked and talked and listened and touched and fed and set free…

Jesus’ answer was coming to John – and to all God’s dark and wounded world -one at a time, like lighting candles in the dark. One at a time, the way we light the candles on our Advent wreath, one more each week even as the days themselves are growing darker and darker. John, in the darkness of his prison, wanted a fireball God who would make a clean sweep of the whole mess of creation-gone-wrong. But Jesus, our one-at-a-time God, was lighting candles of healing and hope one by one, and always beginning with the stubbiest, least acceptable candles, as far outside the circle of notice and attraction as he could get.

And then, to cap it all off, Jesus lets us in on his amazing secret within that slowly growing and not very impressive circle of lighted candles in the dark. He says, Blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me.

(Warning: word study ahead)

Makarios is the word we translate as blessed. It meant, in New Testament use, happy – only happy with great emotional force, joyful just about to bursting. Makarios is anyone who takes no offense at me. The word offense in Greek is skandalon, which to ancient Greeks meant stumbling block. Skandalizomai, to stumble. Makarios is anyone who does not stumble over who I really am.

Jesus was saying, as plainly as he could, that if we can make it beyond the stumbling block of loving the God who actually is, instead of the one we so often think should be, if we could love the God who gives power away to us to heal, and bring to life one at a time, beginning from the outside to light stubby little flickering candles in the Way of our God, then we would know joy just about to bursting right in the middle of the darkness.

Here is an Advent clue about how it all works: the joy of the angels dimmed the stars with their light when God began with a helpless infant, born in a stable, to an unwed mother, on the outside of town.

Third Sunday in Advent from the “sunny pew”

As we venture into the third week of advent, the elements of winter -–
that seem so antithetic and threatening to life – expand the
parameters of their reign.  We are venturing – as Joseph Conrad might
say – into The Heart of Darkness.  I am struck in the readings by the
relationship that is being requested between the Natural and the
Supernatural, between the Physical and the Metaphysical – and likewise
between the Mind (which can conceive) and the Body (and its senses,
which are confined to the immediate physical and transitory realm of
existence).  It is not only a relationship – but an argument, a
dialogue, a discourse  – one which arbitrates between that which is
evident and apparent in ostensible realm of the human experience, –
and that which resides beyond the mere image and appearance of the
temporal, material plane – and which contributes to a disparity
between the spiritual and the material , the mystical and the mundane,
the sacred and the profane.

Again, advent is a theological construct that implants itself at a
point in the calendar year when  the severe and extreme conditions of
the natural world force us to experience the threshold of our
tolerance and limitations. The hostile forces of nature become so
fierce and so unmitigating in the external landscape, that they
connive to abolish all sense of hope. The elements of darkness and
cold become increasingly more vicious and unrelenting in their
assault. It is an exceedingly arduous and difficult passage of time
during which we are asked to withstand a darkness that intensifies and
grows more pervasive with each day that passes.  And as Light in our
world diminishes, so does Warmth.  The earth is no longer capable of
replenishing the sustenance necessary for survival. Things become more
gaunt, more attenuated, more grim – as do our spirits.  If logic and
reason were confined to the mere material realm, and the information
transmitted through the physical senses, our outlooks would be
psychically gruesome – and apocalyptic. For it would feel and appear
as if the tyrannical reign of darkness were going to overtake and
triumph over the power of light, as if the frigid temperatures that
betray the capacity of life and growth were going to irrevocably
subsume and engulf. The sense of Anarchy and anxiety induced by
darkness is replacing the certitude and assurance of form and order
which typify the Illumined world. It is chilling and grim.
Understandably such apprehensions – ratified by the factual realm,
metabolize into fear, anxiety, hopelessness and futility. It is easy
to get apocalyptic in our distress and despair. It would seem that
dissolution and decay,  have victor-ed over the creative, the
regenerative.  Death seems to be winning over Life. And it is this
fear, anxiety, terror, and hopelessness, induced by that which is
occurring on the outside, and in the Natural kingdom –  that brings us
to God – and to the other worldly considerations. That brings us to
meditation and prayer.  And that brings us to the aspect in our own
nature that conceives and believes and interacts with the divine.   As
if there is within the human anatomy, in addition to the more physical
attributes that define the species, the small kernel, the seed which
signifies the capacity to understand, address, and await God. This
kernel, is the manger in which salvation will be delivered. It is the
grotto.  It is primitive and hidden beneath the layers of artifice,
edifice and civilization.  Beneath Image and Appearance.

And even now, the days continue to grow darker, colder, more ominous.
The readings are those that offer hope to subsidize our endurance.
They offer assurance   Not to give up – to wait –to have faith.  As I
shared before, there is no greater feeling than to sense that God is
with us, to feel the inextricable presence of the divine in the
immediacy of our lives and our spirits, our surroundings.  To
experience God in the present moment.  But often, the human experience
implies feeling forsaken or abandoned – experiencing the absence of
the sacred or the divine.  Of  having our spirits eroded by Doubt. It
is then we must rely on the scaffolding and framework, that our Faith
as Christians and our belief system provides, to pull us through. It
is an inner construct.   Symbolically, just as what we are being asked
to persevere as we approach the threshold our our limitations, a voice
cries out in the wilderness, assuring us that salvation is on its way.
Our readings during this challenging time of the year are infused
with John’s Assurance, his unassailable Certitude of what is to come.
And so we await in joyful anticipation. In eager expectancy. Out of
the wilderness appears John The Baptist proclaiming the imminence of
the Lord, urging us to keep fast the straight and narrow, to get rid
of the highs and lows, not to deviate,  to fix the straightest course
in our consciousness and souls between ourselves and God.  The
shortest distance between two points. John arrives not from a
synagogue, not from civilization, not from the social, political, or
economic construct, but out of the wilderness to assure us that Help
is on the way, and to prepare ourselves to receive  – and perceive its
presence when it arrives.  As we know from being seasoned, such divine
presence and Holiness will be controversial, denied, refuted,

In Isaiah, we are prepared to anticipate
the utter transformation and revolution that will occur as a result
of God’s arrival and presence into our lives, That which is barren
will be made fruitful, that which is dry and parched will be
moistened, the high shall be made low, etc.  Such attributes are are
reiterated on an emotional, political and social level by Mary in The
Magnificat .  Where God is present all is transformed.  The ordinary
is extraordinary.  The First become Last, The Humble Exalted.   I am
most touched in The Isaiah reading  by the reference to a path – a
holy path amidst all the otherwise unsanguine aspects of
existence…This is the spiritual path…And it exists within the
subterfuge of each moment – and of each extraneous construct – it
exists within  and in spite of any social, political and economic
system –  Offering a course,  a sense of direction, guidance, and
deliverance.  Holy things are for the Holy.   This is a path we
follow, as people of a sublime faith, toward the metaphorical promised
land, the kingdom of God, It is the journey from darkness to light.
from bondage toward liberation, from damnation toward salvation.  It
offers Deliverance.

In the gospel reading Christ acknowledges and affirms the promises of
transformation anticipated in both Isaiah and the Psalm…And Christ
establishes a correspondence between the heavens and the earth,
between the divine and the mortal, His presence and power encourages
and relies on the  testimonies of those whom he serves. It is not
dictatorial or dogmatic in that regard. It is not estranged from
humankind.   It invites us.  It needs and requires our eyes, our ears,
our mouths, We are active participants in the ministries.  The news is
carried from John to Christ and back again through messengers.
Through mortals.  We bear witness and give testimony.  It is a
dialogue.  A discourse. A correspondence.  Sometimes we carry the
message.  Sometimes we are the message.  Christ  signifies the mediary
ambassador between the supernatural and the natural, the divine and
the corporeal, the sacred and the profane.  His ministries require our
participation – and in order to participate we must abolish our own