Category Archives: SERMONS, WORSHIP, MEDITATIONS

Examen..R.R. Meditation for 7/28/20

Take Your Time Tuesday        

Balance.  With all that presses upon us, many of us seek balance, a place where we are centered, that spiritual space where we can hold together the blessings and challenges of 2020 and find peace.  In this week’s Take Your Time Tuesday video, author and retired pastor, Steve Garnaas-Holmes, offers us the Examen as a spiritual practice to find balance and embrace a greater consciousness of the situations in our life.

Based in Ignatian spirituality, the Examen asks us to be aware of moments of light and dark, gratefulness and regret, consolation and desolation, and without judgement, to notice them and to move on.  It is a simple practice to find peace in a complex and ever changing world.

June meditation from DS Foster

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Hello RISEM Clergy & Laity,
The following devotions are taken from the book, The One Year Praying the Promises of God by Cherri Fuller and Jennifer Kennedy Dean. I pray these devotions will increase your hunger for God’s Word.
JUNE 2020

Pure Promises

The LORD’S promises are pure, like silver refined in a furnace, purified seven times over. Psalm 12: 6 The psalmist paints a picture of silver purified beyond ordinary standards. He describes a process that will produce 100 percent pure silver. Every bit of impurity or residue gone. God’s promises are unmixed with any untruth. They’ve been put through the fire. David wrote, “Your promises have been thoroughly tested; that is why I love them so much” (Psalm 119: 140). God doesn’t want his promises to be theoretical; he invites us to put them to the test so we will know for ourselves how trustworthy they are.

When Scripture tells us how to know God, it uses “sense” words: How sweet your words taste to me; they are sweeter than honey. (Psalm 119: 103) I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand. (Ephesians 1: 18) The Sovereign LORD has opened my ears. (Isaiah 50: 5, NIV) Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. (2 Corinthians 2: 15) Consider this: How would you describe the taste of a strawberry to someone who has never tasted one? You couldn’t. Things that we know through our senses we have to learn firsthand.

So, it is with knowing God. You can know him only by firsthand experience and the certainty of his promises. They have to be tested in your fire. But you cannot trust promises on their own merit. A promise is only as reliable as the person who makes it. If you don’t know the promiser, you have no way of knowing whether or not to rely on the promise. You must trust the Promiser.

Faithful Father, the more I know you, the more faith comes naturally to me. Trust is no longer a generic idea but is becoming instead a deliberate act as I learn to trust in you. Show yourself to me in the comings and goings of my life, teaching me that who you are ensures what you will do. The promises of the Bible are nothing more than God’s covenant to be faithful to His people. It is His character that makes these promises valid.  JERRY BRIDGES (1929–), American author and conference speaker.

 

Blessings,

Rev. Dr. Andrew L. Foster III

R.R. Tuesday meditation

If you think that “Abba” is simply a musical group, we encourage you to take some time today to discover the true meaning of “Abba” in this week’s “Take Your Time Tuesday” video by Rev. Dr. Stephanie Rutt. (click the thumbnail below to access)

“Abba” is the Aramaic term for “Father” or “Daddy”, and when prayed during hard times like we are experiencing now, “Abba, I belong to you” becomes a wonderful prayer exercise to remind us that we belong to God and that we are not alone.

D.S.Foster’s Mothers Day Prayer

A Mother’s Day Prayer…

“Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him.” Psalm 127:3 (NLT)

“Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you; Before you were born, I sanctified you;
I ordained you a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5 (N KJV)

Gracious God,

As this new day unfolds, I want to pause and thank you for all the mothers of this world; the memories of our mothers, the faithful mothers of the present, and the mothers of the future. I pray that you remind mothers who have given birth and those who have raised children they did not birth that you are always with them.

During these challenging times of physical distancing and uncertainty, let us not forget the many scarifies our mothers have made over the years. Let our mothers persevere and not give up because their current situation seems bleak. Grant the mothers of the world the courage and strength to keep on climbing as encouraged in this poem by Langston Hughes,

Mother to Son

Well, son, I’ll tell you:
Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
It’s had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor—
Bare.
But all the time
I’se been a-climbin’ on,
And reachin’ landin’s,
And turnin’ corners,
And sometimes goin’ in the dark
Where there ain’t been no light.
So boy, don’t you turn back.
Don’t you set down on the steps
’Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.
Don’t you fall now—
For I’se still goin’, honey,
I’se still climbin’,
And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.

Thank you, God, for our mothers; thank you for their strength of character and their love for you. Bless them with long life and satisfy them with the desires of their hearts and they diligently seek after you.

May the Lord bless our Mothers and keep them;
The Lord make His face shine upon our Mothers,
And be gracious to them; May the Lord lift up His countenance upon all Mothers,
And give them peace. (Adapted from Numbers 6:24-26)

A Blessed Happy Mother’s Day!!!

 

R.R. TAKE YOUR TIME TUESDAY “Letting Go”

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When our onsite operations closed in mid-March, Rolling Ridge quickly launched online programming to provide spiritual resources to support our community during these unprecedented times. Our weekly “Take Your Time Tuesday” videos have been part of this gift, along with numerous online retreats to keep you centered in your faith and to remind you that you are not alone.

This week, Rolling Ridge Executive Director, Lawrence Jay, offers us a “Letting Go” breathing exercise to encourage us to live with open hands and not clenched fists during this time. While it is easy to live in fear during this global pandemic, we who believe in the gracious love of God are called to live in faith, to serve and to give.

Rolling Ridge Tuesday Meditation

 

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The daffodils have begun to bloom at Rolling Ridge.  Spring has sprung.  And while the sounds of birds now fill the air, the house and grounds are quiet as we like everyone else wait for the good news that the darkness of COVID-19 has passed and our doors can open again.  During these times of uncertainty and waiting, it can be hard to be present and thankful for what is as we long for what is yet to come.

In this week’s “Take Your Time Tuesday” video, John Kiemele offers us the spiritual practice of Embodied Gratefulness to help us live into the now and to celebrate the blessings of God in this present moment.  When we begin to feel gratitude through the fullness of our body, we wake up to the Divine Presence of God in and around us now.  We encourage you to slow down, click the link or the image below for the video, and take time for yourself to be centered in God and to be thankful.  May this practice become part of your daily spiritual routine so you do not grow weary and lose hope.

connects to a meditation on Embodied Gratefulness.

April 5 Liturgy

Palm Sunday Worship Outline

Chilmark Community Church

April 4, 2020, Palm Sunday

Rev. Ernest Belisle, Pastor

Thought for the week

Jesus makes his way to Jerusalem to face the cross

to show how much he loves you and me!

Welcome Pastor

RECOGNITION OF VISITORS 

NOTICES & ANNOUNCEMENTS

Intension of today’s worship: Pastor

*Call to Worship                                                   Pastor, Liturgist and People

Pastor:  The Lord be with you.

People:  And also with you.

Lay Leader: “Hosanna! Loud Hosanna,” the little children sang.

Pastor:  Blessed be the One who comes on the name of the Lord. Blessed is the Son of David!

Lay Leader:        Hosanna!  Save us now O Son of David! (loudly)

Passion/Palm Sunday Prayer for the Day Pastor

PROCLAMATION OF THE ENTRANCE INTO JERUSALEM

*The Palm Sunday Gospel Reading is from      Matthew 21:1-11  Lay Leader

Leader:   This is the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

People:  Praise be to Christ our Lord.

The significance of Palms and the meaning Pastor

Prayers: Pastor

THE PASSION LITURGY

Hymn:           O Sacred Head, Now Wounded UMH 286

Prayer for the Day Pastor

Scripture Readings:

(Reading the Passion Narrative from the Gospel according to St Matthew [portions of] chapters 26 and 27 from the New International Version [NIV])

First Reading: Pastor

St Matthew chapter 26 verses 36 to 50 

Jesus in Gethsemane

Second Reading: Lay Leader

St Matthew chapter 27 verses 1-2, 11-18, and 20 to 26

Jesus is taken to Pilate

Hymn:       When I Survive the Wondrous Cross – UMH 299

Third Reading: Lay Leader

St Matthew chapter 27 verses 32, and 34 – 42,

The Crucifixion of Jesus

Fourth Reading: Pastor

St Matthew chapter 27 verses 45 to 50, and 54 to 56

The Death of Jesus

Hymn: Were Your There When the Crucified My Lord   UMH 288

THE PROMISE OF GOD’S MERCY                                         Pastor

Leader: He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.

People: By a perversion of justice he was taken away. 

Who could have imagined his future?

For he was cut off from the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people.

Pastor:   Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he 

was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form,

People:   he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death–even death on a cross.

Pastor:   Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name,

People:  so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

All:         and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Hymn:   Bless be the Ties that Binds UMH 557

Benediction   Pastor

As we continue to journey through life, may we continue to remember, “Hosanna to the Son of David, may we know that even in the midst of life’s greatest uncertainties and sufferings the sovereign God of time and eternity is with us.  May the blessing and guidance God the first mover, God the Son the redeemer, and God the Holy Spirit the great comforter be us always.  Amen.

Checking in on those who would like to talk and share

Home Worship March 29

Dear Members and Friends of Chilmark Church,

Grace and Peace in the name of Jesus the Christ!

Permit me to invite you to practice “Home Worship” with us from the comfort of your home! Your presence does matter.

How are you doing and how are you bearing up under social distancing, mixed messaging and uncertainty, for those who have contracted the virus, our economy, our Island Home and our country? Yes, with the corona virus spreading rapidly we are wise to practice social distancing, however, at the same time we must be careful not to fall into isolation, which may lead to depression.

Let us continue in prayer for our country, our community, our friends, our loved ones and ourselves.

Thank you for taking time out to practicing “home church” – to read, meditate and pray for yourself, your friends, our community and our country from your home. I believe that spending time doing these readings and prayers are important as we remain spiritually connected.

Please find attached the meditation, prayers and hymn for Sunday, March 29. If you click on the attachment at the end of this document you will get a better layout of the devotional material found in the body of this email.

May we be strengthened during these days of quiet soul searching and reflection.

Sincerely,

God bless us all,

Ernest Belisle (Pastor)

Chilmark Community Church 

March 29, 2020, Fifth Sunday in Lent

Rev. Ernest Belisle, Pastor

 

Opening Prayer:

O God, source of all life, we thank you for your abiding presence.  Sometimes life seems unbearable and we struggle with the burdens of life and death. We try desperately to be in control. Set us free, in mind body and spirit O God, from all our worries and insecurities. Free us now from a wandering mind and a restless heart that we might worship you in spirit and in truth. Renew within us an awareness of who we are as God’s people. May this be a time of new life and new resolution to live in and through the One who came not to be served but to serve.  Amen.

 

Meditation for the Week

Today we give thanks that God is our strength and shield. With the hymn writer Martin J. Nystrom, we can sing:  As the deer pants for the water, so my soul longs after you. You alone are my heart’s desire, and I long to worship you. You alone are my strength, my shield; to you alone may my spirit yield. You alone are my heart’s desire, and I long to worship you.

Our scripture reading for the day assures us that in Christ there is certainty in life and through death. The reading is for the fifth Sunday of Lent in the A Cycle of the Revised Common Lectionary from the Gospel according to St. John’s Gospel chapter 11 verses 1-45.  What an event!  Jesus, having left the Bethany area (near Jerusalem) because of threats on his life received a call to return, from Mary and Martha, because his friend, Lazarus, was extremely ill and near death (corona virus?).  After Lazarus’ death, Jesus decided to return to Mary and Martha, against the advice of his disciples.  When he arrived, Martha scolded him, Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.  Mildly suggesting, why bother to come now that he is dead for three days.  Jesus was genuinely moved, his answer to Martha was, Your brother will rise again… I am the resurrection and the life.  Those who believe in me, even though they die, yet they will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.  Do you believe this?’’Jesus then went to the tomb (with a group following him) and asked that the stone be rolled away. There were, at first, some objections because of the stench and contamination that would come from the tomb. Eventually, the stone was rolled away and Jesus ordered, in a loud and passionate voice, “Lazarus, come out!” Lazarus came out in the manner in which he was placed in tomb; bound head, hands and feet with burial cloth.  Jesus ordered, “Unbind him, and set him free.”

This is a significant and extraordinary event for many reasons.  Here are a few:

  1. a) That Lazarus was dead for three days makes the point that he was not in a coma; he was really dead. (This is no making believe, it is a spiritual account! The implication is that many are dead and entombed; while there are also those who are out of the tomb but still wrapped in their death cloth.)
  2. b) That Jesus was willing to risk his life and return to the area demonstrates Jesus’ love for his friend. (Jesus risked/gave his life for all the world.)
  3. c) That Jesus was able to raise Lazarus from the dead displayed Jesus’ power over death and the grave. (Jesus/God still has power over spiritual and physical death.)
  4. d) That Jesus ordered himunbound from his death clothreveals Jesus’ desire to set him free from the marks of death to live a new life in Jesus the Christ. (Jesus still orders us unbound from the things that bind us in death and to death.)

To all of us in this time of uncertainty, disease and death may we hear the words of Jesus, “I am the resurrection and the life.  Those who believe in me, even though they die, yet they will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.  Do you believe this?”… “Unbind him/her, and set him/her free.”

Let us remember that it is in Christ that we find new life spiritually and physically; even in this time of disease and death. We are a people of LIFE.  Hear the words and thought of Cardinal John Henry Newman who advised, “Fear not of death, but fear rather, that when you come to the end of your earthly journey you find out that you never have lived.” Yes, so afraid of death that we never lived – if so our whole earthly sojourn becomes one long morbid journey because of the fear of death, because of a lack of faith and trust in God: the All-Mighty, All Loving, All Powerful God of heaven and earth and the universe. So in these times of lock down and social distancing let us remember to do our best to find life – joy, peace and love in our family, our loved ones and our God.  We journey with Jesus through hardships, sacrifices and even death, from Galilee to Jerusalem and then to new life.

Remember Jesus’ word, “Unbind …set … free!” The scripture reading suggests: Be not bound by death or the fear of death. (Of course, I am not suggesting we discontinue our physical practice of social distancing!) Let us remain spiritually connected through prayer, meditation and thinking of each other.

You, O Christ, are in us, in our hospitals, in our nurses and doctors, in your Church, in your world, and in you we find ‘the resurrection and the life.’

Sincerely,

Your Brother in Christ,

Ernest Belisle (Pastor)

Prayer with you family or alone:

Leader: Be with us O Lord as we pray this prayer.

From the swirling chaos of the primeval waters you brought forth light and life, O Lord.

All: One thing I know, though I be dead as Lazarus, you loved me so much that you brought me back to life, unbound me and set me free to eat and drink, sing and dance with you in your house.

Leader: From the mud of the earth you brought into being one who is intended to see what you see, O Lord.

All: One thing I know, though I be dead as Lazarus, you loved me so much that you brought me back to life, unbound me and set me free to eat and drink, sing and dance with you in your house.

Leader: From my sisters’ prayers and tears for a sick and dying brother you have called my name that I may be a witness to your glorious power, O Lord.

All: One thing I know, though I be dead as Lazarus, you loved me so much that you brought me back to life, unbound me and set me free to eat and drink, sing and dance with you in your house.

 

Pastor: Send forth your Holy Spirit on me and on all your people in ways yet unimagined, that through this time of chaos and confusion we will be opened, and, will see your heart at work in me and in the world. May we not hold back but cry out loudly:

All: You are the Resurrection and the Life, O Christ, my God.

 

Your Personal Prayers:

 

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come, thy will be done,

On earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our trespasses,

As we forgive those who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.

 

The Hymn for the day:

         Jesus, Joy of Our Desiring         UMH644

(Martin Janus, 1661; trans. anon.)

 

  1. Jesus, joy of our desiring, holy wisdom, love most bright; drawn by thee, our souls aspiring soar to uncreated light.

Word of God, our flesh that fashioned, with the fire of life impassioned, striving still to truths unknown, soaring, dying round thy throne.

 

  1. Through the way where hope is guiding, hark, what peaceful music

 rings; where the flock, in thee confiding, drink of joy from deathless springs.

Theirs is beauty’s fairest pleasure; theirs is wisdom’s holiest treasure.

            Thou dost ever lead thine own in the love of joys

         unknown.

 

Closing Prayer and Benediction

Love mercy, deal justly, practice patience, and live peacefully with all.  Know that Jesus is our Resurrection and Life; in him we can find new Life in troubled times; in the name of the God our Father and Mother, in the name of the Son Jesus the Christ our Brother, and in the name of the Holy Spirit our Comforter.  Amen.

Benediction:                   Traditional Irish Melody

May the road continue smooth before you;

             May there be enough light along the way;

May peace greet you at every crossroad

             And joy accompany you to the end.

Through whatever pain and suffering is yours to endure,

             Know that God is in it with you.

Amen