- Ordinary Time (6/3/2018) - If you have a religious calendar of any sort, this time of year is alternatively called the “Season of Pentecost” and “Ordinary Time”. Either way, it is the longest season of the church year...
- Getting the Help You Need (6/3/2018) - I certainly hope that in this day and age we have overcome the stigma of seeking therapy through a counselor but, at the same time, I know that such a hope is yet to be realized.
- A Harvest of the Holy Spirit (6/3/2018) - After our devotional time at the May Board of Deacons Meeting, I was asked about the origin of Pentecost. From the word itself, you can probably guess that it has to do with the number 5. More specifically, it is 50 days after Easter. It marks the end of the Easter Season and the beginning of the Season of Pentecost.
- Seasons (6/3/2018) - I just noticed something interesting about the seasons of the church year that I hadn’t picked up on before. It is kind of a hidden message of sor
- In Jesus’ Selfie (6/3/2018) - There is a great cartoon I saw some time back. It was titled “Jesus Takes a Selfie”. It showed Jesus holding a cell phone at arm’s length and smiling broadly. On the phone screen, however, was not his face but rather a crowd of people of different colors, sizes and genders.
- A Positive Alternative (6/3/2018) - Thankfully, April 3rd passed without incident—at least I never saw any headlines to the contrary.
In case you didn’t know, April 3rd was a tense day in Britain...
- Not Broken, Just Incomplete (4/18/2018) - I am always struck by what people hear in sermons. After worship someone will remark about something in the sermon that may not even have been the point I was trying to make.
There was a turn of phrase that I used in a sermon a while back that was like that. It wasn’t the point of the sermon but people seemed to remember it (I’m not even sure the main point got across—but that’s okay!).
- An Easter People’s Lamentation of Hope (4/18/2018) - As we continue our journey in the Easter season, I offer here the Easter Message from our United Church of Christ General Minister and President the Rev. John C. Dorhauer. May we find hope in his words during these challenging times.
- Disturb Us, Lord (4/18/2018) - It has become my post-Easter tradition to share the following prayer in this column. The prayer was written by Sir Francis Drake who was an English explorer in the 1500s (Elizabethan era) and led the second expedition to successfully circumnavigate the globe. The exact date of the prayer is unknown.
- No Joke (4/1/2018) - Jesus is Risen! April fools!
There is a certain irony when Easter Sunday falls on April 1st—April Fools’ Day. After all, when the first disciples announced his resurrection, many people assumed that they were joking.
- All That We Need (4/1/2018) - During these weeks of Lent, I am offering here an invitation to an ancient spiritual practice called “Lectio Divina”. It is a practice of contemplatively reading scripture in order to still one’s mind and connect to God.
- The Observer (3/16/2018) - During these weeks of Lent, I am offering here an invitation to an ancient spiritual practice called “Lectio Divina”. It is a practice of contemplatively reading scripture in order to still one’s mind and connect to God.
- Look at the Unknown (3/16/2018) - During these weeks of Lent, I am offering here an invitation to an ancient spiritual practice called “Lectio Divina”. It is a practice of contemplatively reading scripture in order to still one’s mind and connect to God.
- A Spiritual Practice for Lent (3/3/2018) - A 12th c Carthusian French monk, Guigo II, described the spiritual life as climbing a ladder. The steps were Reading, Meditation, Prayer, and Contemplation. Or lectio, meditatio, oratio, and contemplatio.
- Mindfulness (3/3/2018) - If someone were to ask me what the over-arching goal of Lent should be, my one-word answer would be: Mindfulness.
- Ashing Questions for Lent (3/3/2018) - This week marks the beginning of the Lenten Season. Lent is a season of spiritual preparation for Easter. It is a time to assess our faith and discipleship
- The Better Angels of our Nature (2/7/2018) - The past year has seen a noticeable uptick in bullying. This is the case not only in our schools but also in the work world and social media world as well.
This is disappointing, of course. Schools in particular have gone to great lengths to provide anti-bullying education to students of all ages.
- A Vision: God’s Gift (2/7/2018) - When the bible says: “where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18), it may mean different things to different people, but one thing we can all agree on is that it means that we should be looking forward, not behind.
- Lost in Translation (2/7/2018) - There are new computer and phone apps coming out every day. Some are quite amazing.
Take, for example, the fact that up until recently you really needed a guide book of simple phrases if you were traveling to a country where you did not speak the language. Unless the person in front of you from that country spoke English, you were reduced to pointing at the book, gesturing and hoping for the best.
- The “Genesis” of Me Too (2/7/2018) - You know that a social catharsis is underway and a social remedy needed when a phenomenon like “Me Too” shows no signs of going away. And it shouldn’t. As someone said: “Me Too isn’t a fad, it is a truth and truths don’t fade”.
- Lead us not into Temptation (2/7/2018) - There is one prayer in our faith that unites all Christians. Any guesses? That’s right! The Lord’s Prayer (or sometimes called the “Our Father” after the first two words of the prayer).
- A New Year’s Blessing (1/6/2018) - No one blesses better than the Irish. Many Irish blessings have, however, become kind of kitschy after too often being found on dishware, door knockers, and tshirts,… Read more "A New Year’s Blessing"
- A Good Christmas (12/31/2017) - Depending on when you get the newsletter, Christmas is only about three or four days away! Is it just me, or does Christmas come more quickly each year?
If I’m honest, I think that’s a sign of getting a bit older. Remember when you were a kid and the time between each Christmas was an eternity? Now we can’t believe it is here again already!
- Compassion Fade (12/31/2017) - I came across a new phrase today: “Compassion fade”.
It is a term for the phenomenon in which people’s compassion diminishes in proportion to the size or complexity of the problem.
For example, people will more likely give to help a local resident whose home has been lost to a fire than to people dying of a pandemic in another part of the world. It is easier to compassionately support a person whose loved one has died than to confront genocide.
- Jesus’ Family Tree (12/31/2017) - Henry Louis Gates, Jr. hosts a show on PBS called “Finding Your Roots”. In it, he shares the often unknown ancestry of famous people. We not only… Read more "Jesus’ Family Tree"
- Advent? Magnificent! (11/28/2017) - Advent is, of course, all about anticipating the birth of Christ. It is a time of preparation, contemplation, and waiting. But really, it is about so much… Read more "Advent? Magnificent!"
- Independent of Place (11/27/2017) - Have you ever visited the site of the Pilgrims landing: Plymouth Rock? We did when we first moved to Massachusetts. It seemed the appropriate thing to do—a… Read more "Independent of Place"
- Annual Christmas Fair! (11/25/2017) - A Christmas season family destination in Melrose for years, come to buy Christmas gifts & enter raffles and auctions for incredible prizes. Kids of all ages can… Read more "Annual Christmas Fair!"
- How Long, O Lord? (11/17/2017) - The mass shooting at the First Baptist Church in Southerland Springs, Texas can be added to a long list of such shootings that are not only tragic… Read more "How Long, O Lord?"
- Summer Schedule (6/26/2017) - During the summer, First Congregational Church worships with other Melrose churches in the month of July. Please see our worship schedule below. Summer church office hours… Read more "Summer Schedule"
- Fun with By-Laws (5/31/2017) - Let’s face it, there are few things more boring in the life of any organization than its by-laws. In fact, I am fond of recommending them to… Read more "Fun with By-Laws"
- Simplifying Things (5/23/2017) - As we continue to struggle through these uncertain days, I recently came across a reminder of what is truly important from an old source. I am sure… Read more "Simplifying Things"
- A Mother God on Mother’s Day (5/23/2017) - We are pretty clear in the United Church of Christ that God is beyond gender. Yet despite our acceptance (since the 1860s) of women’s ordination and countless… Read more "A Mother God on Mother’s Day"
- Re-Enactments (5/2/2017) - The day after Easter, we went to see the Patriot’s Day re-enactments at Lexington and Concord. If you have been to these before, as we have, you… Read more "Re-Enactments"
- Disturb Us, Lord (4/22/2017) - It has become my tradition to share the following prayer in this column the week after Easter since it speaks of our calling as people of the… Read more "Disturb Us, Lord"