Thoughts and Ideas from Rev. Diane R. Ford
13 September 2019
“Drawing Our Attention to God”
Most are familiar with the American symbol for the medical field, two snakes intertwined. With some fun we’ll review the history of this symbol, and then the story of Moses healing the Children of Israel with a sculpture of a snake. In John we read, “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.” Scholars cannot be certain about the origin of this thought — how Moses’ healing sculpture is connected with the spiritual healing gained in knowing the crucified Christ. Why do you suppose there is such a connection? And in today’s world, what message do they have in today’s world?
8 September 2019
“We Will Come and Make Our Home”
This Sunday we celebrate the Lord’s Supper as well as prepare the church for Family Promise guests. What is it like for you to be a guest? How have you felt, what have you anticipated or hoped for? What has ever made you uncomfortable, and have you ever developed a secret signal to go to your friend or spouse which means, “I want to leave now”?
Jesus was a guest in many homes in his ministry. When you and I come to communion, to receive the bread and cup, we are guests. In today’s scripture Jesus goes further to say that God comes to us and makes a home with us. That’s more than having God as a guest — that sounds like a permanent arrangement!
Labor Day Weekend, 30 August 2019
“Etiquette and Party Invitations”
Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16
Luke 14:1, 7-14
Max Davis used to sing the funny song, “O Lord it’s hard to be humble when you’re perfect in every way.” The humble attitudes of confident people is a strength in any endeavor. And most church-goers feel that we are humble. The scripture this Sunday gets confronting when we look more carefully at our social lives and the “types of people” we choose to spend time with. Jesus describes a guest list for a party and the implications go deep. Who we invite can become a habit that turns into a trend and then a norm. How can the church dismantle the social “norms” that breed bigotry, self-righteousness and blind hatred? Do some thinking about that — what actions can we take to develop and demonstrate the depth of hospitality Jesus teaches?
Labor Day Sunday, September 2016
“Integrating our Labor and Spirituality”
I spoke to a seasoned educator today who says she has lived by the academic calendar all her life. She spoke of the big push in early September to get prepared for the beginning of the school year. “No matter how long I’ve been at it, it’s still exciting and daunting.”
In Matthew 9 Jesus says, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.” Sounds exciting and daunting. Integrating our labor with our spirituality is what increases the work force Jesus is talking about.
Whatever our work is — be it paid for, volunteered, or the type of work it takes to get ourselves out of bed and make breakfast — all of our labors can be offered as grateful responses to God. Gratefulness is never “not enough.” There is a spiritual quality to it which is whole and complete. Those kind of offerings to God don’t stay in some basket or heavenly ledger — not if we are talking about the God of Moses and Jesus. There is a release of miracles in such offerings. We hear it in the story of water coming out of the rock Moses struck, and the multitudes fed with two fish and a loaf of bread. Paul describes it as the “fruit of the Spirit,” and Jesus described it as “new life,” “living water,” and “the Kingdom of God.”
When you and I gratefully offer all that we are-and-be to the Divine, we are participating in God’s ongoing creation and salvation. We know not who, what or how many will be affected. This is the kind of worker Jesus is referring to when he goes on in Matthew 9, “Ask the Lord of the Harvest to send more workers into the harvest fields.”
What do you do when you are working? How do you see God using you there? As you and I integrate our spirituality and labor, we are the “more workers” being sent. And no matter how long you’ve been at it, working for the Lord of the Harvest is still both exciting and daunting.
Lincroft, NJ 07738