Showing posts from October, 2020

Open to New Possibilities

“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”   --John 8:32 Over the last six months I have spent a lot of my time alone. As an introvert, I enjoy my alone time more than most. But this time it felt different. It was different. There was a quiet that there truly has never been before. In this quiet I found myself reflecting on my life far more than I ever have in the past. Much like binge-watching Netflix or Hulu, my mind kept replaying scenes from the past. I revisited the decisions, interactions, and some of the major emotional moments that have marked my life thus far.  This self-reflection left me wondering about where I currently find myself. Left me questioning where I am being called. Left me to face what more God could be planning for me. I also wondered how many others out there were finding themselves in a similar place of discernment. If the question- how is God calling me, has come up for you over these past few months, maybe it’s time to listen for the

What Is Your Life-Giving Choice Today?

 By  April Nible, Certified Spiritual Director  Where do you see God at work in this pandemic?  I’ll answer that question with another question.  “What is the life-giving choice?”  I was in my early thirties and facing some of the toughest, most life-altering decisions of my life. The kinds of decisions that uproot years of planning, relationships, finances, complacency, and would most definitely affect others’ lives as well. It took an intense session with a dear spiritual director to cut through the hem-hawing and floundering voices in my head.  “April,” she said, “Be gentle with yourself. What is the most life-giving choice?” As I sat there, I knew deep in my heart that the choice I needed to make was not the easy path. But it was the honest and true path that needed to be taken. It would require massive change, that would bring changes to others as well. But on the other side of the change, I felt a glimmer of freedom, a loosening from inner bondage. Peace.  My spiritual director c

New Life

 Shared by Rev. Sarah Cordray, pastor at Luther Memorial in Syracuse Most often through this pandemic, the reality of limitations has caused us to look at what we cannot do. But, Luther Memorial would argue the opposite in what they have been able to do because of what the Drive-In service in their parking lot has brought them. They have learned so much through who has joined them and what they have celebrated together!   Drive-In service has allowed their members to bring their pets to worship. Odin, a yellow lab puppy is being brought up in the church with every honk of “Peace be with You” as he lays in the back seat and chews on his toy. He is the most excited member to greet the pastors after worship in the drive by greeting. Several other new puppies, who were brought home as a result of the quarantine and the additional stay-at-home time for families, have also been a part of their service. Oscar and Scooter were a few of the other dogs who made it apparent that a pet blessing wa

Finding Something New in the Unknown

 By Rev. Juliet Focken, Assistant to the Bishop  I was feeling pretty unfocused and just a COVID-hot-mess.  With four kids, my husband and I both working from home, there was no quiet time and there was no space for any spiritual practices.  I saw an ad for a program that works on your brain's neuroplasticity, that helps you to be more focused on who you are called to be. It couldn’t have come at a better time.   Walking a fine line between enough scientific research to allow me to trust the program and little steps that are adding new behaviors, the program seemed to be a great fit.  Especially when I’ve been struggling to figure out how I can lead and give direction when it feels like my life is a mess. I’ve been wondering if there was a way to intentionally focus more of my new daily routine into spiritual practices.  The reality of this uncertain time is that there is no additional time to carve out for anything; there is work, kids, and life all happening within the walls of o

Uncertain Times

 By Presiding Bishop Eaton Between 1527 and 1529, Martin Luther wrote and composed his famous hymn “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.” He based the text of this hymn on Psalm 46: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (verse 1). Luther knew about trouble. He had been excommunicated by the church and declared an outlaw by the emperor. The bubonic plague had returned to Wittenberg, Germany. His 7-month-old daughter, Elisabeth, had died. Western Europe was under attack by the Ottoman Empire. Civil unrest resulted in the Peasants War, which was brutally crushed by the nobility. Luther lived in uncertain times. It’s unlikely that Luther could see with certainty in 1527 how his work would turn out. The Reformation wasn’t a glorious march of unbroken progress. It was messy. The “Reformers” argued with each other. It was violent. It had its share of hateful and divisive rhetoric. Anathemas were levied by all sides against each other. Even at the end of his life, Luther wo