Wednesday, October 12, 2022


October 12, 2022
Holden Homily
2 Timothy 4:1-5

A reading from 2 Timothy,

In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I solemnly urge you: proclaim the message; be persistent whether the time is favorable or unfavorable; convince, rebuke, and encourage, with the utmost patience in teaching. For the time is coming when people will not put up with sound doctrine, but having itching ears, they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own desires, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander away to myths. As for you, always be sober, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, carry out your ministry fully.

Here ends the reading.

Please pray with me,

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all of our hearts be acceptable and suitable in your sight, O God, our rock, our strength and our redeemer. Amen.

"I solemnly urge you: proclaim the message."

On Sunday, following the Crop Walk, Billy and I were at the grocery store. 

Part of the tasty treats in our cart included these two packages of Oreos.  

(Toffee crunch crème Oreos and Mint crème Oreos) Yes, they make these flavors now!

The confirmation class this year is participating in an Oreo bracket challenge.  Each time the class gets together, they do a side by side tasting of two different varieties of Oreos.  They are encouraged to give the best descriptors of each flavor before voting on their favorite flavor.  Just like a March Madness basketball bracket, the winner moves on to the next round and the loser, well, those get eaten either during class or after by Billy and myself.  Sometimes you have to take one for the team, am I right? 

So, as we were checking out at Giant, the young man bagging the groceries remarked on the two interesting flavors we were purchasing.  The young cashier had no idea that there were all these different flavors and the bagger said, yeah, they have all sorts of flavors. 

I said, yes, so many flavors, my confirmation class is doing an Oreo bracket challenge to discover which flavor they like the most. 

The cashier said, hold up. What class?  Confirmation? What subject is that? 

I said, oh, it happens at church, the subject is God.

Oh, she said, you have Oreos at your church? 

I said, yeah, for the young folks I do. 

She said, where is this church?

Trinity in Robesonia. 

Oh, she said. 

She went on, I used to go to church in Reading.  Then during the pandemic, I started going to this church in Georgia – online. 

But a church with Oreos, she said, that I might have to check out. 

What church is it again? 

Trinity in Robesonia. 


I said, during the pandemic we did worship on line as well, we had people like my sister’s mother-in-law joining us online from New Hampshire.  We’re trying to figure out how to maintain that connection online as we return in person. 

Yeah, she said. 

So where is this church with Oreos again?

Trinity, Robesonia, I said. 

She said, I’ll have to check it out. 

I said, we’d be glad to have you. 

The checkout continued and we headed on our way. 

And I said to Billy, that’s evangelism, right?


Only several hours later did I realize it was Oreovangelism. 

But seriously….it was the simplest of conversations at the check out lane at Giant. 

It was the willingness of myself to share that it was church event I was preparing for.

It was the openness of the check out clerk to engage in conversation. 

It was the movement of the Holy Spirit that guided us all in that holy space. 

It was also the realization that evangelism…proclaiming the good news…can be as simple as a conversation that starts around Oreos.

You don’t need to know everything about the Bible.

You don’t need to be able to clearly articulate your understanding of the Apostles’ Creed.

Heck, if some one asks you a question you don’t know the answer to about church or faith you can tell them you’re still learning too, and you’d love to find an answer. 

I think you’ll find, that most folks are curious about what we do and why we do it. 

And, many folks are curious about why you attend church and what keeps you coming back. 

I bet those are questions that you know the answers to.

The next time you have an Oreo or are at the supermarket or are in conversation with someone …ponder how an everyday conversation may present the opportunity to share your faith or your love of this place with someone new. 

And now may the peace, which surpasses all understanding, keep our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, and let all God’s people say, amen. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

One post...two reads?

I have been remiss in posting sermons and homilies as of late.  It's been a pretty busy time of life and vocation for me.  In this post you will find the homily from our Holden Evening Prayer service on September 21 and the sermon I preached on the weekend of September 18. 
Thanks for reading. 

Holden Evening Prayer - peace reflection
September 21, 2022
Numbers 6:24-26
John 14:27
Colossians 3:15

Thanks to the calendar hanging on my office wall, I learned that today is the International Day of Peace, also known as World Peace Day. It is celebrated annually on September 21 and is devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples. At a time when war and violence often monopolize our news cycles, the International Day of Peace is an inspiring reminder of what we can greater together: peace.  

In 1981, the United Nations General Assembly declared the third Tuesday of September as International Day of Peace. This day coincided with the opening day of the annual sessions of the General Assembly. The purpose of the day was and still remains, to strengthen the ideals of peace around the world.

Two decades after establishing this day of observance, in 2001, the assembly moved the date to be observed annually on September 21. So, beginning in 2002, September 21 marks not only a time to discuss how to promote and maintain peace among all peoples but also a 24-hour period of global ceasefire and non-violence for groups in active combat.

Life is better in a world where peace exists and, today, we look to those who have been peacemakers and peacekeepers to learn what we can each do individually to make the world a more peaceful place.

I believe there are small steps that each of us can take to move toward greater moments of peace. 

As John Dear writes,

“Peace begins with each of us. It is a process of repeatedly showing mercy to ourselves, forgiving ourselves, befriending ourselves, accepting ourselves. As we learn to appreciate ourselves and accept God’s gift of peace, we begin to radiate peace and love to others.”

So may the following be ideas or opportunities for you to work toward peace in the next day, week or year.

"Mend a quarrel
Search out a forgotten friend
Dismiss suspicion and replace it with trust
Write a love letter
Share some treasures
Give a soft answer
Encourage youth 

Manifest your loyalty in a word or deed
Keep a promise
Find the time
Forego a grudge
Forgive an enemy

Apologize if you were wrong

Try to understand
Flout envy
Examine your demands on others
Think first of someone else
Appreciate, be kind, be gentle

Laugh a little more.
Deserve confidence

Take up arms against malice
Decry complacency
Express your gratitude
Worship your God

Gladden the heart of a child
Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth

Speak your love
Speak it again
Speak it still again
Speak it still once again...."  
(Author unknown)

In the words of St. Francis, let us pray,

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace;
Where there is hated, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is discord, harmony;
Where there is error, truth;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born into eternal life.

And now may the peace, which surpasses all understanding keep our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, and let all God’s people say, amen. 


September 18, 2022

15th Sunday after Pentecost
Amos 8:4-7
Psalm 113
1 Timothy 2:1-7
Luke 16: 1-13

Please pray with me,

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all of our hearts be acceptable and suitable in your sight, O God, our rock, our strength and our redeemer. Amen.

How good is it to be here.


This is new for us, right?

Being all together at one service?

It’s a good thing.

It’s a God thing. 

I’m grateful for a day of homecoming, a day of celebration and a day of living into the new thing God is doing in us, among us, through us and around us.

Upon reading and rereading our gospel lesson this morning, in preparation for today, I thought, ugh. 

As we talked about it at our clergy bible study this past week, most of us would have rather skipped this one today. 

It’s because it’s a tough one.

Shrewd managing.

Quick thinking.

Debt and forgiveness.

How and where do we hear God in this passage?

How and where do we fit into this passage?

And in preparation for today, I thought about this text and prayed about it.

I read it and reread it until I had completely overworked it in my head and heart and still didn’t have a sermon for today. 

And after I walked away from it for a while, I realized I was trying too hard. 

Trying too hard to unpack the confusing parts of this parable. 

Trying too hard to find the gem of good news that would be simply perfect for today. 

And so taking a step away allowed me a new perspective.

And this is what it comes down to for me…today.    

This passage baffles us and is hard to hear.

It’s baffling and it’s hard to wrap our minds around this passage because it throws us for a loop. 

Whenever God steps in through the presence of Jesus things will change. 

Whenever God steps in through the presence of Jesus, we will need to expect the unexpected…

From the very beginning of the gospel of Luke we are given a heads up.  

In Mary’s proclamation of the Magnificat..

Filling the hungry and sending the rich away empty

Lifting up the poor

Scattering the proud

Bringing down rulers and lifting the humble…

It will be God’s great reversal.  

So, we know it’s coming but every time it happens we’re like wait…what? 

Many years back when Seth Meyers and Amy Pohler hosted Weekend Update on Saturday Night Live there was a segment they did called, “Really?!?! With Seth and Amy.”

Seth and Amy would read a headline and respond with, Really?!?! 

And as they dug deeper and deeper into that story, and they just couldn’t comprehend it, they would just say, Really?!?! Really?!?!

That I think is how we respond to many of Jesus parables, especially in the gospel of Luke.  Last week we heard about the shepherd that left 99 sheep to find the one.  Really?!?! 

You leave 99 sheep unprotected just to find one? 

And the woman who nearly turned her house upside down for one coin. Really?!?! 

And the story that comes between the parable of the lost coin and today’s reading is the story of the prodigal son.  Really?!? 

Jesus, the younger son took his half of the inheritance and squandered it and will still welcomed back home? Really?!?

And given the fatted calf? And a ring?  And a party?!?  Really?!?  

I feel like we or maybe just me, connect too well with the other brother who can’t wrap his mind around how Grace filled the father is…and really, how loving and forgiving God is…not just in these stories but in our lives as well.  

We have seen others forgiven their debts or mistakes or failures.  And we’re like, really?!? 

We see others welcomed with open arms to this table and we think really?!?!

How can this be??

And yet…

You and me, us together…we have all been forgiven of our faults, failures, and our sin and are welcome here. 

No questions asked.  

So I wonder, what makes us so jealous when others are welcomed as well? 

When others are forgiven as well?

When others are loved as well?  

Surely it doesn’t mean that we receive less love, grace or forgiveness…all of those gifts from God are limitless…they will never run out.

I bet all of us, myself included, have space to learn and continue to be shaped into a community of faith that is ever expanding God’s table. 

Because Jesus will keep inviting more and more people to it…just as they are, knowing that we, too, come just as we are.  

So here is the challenge of the gospel and the call set before us…

That we, you and I together, are called to continue to discover what it means to be the church…coming out of several challenging and tumultuous years, and continuing on in a post-pandemic world. 

God will continue to do new things. 

In us. 

Through us. 

Among us.  

And beyond us.  

God is doing something new at Trinity.  Something that may feel different.  Something that may take time to adjust to…but something that is being led by Jesus who constantly loves us, surprises us and calls us into this community of faith. 

And here’s the thing. God has always been doing something new and will continue to do new things….through us or in spite of us. 

One of the deep gifts of the history of this place is the willingness of the people to try new things knowing that there has never been one correct way or one correct place to do ministry.  We have flipped this sanctuary, we have re-introduced a community parade, we have left the building to serve in our community, we worship with others online, we study together, we pray for one another and we eat together. 

Sometime within the last few years, I used the phrase ‘precipice of possibility’, because that’s where I felt we were. On the edge of something new…but something new that would and could require us to leap.  Perhaps that phrase was a bit daunting when I first mentioned it. 

But now, dear ones, we are here. 

We are excited to move forward. 

We are excited to reconnect to God, both in this place and beyond the walls of this place where God is already at work in the world. 

We are excited to reconnect to one another: in prayer, in worship, in service and in fellowship. 

We are excited for the possibilities and new ways they will take shape through the work of our hands guided by the Holy Spirit. 

I pray that together we continue to grow into the congregation and community of faith that God has created us to be and who God continues to call us to be.  


And now May the peace, which surpasses all understanding keep our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus and let all God’s people say amen. 

Sunday, June 12, 2022

Discovering areas for growth...

Hey oh, I finished another fun wool& challenge.  This time it was 30 days. Here are a few of my favorite photos.  

Upon completing this challenge and looking through the photos, I was able to see what I was feeling about myself.  I wasn't loving myself in my own skin.  Over the past two years I have definitely gained weight and I haven't focused on active weight management.  
And so, I decided it's time.  
I reached out to a friend (we worked together at camp in the 90's) who is a registered dietitian and set up my first appointment.  I did so, because I know this is an area in my life that I need guidance, support and accountability for making changes in my nutrition and diet. 

After my first appointment I was tasked with the following:
Creating a weekly menu (following menu ideas in regards to portion size and veggie intake) and making notes on the menu about what I actually ate.  
Continue daily hydration goal of 90+oz a day
Look into adding strength training to my cardio workouts.

One week in and here is what I have discovered.
1) I have eaten more veggies in the past week than I have in the last several weeks.  (go figure)
2) Eating lunch everyday is a good thing.  
3) Eating ample meals has helped me feel well fed all day long.  
4) Keeping track of my daily food intake helps keep me on track.
5) I have not (yet) tackled strength training...
6) I have not been perfect, but what is perfect anyway?  Especially when it comes to adjusting what I hope becomes a long term transition in how we eat.  

I'll keep you posted as to how this continues to pan out.  Again, my long term goal is to feel good in my body...and feel good about training for my next 50 mile race.  (Week one of training began this week, btw, so good timing all around.  

Thanks for reading. 
Until the next post...

Sunday, April 24, 2022

100 Day Dress Challenge - Recap

Well friends, I've officially completed the 100 day dress challenge.  I finished on Easter Sunday.  I had high hopes of posting this earlier in the week, but ended up taking time to zone out, sleep, and just be for a few days.  I definitely needed that after an amazing Holy Week and Easter weekend.  It was all good, it just took a lot out of me and I needed to re-group....with some solid alone time.  

After sharing my photos with wool& for proof that I completed the challenge, I received my $100 gift card within 24 hours.  (Very impressive response time. Good stuff!) 

With that gift was a link to an online survey which included the following question, which took me forever to answer, by the way. 

What was your biggest takeaway from this challenge?  

It took me forever to answer this question because it was hard to narrow down just one take away. But after thinking about it for a while, I came up with the following response:

My biggest takeaway was in discovering (or rediscovering) who I have been for the last 100 days.  After looking through the 100 photos I remembered days that I felt brave, strong, full of joy and confident. I also remembered days that I felt sad, worn down, stressed out and emotionally drained.  

For me, the pictures helped me to see (again) who I really am.  I am all of those things, and then some. To be reminded of my own depth and complexity is not something that I realized would be revealed through the simple act of wearing the same dress every day. 

This challenge provided insight into myself.  

I think that says it all. 

Also, I should add that day 101 - stayed in my pajamas the whole day. That's Easter Monday for a clergy person. 

Day 102 - after my run, I was back into comfy leggings.

Day 103 - back in the office and back in the dress.  

It will definitely be a go to outfit for me moving forward.  So easy to accessorize, works perfect with clerics and you can wear it so many times without needing to wash it.  

Speaking of washing, during the challenge, I did some spot washing, by just rinsing with water and hanging it dry.  I did wash it in the kitchen sink either 7 or 8 times with Woolite. After the challenge, I tossed it in the washing machine with other stuff on a cold cycle...and it's come out just fine.  That means, moving forward, it can be part of the regular laundry when needed.  Good stuff. 

All in all, this was a cool experience.  Thanks for following me on this journey. Here are the last five days of photos.

The dress as a shirt with a favorite skirt.

Some shenanigans while celebrating with the First Holy Communion Class. 

Egg Hunters means the whip cream challenge in the dress.

Holy Saturday...and one day more.

Easter Sunday...Christ is risen and the challenge is complete!

Until the next post...

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

95 days down...5 to go!

Another photo drop of the last few weeks.  
To recap here are the latest things I have done in the dress:
Slept (overnight)
Made communion bread
Ate some salads
Ate some cookies :)
Visited mom & dad
Borrowed a fun apron
Got matching(ish) temporary tattoos with my mom and sister
Took a collective deep breath with the congregation and felt sighs too deep for words.
Hung out with the Easter bunny.
Spent time with in-laws.
Experienced a glorious afternoon with a friend and she did NOT take my photo while I was using her VR. 
Matched my Wonder Woman quilt. ;)
Received several comfort food meals.
Was reminded time and time again that I am in the right place right now.  
Even with surprises and challenges, 
there is joy in serving.
there is comfort in the presence and care of others.
there is the amazing presence of God showing up time and time again. 
Welcome to Holy Week.
Let's gooooooo!

Enjoy the pictures:


Sunday, March 27, 2022

Another dress photo drop

I have now worn this dress for 79 days!  

Here are the last many, many days....I'm really good at taking the pictures (minus one or two days when I had to put it on after I had jammies on....) but not so great at posting them here.  

This last picture might be my favorite outfit so far.  
It's definitely in the top 10, for sure.  
I'm lovin' the doc martens and the dress as a shirt.  
Just feeing good today.  

Until the next post...


Monday, March 21, 2022

a sermon with more questions than answers

March 20, 2022
Third Sunday in Lent
Isaiah 55:1-9
Psalm 63:1-8
1 Corinthians 10:1-13
Luke 13:1-9

Please pray with me,

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all of our hearts be acceptable and suitable in your sight, O God, our rock, our strength and our redeemer. Amen.

When I was in seminary in Philadelphia, Dr. Timothy Wengert taught the Lutheran Confessions class. As the incoming class, we had a heads up that he would know everyone’s name on the first day. That was true. He had printed out all of our photos and memorized our faces and names. As if that didn’t leave an impression, he was known much more for how he answered questions in class.

A hand would shoot up, a student would ask a question and 99% of the time, Dr. Wengert would respond with, “Why do you ask that question?”

Clever, right? 

I’m not sure how what works with a 2- or 3-year-old going through the phase of ‘why’ questions, but for seminarians, it was effective. 

It helped us to pause in our current thought and often times shift the direction of our thinking to dig deeper into the topic, into our thoughts, into our hearts and really decipher what it was we were longing to know. 

Dr. Wengert, drew us out of the superficial questions – or questions that maybe wouldn’t get us as far or as deep as he wanted us to go, and challenged us to go in different directions, to questions that would result in more meaningful answers. 

While we were searching for answers, Dr. Wengert helped us ask more meaningful questions.

Now, I would never equate any seminary professor to Jesus, but, I see the same process happening in our gospel lesson today.

Some folks come to Jesus with news of horror and tragedy. 

Pontius Pilate has slaughtered a group of Galilean Jews, and mingled their blood with the blood of sacrificial lambs. Meanwhile, the tower of Siloam has collapsed, crushing and killing eighteen people.

These folks bring these brutal stories to Jesus with a question, or should I say the question we know so well… “Why?”

Why did these terrible things happen? 

Why is there so much pain in the world?

Why does a good God allow human suffering? 

Jesus does not respond with, “Why do you ask that question?” but instead responds with a parable to help them ask more meaningful questions. 

The parable of the fig tree. One that invites his listeners to into so many more questions. Questions that push beyond the simplicity of asking why…and into the realm of not just why…but how am I part of this? What role do I play? Where is God at work in this? How does the situation call me to be an active part of what is happening here and now?

If you’ve noticed anything about those questions, they are not only redirected at the one who has asked the initial questions, but also they are questions that call for a deeper response, and a much more personal response. 

I believe this is why Jesus tells this parable.  It’s like in that episode of the TV show Friends, when they are trying to move the sofa and all Ross can shout is, PIVOT! 

But instead of shouting PIVOT! Jesus redirects his listeners with a parable, to see the world and the actions that are causing them worry in a new way and to truly ask them, how they are called to be part of the world – the good and the bad – in a way that makes a difference. 

So the parable is a huge shift…in thinking, in question asking and in responding. 

Too many questions to tackle together but here are a few of them for you to think about…

Here are some questions asked by Debi Thomas  as she reflected on this week's gospel. 

In what ways am I like the absentee landowner, standing apart from where life and death actually happen?  How am I refusing to get my hands dirty? 

Where in my life — or in the lives of others — have I prematurely called it quits, saying, “There’s no life here worth cultivating.  Cut it down.”

In what ways am I like the fig tree?  Un-enlivened? Un-nourished?  Unable or unwilling to nourish others? In what ways do I feel helpless or hopeless? Have I forgotten that the same patient God who gives me another year to thrive will also someday call me to account?   

In what ways am I like the gardener?  Where in my life am I willing to accept Jesus’s invitation to go elbow-deep into the muck and manure? Am I brave enough to sacrifice time, effort, love, and hope into this tree — this relationship, this cause, this tragedy, this injustice —  with no guarantee of a fruitful outcome? 


The series of why questions that we have heard over the past few years have been nearly endless...

Why can’t we worship inside?

Why do we have to wear masks outside?

Why has it taken so song to come up with a Covid policy?

Why didn’t we have a task force from the beginning?

Why do we still have guidelines when other churches are back to ‘normal’?

Why don’t we just let people make decisions for themselves?

Why aren’t people coming back now that masks aren’t required?

Why are we still seeing stories of school violence – in our local communities?

Why did Russia invade Ukraine?

Why does my loved one have cancer?

Why did the death of my cat completely knock me down for several days?

Why can’t things just be normal?

I think we ask these questions because we want an explanation…one that just gives us simple and clear answers. 

But this world we live in…is anything but simple and clear. 

And this God who loves us and calls us to be part of this world – calls us into a life that is not simple or clear and is often downright messy, confusing, tricky, troublesome and real – a fine mix of beautiful and brutal…it’s a brutiful life….sprinkled with joy and sorrow…it’s anything but simple and clear. 

But, big BUT, this is truly the depth in which Jesus wants us to live out our lives. 

To dig deeper.

To live more fully.

To love more wholeheartedly.

Oof…no wonder why we ask the simpler questions….it can be hard and scary to dig deeper. But dear ones, it can open us up to so much more when we are willing to dig deeper. 

So, in response to a world that seems to draw us into a series of why questions, I invite you to dig deeper. To ask more meaningful questions and discover how you are called to answer them…

So instead of the whys…maybe ask the hows…

How is God calling you to be an active part of healing and recovery in a world that has been deeply impacted by a pandemic?

How are we living out our call to work for peace in the world when Russia is at war with Ukraine?

How are we lifting up all members of the body of Christ when transgendered young people are being kept from living fully into playing sports and receiving the health care they need?

How are we actively inviting and reconnecting with people in and beyond this place as we come together in new ways transformed by a pandemic? 

So many questions…

So many answers…

But together…we have a place to ask these questions, wrestle with answers, ask deeper questions, and continue to discover who God has created us and continues to call us to be each and every day. 

And now may the peace, which surpasses all understanding, keep our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, and let all God’s people say, amen.