Friday, May 31, 2019

Daily Prayers for May 31

The Spirit of the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor and release to the captives.

Almighty God, you sent Jesus to proclaim your kingdom and to teach with authority. Anoint us with your Spirit, that we too may bring good news to the poor, bind up the brokenhearted, and proclaim liberty to the captive. As you have made this day, O God, you also make the night. Give light for our comfort. Come upon us with quietness and still our souls, that we may listen for the whisper of your Spirit and be attentive to your nearness in our dreams. Empower us to rise again in new life to proclaim your praise, and show Christ to the world, for he reigns forever and ever. Holy God, from whom every family on earth takes its name: Strengthen parents to be responsible and loving that their children may know security and joy. Lead children to honor parents by compassion and forgiveness. May all people discover your parental care by the respect and love given them by others. (Add your prayers.) Amen.

The grace of Christ attend you, the love of God surround you, the Holy Spirit keep you, that you may live in faith, abound in hope, and grow in love, both now and forevermore.

(Opening sentences, prayers, and blessings are from the Book of Common Worship. Readings are from the daily lectionary in Daily Prayer. Both are published by Westminster/John Knox Press.)

Monday, May 27, 2019

Partners for Just Trade---Peru trip

On May 25th Partner for Just Trade  will be traveling to Peru to visit with our artisan partners and learn more about how we can continue to support them in their businesses and their fights against injustices and climate change in their communities. 

Our Executive Director, Alyson Miller, and two Board Members, Clarice Hutchens (St. Mark Presbyterian member) and Meg Krejci will be traveling alongside our partners in the Joining Hands Network. We will be posting updates about our artisan partners and valuable information and insights we learn during our trip. Thank you for your support of PJT’s work and for being a part of global change through Fair Trade and building bridges with partners across the world!

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Sunday, May 26, 2019

Worship Prayers for May 19

Father, I have knowledge, so will you show me now, how to use it wisely and find a way somehow to make the world I live in a little better place, and make life, with its problems, a little bit easier to face. Grant me faith and courage and put purpose in my days, and show me how to serve you in effective ways, so my education, my knowledge, and my skill may find their true fulfillment as I learn to do your will. May I ever be aware in everything I do, that knowledge comes from learning, and wisdom comes from you. Amen.”

Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise him in the heights!
Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his host!
Praise him, sun and moon; praise him, all you shining stars!
Praise him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens!
Let them praise the name of the Lord, for he commanded and they were created.
Let us lift up our voices and lives to worship our God!

God of mercy, your command to love one another across all differences opens us to new horizons, yet we often respond with fear and judgment that hinders your goal for humanity. Forgive our sins, we pray, and give us a true repentance that leads to life for all creation. We continue to pray in Jesus’ name. (Silent Confession)

AFFIRMATION OF FAITH – The Apostles’ Creed
I believe in God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ his only son, our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. I believe in the Holy Ghost, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

SERMON “Lead, Follow, or Get out of the Way” Rev. Dr. Dave Burgess

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Scripture for May 26

Acts 1:1-11 New International Version (NIV)

Jesus Taken Up Into Heaven
Jesus' ascension to heaven depicted
John Singleton Copley, 1775

In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with[a] water, but in a few days you will be baptized with[b] the Holy Spirit.”
Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”


  1. Acts 1:5 Or in
  2. Acts 1:5 Or in
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Daily Prayer May 24

I appeal to you, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a
living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

Almighty God, your Son Jesus Christ ascended to the throne of heaven that he might rule over all things as Lord. Keep the church in the unity of the Spirit and in the bond of peace; bring all creation to worship at his feet, who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Clothe us with the power promised from on high, and send us forth to the ends of the earth as heralds of repentance and witnesses of Jesus Christ, firstborn from the dead. Merciful God, strengthen us in prayer that we may lift up the brokenness of this world for your healing, and share in the saving love of Jesus Christ. We pray for those in positions of authority over others, the lonely and forgotten, children without families or homes, agents of caring and relief. (Add your prayers.) Amen.

May God in endless mercy bring the whole church, the living and departed, to a joyful resurrection in the fulfillment of the eternal kingdom.

(Opening sentences, prayers, and blessings are from the Book of Common Worship. Readings are from the daily lectionary in Daily Prayer. Both are published by Westminster/John Knox Press.)

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

All are Welcome

Gospel Reading Luke 8:1-15
1Soon afterwards he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. The twelve were with him, 2as well as some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, 3and Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their resources.
This Lectionary reading for today is interesting because the women are mentioned, three by name:  Mary (called Magdalene), Joanna, Susanna "and many others."  This is the second time in a month of readings that Luke mentions the women with Jesus.  We also heard about them on Easter morning---many of them were the same women.  Click here for that passage.

At first glance, I wryly thought---"well, things haven't changed much." The women in the Easter passage were taking spices to the tomb to prepare the body of Christ. They were making sure everything was tidy, clean and smelled good to honor Jesus in death.  And, in today's passage they are "providing" --- we assume they are cooking and feeding the disciples---possibly washing and mending. But, wait. . . .

First, I noticed the disciples are "the twelve" and not named in this passage, but several women are.  This indicates the focus in this passage is intended to be on the women who are "providing out of their resources"  We don't know if they are providing the funding for the ministry or the food---perhaps both.  After all, Joanna is the wife of Herod's steward which could be a hint as to the kind of resources they are providing. She would have been a very wealthy woman and perhaps the other women were too.   Is this Luke's way of thanking them or is he acknowledging the importance of their role in the ministry of Christ?

As scholars have mentioned, it would be very unusual for women in this era to be traveling with an itinerant band unless they were wealthy and powerful.  They were certainly not "camp followers"---Jesus has made his position on adultery very clear and they would not have been named.

No, these were women who were respected by Jesus and Luke.  The other interesting part of this passage is they are "women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities."  These were women who had been flawed by mental or physical illness and had found peace and healing in Jesus' presence and teachings.  Regardless of their past, they were welcome.

This speaks volumes on who is welcome to join Jesus on his journey:  everyone is welcome---the flawed, the cured, men, women, the poor and the wealthy---if they are willing to serve. 

Dear God, Open our eyes to the ways we ALL can serve you. We may be flawed, but we are still  welcome within the church if we are willing to serve.  We may have sinned, but we are still welcome within the church if we are willing to serve. Help us to follow the paths that Mary, Joanna, and Susanna have shown us.  

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash
Jaclyn Morgan

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Worship Prayers for May 12

Holy God, you have called a people to be your family out of every tribe, language, and nation, to love and serve you daily in a world of beauty, complexity, and diversity. Help us to honor and respect the dignity of difference as we seek to be one with you and each other this day and always. Amen.

And Jesus said, "Come!" To all mothers and all children: he said, "Come!" to the motherless and the childless: he said, "Come!" to all who long to be mothered: he said, "Come! Come unto me all ye who labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart and you will find rest for your souls."

Holy God, we confess we stray from your paths of right relationship and peace, and we dishonor you, your creation, and ourselves; we repent of these hurtful ways. Forgive us, we pray, as we learn to forgive others, and guide our feet into the way of peace. (Silent Confession)

† AFFIRMATION OF FAITH – (From a Brief Statement of Faith)
In life and in death we belong to God. Through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, we trust in the one triune God, the Holy One of Israel, whom alone we worship and serve. With believers in every time and place, we rejoice that nothing in life or in death can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord…. Like a mother who will not forsake her nursing child, like a father who runs to welcome the prodigal home, God is faithful still…. Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. Amen

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Scripture for May 19

Acts 11:1-18 New International Version (NIV)

Peter Explains His Actions

Gian Lorenzo Bernini - Dove of the Holy Spirit
ca. 1660, stained glass, Throne of St. Peter,
St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican
11 The apostles and the believers throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him and said, “You went into the house of uncircumcised men and ate with them.”
Starting from the beginning, Peter told them the whole story: “I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision. I saw something like a large sheet being let down from heaven by its four corners, and it came down to where I was.I looked into it and saw four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, reptiles and birds. Then I heard a voice telling me, ‘Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.’
“I replied, ‘Surely not, Lord! Nothing impure or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’
“The voice spoke from heaven a second time, ‘Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.’ 10 This happened three times, and then it was all pulled up to heaven again.
11 “Right then three men who had been sent to me from Caesarea stopped at the house where I was staying. 12 The Spirit told me to have no hesitation about going with them. These six brothers also went with me, and we entered the man’s house.13 He told us how he had seen an angel appear in his house and say, ‘Send to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter. 14 He will bring you a message through which you and all your household will be saved.’
15 “As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit came on them as he had come on us at the beginning. 16 Then I remembered what the Lord had said: ‘John baptized with[a]water, but you will be baptized with[b] the Holy Spirit.’ 17 So if God gave them the same gift he gave us who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could stand in God’s way?”
18 When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, “So then, even to Gentiles God has granted repentance that leads to life.”


  1. Acts 11:16 Or in
  2. Acts 11:16 Or in
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Daily Prayer May 17

God is love, and those who abide in love, abide in God, and God
abides in them.
Eternal God, we praise you for your mighty love given in Christ's sacrifice on the cross, and the new life we have received by his resurrection. We thank you for the presence of Christ in our weakness and suffering, the ministry of Word and Sacrament, all who work to help and heal, sacrifices made for our benefit, opportunities for our generous giving. God of grace let our concern for others reflect Christ's self-giving love, not only in our prayers, but also in our practice. We pray for those subjected to tyranny and oppression, wounded and injured people, those who face death, those who may be our enemies. Eternal God, your love is stronger than death, and your passion more fierce than the grave. We rejoice in the lives of those whom you have drawn into your eternal embrace. Keep us in joyful communion with them until we join the saints of every people and nation, gathered before your throne in ceaseless praise. (Add your prayers.) Amen.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

(Opening sentences, prayers, and blessings are from the Book of Common Worship. Readings are from the daily lectionary in Daily Prayer. Both are published by Westminster/John Knox Press.)

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Embracing Life's Bittersweet Milestones

In the midst of busy weeks when I’m scrambling to help two kids with two different sets of math homework—neither of which I understand—while also cooking dinner, trying to remember whether I paid the mortgage, fretting over why I still haven’t taught my kids to ride bikes, wondering if the 9-year-old’s favorite jammies are clean for pajama day, regretting that I haven’t signed my 12-year-old up for more sports and feeling guilty for not spending more time helping my soon-to-be senior with her college planning, I stop and remind myself that one awesome parent is better than two mediocre ones. But the fact is, one awesome parent can’t be better than two awesome parents. And for a time, that’s what my kids had.
One parent made dinner while the other helped with homework. One parent coached soccer while the other sat in dance class. One parent helped with class parties while the other chaperoned field trips and volunteered at field days. We both gave 100 percent—okay, like, 85 percent—and it worked. Our kids were happy, healthy, well-rounded and productive. They had a loving, supportive home, and a bright future ahead of them.
And then, in late June 2011, the first heart attack hit. I remember sitting in the hall outside my husband’s hospital room just after he received a stent to clear a blockage in his artery. I was scared and young—much too young to have any frame of reference for what was happening. I tried to ask all the smart medical questions that I thought one should ask in a situation like that, but all I really wanted to know was, “How long did he have? A year? Two years? Ten years? Forty years?”
The cardiologist chuckled and told me he couldn’t know for sure, but life insurance would be through the roof. All we could do was play the hand we’re dealt, he said gravely. And that was that. It wasn’t encouraging.
Our kids were young—so, so young. My oldest was going into fourth grade, my youngest still in diapers. I pictured them having to grow up without their father. What would that do to them? If they lost him, would they become like so many children whose bright futures are derailed as a result of experiencing a trauma or significant loss at a young age?
If he could just be there long enough to see each of them graduate from high school, I thought, they’d have a good, strong start on life. For the next five years, I breathed a sigh of relief as we got closer to that goal. Each year they grew older, I was grateful they had the benefit of their father’s guidance and support. While other parents were lamenting the passage of time, I found comfort and hope in it. While others were bittersweet at milestones, like graduating kindergarten, becoming a teenager or completing middle school, I embraced them. I prayed every night, for five years, that he’d be around long enough to guide all of them through high school.
He wasn’t. In fact, he died just weeks before our oldest was to begin high school.
Now I prepare for new milestones: My oldest daughter is about to begin her senior year in high school, narrowing down college choices and preparing to travel overseas. My son is putting his elementary school days behind him and setting his sights on middle school. My youngest daughter is spending more time with friends, going to sleepovers and doing her homework independently. Now, as we reach these new milestones, I find myself more grateful than sad. Grateful that they are hard-working students. Grateful that they are kind friends. Grateful that they have had good health, as I know many parents wonder whether their children will simply have time to reach the milestones that many of us take for granted. Grateful that their futures are still bright, and that they have each found the strength and courage to overcome the odds. Most of all, I’m grateful that I’ve been there for all of it.

Kathy Deters

Monday, May 13, 2019

Red Cross Blood Drive March results

Thanks to those who supported the Red Cross Blood Drive held at St Mark on March 24th, our most successful blood drive in over two years! We had 29 donors, including three first time donors, for a combined total of 31 units of blood donated!

Two donors used the Power Red donation, which uses a machine to remove the platelets from the donated blood and return the plasma to the donor. A Power Red donation results in three units of red blood cells per donation, and the donor is not dehydrated after donating. As each blood donation can help up to three recipients, the donations that day can help over 90 people in need.

 Lafayette Church of Christ is going to add our next blood drive to their worship notices and bulletins, and with the support of their pastor, will try to get 10 additional donors to our next blood drive, scheduled for May 19. With the recent success and now commitment to help from Lafayette, we’ve raised our goal for the next blood drive to 30 units and 42 appointments. It only takes a moment to make an appointment to donate on, and the time you spend donating may save a life.

We look forward to seeing you there! Thanks to Linda Smith, Valerie Steiner and Lauren Arnet for stepping up to help coordinate and run the blood drive.

Keith Monteith

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Worship Prayers for May 5


Lord Jesus Christ, as you met your disciples just after daybreak on the beach, meet us at the dawning of this new day. As you filled their nets with fish, fill our lives with love and grace, more than we can ask or imagine. In your holy name we pray. Amen.


O Lord our God, we praise you.
We cried to you for help, and you answered us.
You have restored our lives;
You have rescued us from the grave.
Come! Let us worship the Lord!


Lord God, in the light of your glory we see the evil we do, the suffering we cause, the good we refuse, and the truth we deny. Heal us of our sin, wash us in your mercy, and feed us with your grace, so we may follow your way and tell the good news of the gospel. (Silent Confession)

For the sermon "Windshields are Bigger than Rear View Mirrors", click here.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Scripture for May 12

Acts 9:36-43 New International Version (NIV)

Section of Healing of the Cripple and
Raising of Tabitha
 by Masolino da Panicale, 1425.
36 In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (in Greek her name is Dorcas); she was always doing good and helping the poor. 37 About that time she became sick and died, and her body was washed and placed in an upstairs room. 38 Lydda was near Joppa; so when the disciples heard that Peter was in Lydda, they sent two men to him and urged him, “Please come at once!”
39 Peter went with them, and when he arrived he was taken upstairs to the room. All the widows stood around him, crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was still with them.
40 Peter sent them all out of the room; then he got down on his knees and prayed. Turning toward the dead woman, he said, “Tabitha, get up.” She opened her eyes, and seeing Peter she sat up. 41 He took her by the hand and helped her to her feet. Then he called for the believers, especially the widows, and presented her to them alive. 42 This became known all over Joppa, and many people believed in the Lord. 43 Peter stayed in Joppa for some time with a tanner named Simon.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.