Thursday, July 26, 2012

Newsbrief: Back Home

I’m back in the office after my vacation travels took Susan, Henry, and I all over the country. 

We had a wonderful time visiting the National Parks in Utah. We tent camped just outside of Zion National Park. It was Henry’s first real foray into tent camping and thanks to some nice (though hot) weather everything went swimmingly. We hiked, we toured, we played in the Virgin River, and we took a lot of pictures!

After five days in Zion we traversed over to Bryce National Park where we stayed in a beautiful cabin (Susan and I enjoyed sleeping in a real bed, but Henry insisted on using his sleeping bag!). We were there for three days and while two of them were cloud-covered days the third was absolutely spectacular. More hiking, more touring, and lots more photos.

After returning for Bob Huber’s Memorial Service (and please accept this big word of thanks for everyone who helped to make that service such a fitting and wonderful tribute for Bob) I flew out Friday afternoon to catch up with Susan and Henry and four generations of our family at a reunion in Cincinnati. We celebrated Susan’s grandmother’s 95th birthday, watched Henry run around with his cousins, ate some Skyline Chili, and yes took lots more pictures -- including this one of Henry at first Cardinals game at Busch Stadium on the St. Louis leg of our trip! 

My thanks to Al Beasely and the Rev Judy Green-Davis for filling the pulpit these past two Sundays. I’ll be back in the pulpit this Sunday with a special story about a rock, a trip, and the nature of God’s love. I hope to see you at worship this Sunday!
Yours in the Journey,
Rev. Brian

Monday, July 9, 2012

Whiteboard: Gone Fishing

Okay, fine, I haven't actually gone fishing!

But I am out of the office for two weeks of family vacation, which means the Whiteboard (and the Blog in general) won't be updated for a little while.

Susan, Henry and I are off on all sorts of adventures. We'll begin our trip with four days of camping just outside of Zion National Park followed by four days in a cabin outside of Bryce National Park. A quick stopover back in Phoenix to do some laundry and repack and then we finish off the vacation time with a trip back to the Midwest (St. Louis and Cincinnati) for some time with the extended family.

I'll be back in the office starting Tuesday July 24.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Newsbrief: Vacation

Next week I head out for two weeks of vacation.

Susan, Henry, and I will spend the first week in the National Parks of Utah. We’ll be tent camping just outside of Zion National Park for a few days and then we’ll head over to a cabin outside of Bryce National Park.

We are excited about this first leg of the trip. I briefly saw Bryce and Zion on a family vacation growing up. I was probably 12 or 13 and have only foggiest memories of the natural beauty of each place. Susan and Henry have never seen either one, so we are really in for a treat!

We’ll spend the second week back in the Midwest for an Annual Family Reunion with my wife’s side of the family. The original plan was to spend a long weekend at Kentucky Dam Village with about two dozen members of the extended family, but unfortunately Susan’s grandmother had a fall last week that resulted in a hairline fracture in her leg. Since Grandma Gray isn’t able to travel to the Family Reunion this year we’ve made the executive decision to bring the reunion to her!

So Susan, Henry and I will fly in to St. Louis then roadtrip with her parents, brother, and sister and our niece and nephew to Cincinnati, Ohio. We’ll still get to see the whole family and visit Grandma Gray, plus this way we’ll also get to enjoy some Graeter’s Ice Cream and Skyline Chili (yes, they make a veggie chili!).

For the two Sundays that I am out of the pulpit you are in for a real treat: Our very own Al Beasley will be preaching on June 15 and my dear friend and colleague the Rev. Judy Green-Davis (from First Congregational UCC in Phoenix) will preach on June 22.

I’ll be here with you in worship this Sunday, July 8 and then I’ll be out of the office until Tuesday July 24.

Yours in the Journey,
Rev. Brian

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Whiteboard: Out

I am fond of saying, "The promise of the Christian faith is never that it is going to be easy, but rather that it is going to be meaningful."

This Sunday's Gospel text proves it.

Jesus returns to his hometown of Nazareth and instead of being greeted like a hero, he finds himself surrounded by skepticism. What's worse? He is unable to perform a miracle there (aside from the "few sick people" that he cured by laying his hands on them, of course!).

Confronted with this new reality Christ does not give up. Instead he redoubles his efforts. He sends his disciples out into the world two-by-two in order to continue ministry in his name.

As they go into the world Jesus tells them, "Look it won't always be easy." He even goes so far as to give them instructions on what to do when they run into people who want to have nothing to do with them -- "If any place will not welcome you and they refuse to hear you, as you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them."

Will it always be easy? No. Will it be worth it? Absolutely.


Mark 6:1-13 

He left that place and came to his home town, and his disciples followed him. On the sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astounded. They said, ‘Where did this man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been given to him? What deeds of power are being done by his hands! Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?’ And they took offence at him.Then Jesus said to them, ‘Prophets are not without honour, except in their home town, and among their own kin, and in their own house.’ And he could do no deed of power there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them. And he was amazed at their unbelief.

Then he went about among the villages teaching. He called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. He ordered them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; but to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics. He said to them, ‘Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place. If any place will not welcome you and they refuse to hear you, as you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.’ So they went out and proclaimed that all should repent. They cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.