#WeekendPlans: “Walking with Jesus” @ChaplainSherrie 4/23/23

If you were walking on the road with Jesus, what might he say to you? What might you say back to Jesus in return?

Following the Way of Jesus involves a conversation, an involving conversation. It is a conversation for possibility. A conversation for new life.

Rev. Dr. Sherrie Connelly

Join us this Sunday, April 23, 2023, for a zoom sermon with Rev. Dr. Sherrie Connelly, where we will explore walking with Jesus.

Fellowship begins at 10:30 am, Worship, 11:00 am.

Celebrate #EasterSunday @newchurchcincy w/Rev. Brugler

You’re invited to join us for our hybrid Easter Worship Service tomorrow beginning at 11:00 AM. Rev. Ron will be leading the service titled “Behind Locked Doors” Below is the bulletin.

We wish everyone could be here for our Easter Pancake breakfast (serving at 10 AM) but we’re thankful you can still join us for Zoom worship at 11 AM. We won’t be able to admit you from the “waiting room” on Zoom until close to 11.
Worship at the church will begin with a flower processional. We will have some flowers available if you don’t bring your own.
Those of you who are joining us on Zoom, don’t forget that we will celebrate the Sacrament of Communion so plan accordingly.

#SundaySermon: “Traveling Through Samaria w/Jesus”

If you missed the Sunday, April 18, 2021, zoom Worship Service with Guest Minister, Rev. Jane Siebert, you can catch it here. The sermon is under the video.

While in the Holy Land several years ago, we visited Jacob’s Well.  It is one of the Holy sites that they are sure is the exact well, a natural well, now nestled and protected by a Greek Orthodox church.  It is now considered a Christian Holy site.  Like many holy sites in Israel it has been fought over by Jewish, Christian, Samaritan and Muslim factions, all with connections to Jacob. We remember Jacob as the patriarch of the Israelites and he was later given the name Israel, so he is an important figure in all Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Jacob was the father of the 12 sons representing the 12 tribes of Israel.

There was fighting over this land even before the time of Jacob, some 2000 years before Jesus was born. At the time Jesus walked this area, there was still dissention about the land and beliefs of the Jewish people and the Samaritans, which we witness in this account of Jesus and the woman at the well.  In Jesus time Samaritans were considered part Jewish and part Gentiles, mixed and impure.  Today they continue as a small, racially mixed society living in the region of the West Bank and they hold dual Israeli and Palestinian Authority. In Jesus time and today they are generally thought of as immigrants and foreigners and are ostracized.

The Jews considered themselves better than the Samaritans, but as we can tell from Jesus meeting with the woman at the well, he did not consider himself better or higher than anyone.  All are equal and Jesus showed sympathetic love for all people, no matter how they lived or poor decisions they had made in their lives.   

Jesus had been traveling away from Judea because the Pharisees were up in arms against him because his following was growing. He was headed back to Galilee.  And it says, “Now, he had to go through Samaria.”   Judea is in the south and Galilee in the north, with Samaria right between. Most Jews avoided Samaria by crossing the Jordan River and traveling on the Eastern side of the country.  But Biblical scholars say Jesus had to travel this way not because of geography but due to his mission.  The mission to bring the Good News to all people, even those that may think differently than him, as he was brought up in the Jewish tradition.

The three divisions of the holy land, Judea, Samaria and Galilee represent three stages we must go through in our spiritual journey.  The first (Judea) is the will or desire to do what is right.  I want to treat everyone with kindness and acceptance, even if they are different from me. The third (Galilee) is taking our desire and acting on it.  I will be kind to everyone I meet today, and hopefully tomorrow, too.  To connect our desire and our actions we must think about it and that is the middle ground (Samaria).  To get from the desire to be kind and the action of kindness, we have to think about why we want to be kind and how we want to act on our desire to do something kind.  We have to internalize it, or it will continue to just be another good thought or desire with no lasting effect on who we are or want to be or any good action. 

God gives us this desire.  We chose if we will act on it and that is traveling through Samaria. Our minds are the connecting link between our motives and our conduct.  It’s like the glue holding them together as we grow spiritually.  This lesson is about the importance of our thoughts.

Here we are tied back to the Old Testament as Jesus stopped at Jacob’s well, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph.  Jesus was traveling with his disciples and they went into town to buy some food as he rested beside the well.  A Samaritan woman came to draw water and Jesus spoke to her.  “Will you give me a drink?” The Samaritan woman was taken aback and responded, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman.  How can you ask me for a drink?”  The lines of demarcation are drawn. I wonder if it was a difference in the way Jesus was dressed, or talked, or looked – you are different from me.  You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan.  Reminds me of…You are a Mexican and I am an ‘American’. You are a Muslim and I am a Christian. You are gay and I am straight.  This is how the Samaritan woman was thinking but not Jesus.  He only saw a person, a woman, a child of God.

Jesus speaks to her of the gift of living water, that he can give. “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

Of course, she took him literally, but she was curious and wanted some of this water so she would not have to keep coming to the well to draw water. And Jesus was talking about eternal life and the living water of the Word of God which tells us how to live.  The water of truth is living because the Lord is in the truth and the Lord is in us, guiding us how to live.

The next part is very important.  Before he shares more about the living water, he asks her to call her husband.  And she is honest to tell him she does not have a husband.  And Jesus fills in the rest of her story, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”

Jesus does not chastise her or demean her, he simply points out her immoral principles, so she too could reflect on them and chose a different path.  Confession (repentance) prepares us for instruction (reformation) and recognizing the Lord in all things (regeneration).

As we reflect back on our Old Testament lesson, we read “As soon as they entered Samaria, Elisha said, ‘O Lord, open the eyes of these men, that they may see.’ So the Lord opened their eyes and they saw.”

We can see what we would like to change within our spiritual journey, but along with that vision we also are good at rationalizing why we should not change, convincing ourselves “we are good enough” or “better than our neighbors”. Our eyes are open but not our understanding.  We need to travel through Samaria.  We need to question our motives, our justification for not changing, and seek what the Lord would direct us to do.  The Lord opens our thought, our understanding, and then we can see what needs done.   I love this Swedenborgian quote from Divine Love and Wisdom. “Thought from the eye closes the understanding, but thought from the understanding opens the eye.”

It is not the issue of being a Samaritan or Jew but worshipping what she does not know. Jesus goes on “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”  She knew the stories of the Messiah, but when he was right in front of her, she did not recognize him.

And Jesus declared to the Samaritan woman, “I, the one speaking to you-I am he.” She is astonished and she believes him.

Afterwards the woman went back to the town and told everyone about what had happened at the well and the Samaritans came out and asked Jesus to stay for a while, so He stayed with the Samaritans two days and he taught them and many believed, saying “we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”  It seems many were easier to convince than the Jewish Pharisees and Sadducees and religious leaders of the Jewish tradition.  Their minds were still open and not closed like some that thought they had it all figured out.

This special story and others in the Bible about his teaching to the Gentiles shows Jesus was not in the world to condemn or divide or build walls or suggest one nation was better than another.  He came to bring people together.  To help them see the way to a better life. To understand we are all connected as children of God.  To make us think, not just believe something because someone told us so. 

We are each represented by the individual characters in the Bible and their stories.  So, what can we learn as we think of ourselves as the Samaritan woman at the well? With humility we need to see that we each have our own journeys filled with mistakes, poor decisions, transformations, good desires and wrongful motives. We may think we know the truth, but it is when the Lord is in the truth that it becomes living water, leading us to a better life in this world and the next.  This living water carries us beyond the anxieties, the worries and the judgments of others that can flood our lives.

It feels like this story moves from a woman searching from one belief to another, trying to find the right one.  She questions the Lord, as we have to question.  It takes time to come into understanding.  We have to think deeply about it.  And once she accepts that this is the Lord offering the gift of living water, she shares the good news.  And others come out to see who this is at the well, inviting the Lord to stay with them as they want to hear more and learn more. 

This is a good story as we are hopefully moving out of this pandemic.  This has been a very difficult time as we have been isolated, loved ones have died, and division has deepened in our country as we try to control what we cannot control.  In the midst of this I have found people are sharing that some good has come of this pandemic time.  Maybe now we are in Samaria.  We have been slowed down, given time to think about how we want to live our lives, what do we want to change?  So now let us pause in Samaria and think about how we can fulfill our desire with our actions and move onto Galilee changed, more loving and kind, not holding onto the reasons for our division, but like Jesus, accepting others that may think or look different from us, with a plan how we will act and follow our Lord.

Guest Minister, Rev. Ron Brugler, Tomorrow via #ZoomChurch

The topic is: “True Disciples Leave Survivors.”

Join us at 9:30 am for Sunday School, 10:30 am for Fellowship, and 11:00 am for Worship. Sunday, January 31, 2021. Zoom link will be provided to Church members and their contacts.

Duccio di Buoninsegna, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons, “Jesus Calling Peter”

#ThurdayThoughts: Following a Guiding Star

“Following A Guiding Star”  

Sermon notes by Sherrie Connelly, January 6, 2019

Hark! Hark?
The light has come
We are to follow, the star
the bright night’s guidance
and we will come to the child
who will give us new life
forever and ever.

We are to honor justice and
give to all, give our time, our treasures and our talents,
especially to the poor.
And to comfort the poor in heart.
May life be with us
as ling as the sun is bright
and the moon offers us light
as long as the rain falls
and the grass grows green.

The mystery is revealed–
a revelation has come to us.
It has come to us in the Spirit
in the spirit of love
and in reconciliation.

The wisdom of God is ours
as we embrace the light and love
of the Christ child in memory and in celebration.

The three wise men walked the
desert with gifts of gold,
frankincense and myrrh;
gifts of riches, healing herbs and
a balm of comfort so our pains may be lifted.

Then heeding the warning
received in a dream, not to Herod,
they returned to their own
country by another road.

Our minds are to keep to the
messages of wisdom,
to follow their guidance
and not to let our thoughts
or speech stray from the
path of wisdom.

We are promised guidance,
a light to follow.
Let us heed this promise
and follow the Lord’s light.

Eleanor Roosevelt said
“The purpose of life is to live it
to taste experience
to the utmost,
to reach out eagerly
and without fear,
for newer and richer experience.”

So, are we? Do we?
Are your experiences full?
Is your life full of rich
experiences that bring you joy?
Or is your daily life a bit
Not that there is anything wrong
with humdrum…
but joy could be better, yes?

What are our sources of joy?
In what do we find
joy and enlightenment?

To awake each morning
sensing the pulse of life
within us?
To bring our lives to others?
To embrace their loves and joys as our own?

We are joy carriers.
We are joy makers.
We are joy embracers.

If we are not doing that
then we are not living fully,
and we are not partaking
of Christ’s promise
to bring us new life.

Make a promise to yourselves
and to each other
to look for the joy
to look for sources of light
to be light keepers
and light proclaimers.

The light will not go out
the star will be an eternal
guiding light.
Follow it and trust it.
Joy is promised and will be given.
The light of joy is yours
and so it shall always be.
It is promised. It is yours to fulfill
your hearts and guide your likes. Amen.

time lapse photography of mountain

Photo by Samir Belhamra @Grafixart_photo on Pexels.com

#WeekendPlans @GlendaleNewChu “Little One, Get Up!”

This Sunday, January 13, The Glendale New Church will hold their service at 11 am. Pastor Clark Echols officiates.

From Pastor Echols:


We will gather this Sunday and begin the year celebrating the possibilities of spiritual healing. As at a beginning of any process, there are states of cold, darkness and despair. How do we begin to change and to heal? In the story of the healing of Jairus’ daughter (Mark 5) Jesus models for us how to put aside prejudice, pride and anxiety by intentionally practicing hope and serenity. Our connection to the Lord will begin to change our relationship with ourselves, others, and the world bringing (again!) the peace of heaven to our minds from the Lord.
And then we will come to the Lord for his encouragement, symbolically imbibing his love and wisdom that we may use them in this life for goodness and righteousness.
And we will complete the experience by feasting together on tacos. (And please let us know if you prefer a vegan or vegetarian choice!). GlendaleNewChurch@gmail.com

Raising of Jairus’ daughter Via Wikipedia

#GoodFriday @GlendaleNewChu Tonight, 6:30 pm


Cross from Los Dominicos, Santiago, Chile

Tonight at 6:30 pm, 845 Congress Ave, Glendale, the Glendale New Church will offer a communion service. The whole story of the last supper and crucifixion will be read, interspersed with reflective music, and concluding with communion.

The service is about communion, and there will be several opportunities for quiet reflection, journaling, and prayer. Please join.