Prodigal Mercy

Caryne Eskridge  

3/27/2022 

Luke 15:1-3,11-32 

Before I began to discern a call to ordained ministry and before I went to seminary, I studied and interpreted art and decorative arts for the public. I was trained to observe closely and to learn how to ask the right questions of an object. It turns out that this was great training for reading and interpreting parables. The parables in the Bible are all about subversion and misdirection. The characters who seem to be at the center of the parable are not often the characters to whom we should really be paying attention. To interpret the parables we must excavate the layers of meaning, look in places we would not otherwise, and ask the right questions. Scholar John Dominic Crossan writes that a parable is “a story that never happened, but always does.” In other words, a parable doesn’t refer to one specific event or time, but resonates across time and space. The meaning of a parable shifts depending on where we locate ourselves in the story. It is our task this morning to resist over-allegorizing, to pause before we assign roles and tidy up the story too much. (Read entire sermon at https://weybridgechurch.files.wordpress.com/2022/04/prodigal-mercy-sermon_3-27-22-google-docs.pdf)

One Great Hour of Sharing April 3

One Great Hour of Sharing 

The annual offering for One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) will take place on Sunday, April 3.  Mission will speak about OGHS on the Sunday, March 27 but, in the meantime, here is a link to help us understand the way the UCC, through this fund, assists people in crisis worldwide.  Over 55% of this offering supports development initiatives on an international level and approximately 45%  supports the resettlement of refugees, response to disasters and more.  5% is used for interpretation materials. You can read about this and more at: https://www.ucc.org/giving/ways-to-give/our-churchs-wider-mission/one-great-hour-of-sharing/oghs_resources_frequently-asked-questions/

Transforming Encounter

2/27/2022
Exodus 34:29-35 Luke 9:28-36

Today is the last Sunday in the season of Epiphany, a season in which we have moved through the early ministry of Jesus, as he laid the foundation for his ministry. The major theme of Jesus’ teaching has been a gospel message with two sides of the same coin. Jesus brings comfort to the comfort-less, healing to those who hurt and ache, and plenty to those who are forced to go without. At the same time, Jesus brings down the haughty, rebukes those who hoard without filling the need of their neighbor, and preaches woe to those who do not repent of complicity with worldly power and oppression. Today, on Transfiguration Sunday, our scripture readings extend us an invitation to explore how a mysterious, glorious sign adds to our understanding of Jesus’ work in and through us.

There are three key elements from these two readings that will be our focus: prayer, presence, and power. (Read more. https://weybridgechurch.files.wordpress.com/2022/03/sermon_2-27-the-place-where-we-are-right-google-docs.pdf)

From Pastor Caryne

From Caryne February 25, 2022

Hello, Weybridge Church!

I hope that you all are able to take advantage of the snow as yet another opportunity for winter activities, whether that is something outdoors or marveling at the beauty from indoor warmth.

I am looking forward to being back with you for worship this Sunday when we will mark Transfiguration, the final Sunday in the Epiphany season. We will hear about a mysterious, transcendent interaction on a mountaintop that the writer of Luke shows us in order to give us special insight into Jesus’ ministry and purpose.

This coming Wednesday, March 2nd, is Ash Wednesday. I invite you all to join me at 5.30pm on Wednesday evening for a service to begin our Lenten journey. We will receive a mark of ashes and begin to think about our theme for the season, “Full to the Brim,” and what that means for us as individuals and as Weybridge Church. Throughout Lent, we will be exploring how God’s abundant love and grace, not shame or penitence, form the foundation for repentance, right relationship, and being our truest selves.

To help guide us through the season of Lent, we have a few different offerings. One is a weekly devotional guide available in PDF form or a printed copy that I can generate. Each week includes a poem, some scripture commentary, and two pieces of visual art with a commentary. If you are interested in receiving the devotional, email me (weybridgechurch@gmail.com) with which format you prefer (PDF or hard copy) and I will have it ready for you by Ash Wednesday. Second, I will be leading two Lenten worship services at 5.30pm on two Wednesday nights: 3/16 and 3/30. The service will consist of meditative Taizé-style singing and prayer, and will not last longer than half an hour. For those who enjoy this kind of worship and others interested in trying it out, I look forward to seeing you there.

Before Ash Wednesday and Lent, though, is Mardi Gras! I lived in New Orleans for a little over a year before I moved to New Haven, CT, and the season leading up to Mardi Gras was full of radical hospitality, creativity (New Orleanians will work on their costumes for the parades for a year beforehand), and celebration. If you’d like some help getting into the mood on Tuesday, here’s a live recorded video of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band playing “Go to the Mardi Gras.”

Peace, 

Caryne

From our Pastor

Hello, Weybridge Church!

Last Sunday, we reflected on the ways that our God is a God of abundance and extravagance, symbolized by the story of Jesus turning water into wine. Not only are we invited to the feast that God lays for us, but we also receive gifts from the Holy Spirit to be used for the common good. We remembered some of the teaching of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a man of faith and theologian, who fought to end the scourge of white supremacy that systematically stripped dignity and even life away from Black Americans.

This week we continue in the season of Epiphany, following the beginning of Jesus’ ministry as told in the gospel of Luke. We will begin to see how the Good News was, and still is, difficult and controversial for those unwilling to release hierarchies and end exploitative power. We will continue to read Paul’s instruction to the Corinthian church on how to “be” church, using one of my favorite images in scripture: the church as the body of Christ.

In the winter, especially as I experience my first Vermont winter, I try to use the quiet and slowness that comes with the season to pay attention and bring presence to my surroundings. This poem, “Miracles” by Walt Whitman, resonated with that practice and I hope that it might for some of you, too.

Peace,

Caryne

A Reminder of Redemption

Our season of Epiphany is framed by three big moments in the gospels, each of which invite us into the mystery, solidarity, and “showing out” of Jesus as Emmanuel, God-with-us. These moments invite us to explore our own calls to join Jesus’ ministry in our world. We started last week by looking at the visit of the Magi, remembering that the news of Emmanuel, a new shepherd-king, was and is for more than just one people group, in one place, in one time. This week we celebrate the story of the baptism of Jesus and we will remember the ongoing work of baptism in our own lives. Next week we will attend a wedding at Cana at which Jesus was a guest. 

My soul magnifies the Lord.

This Advent, we have been on a journey in scripture through space and time. We began by thinking about the signs all around us that reveal God’s work in and through us. We then met John the Baptist, whom the gospel writer urges us to listen as the “voice crying out in the wilderness” to prepare the way for the Lord. We remembered that the message came not to the centers of power or to those who held that power but to a prophet in the wilderness. Next we followed a crowd out into that wilderness, curious about this prophetic message and this man claiming to be a servant of God. We heard John’s message of harsh words for those who hoard power and resources and who ignore the lowly, those he called a “brood of vipers.” To those who were being oppressed then and who are brought low now, however, this world-turning message was both revolutionary and welcome. As we moved through this arc in the gospel of Luke we read from the prophets alongside, each of whom prophesied at a time of great disruption and confusion for the Israelites. All of this, I hope, has worked together to show us that even and especially in times that are confusing, heartbreaking, and difficult, Emmanuel, God-with-us continually advents into our lives and into the world to do new things.  (Continue reading this sermon at https://weybridgechurch.files.wordpress.com/2021/12/2021-12-19-my-soul-magnifies-the-lord.-.pdf)

What then should we do?

12/12/2021 – Advent 3, Zephaniah 3:14-20, Luke 3:7-18 

This week we continue our Advent journey picking up in Luke’s gospel exactly where we left off last week with John the Baptist. We heard an introduction to John, whom Luke identifies as the prophetic “voice crying out in the wilderness” to prepare the way for the messiah, for one who will bring both the forgiveness of sins and an overturning of societal norms. To read this sermon go to https://weybridgechurch.files.wordpress.com/2021/12/2021-12-12-what-then-should-we-do.pdf

Christmas Poinsettias

Christina has kindly offered to order poinsettias again for our church.  They will be $8.79 each. Please provide your name, number of plants, color choice (it’s possible they’ll all end up being red), and if you plan to take them home on Christmas Eve. Deadline for getting this information to her is Sunday, December 5.

Fellowship Note from the Deacons

Out of an abundance of caution, due to the recent surge of COVID cases in Addison county and the increased potential of the virus spreading in the coming weeks after gathering with family and friends for Thanksgiving, the deacons have decided to put coffee hour on hold for the next several weeks. We will not have coffee hour through December 12. The deacons will meet on the 12th and reassess this decision going forward. This information has been reflected in the calendar below as well. Thanks for your understanding as we continue to navigate these challenging COVID waters!