|We keep seeking||Rev. Thomas G. James||January 8, 2023||Watch|
The Magi were seekers. They sought wisdom, they sought the divine, they sought fortunes to tell the future. Their seeking leads them to Jesus, the newborn king of another culture and religion. And yet, their seeking is also what protects them from Herod’s deception and harm. After the Magi go home by another way, Joseph is visited again by an angel in his dream. This time, the angel brings a warning, and like before, Joseph heeds the message. Fleeing from Herod’s massacre, Joseph and Mary seek refuge in Egypt; they remain there, living as immigrants, until Herod dies. Like the Magi, may we seek the divine and be willing to journey closer to God. Like the Holy family, may we seek safety for all families who are under threat. This new year and every year to come, let us keep seeking—wisdom, justice, and a better world.
|Reflection on God’s Presence||Kathy Houghtalen & Jenabah Moore-Queeglay||January 1, 2023||Watch|
Reflection by two lay members during a joint worship service of WSUMC and Roberts Memorial on a time they’ve felt God’s presence in their lives.
|We Tell This Story||Rev. Thomas G. James||December 24, 2022||Watch|
We tell this story every year. We tell this story because it illustrates so clearly God’s desire to be in relationship with us. We tell this story because we, too, are invited to come to the manger and witness the miracle of birth. We tell this story because it brings us hope and good news—hope especially for those deemed powerless, unworthy, or unwelcome. on this night, we tell this story to pass along this good news and to continue to thread the generations together with hope.
|We see God in each other||Rev. Melissa Dunlap||December 18, 2022||Watch|
This week we return to Mary’s experience. After receiving the news from the angel, she retreats to her cousin Elizabeth’s house. When Mary arrives (perhaps unannounced), Elizabeth doesn’t just welcome her—she is filled with the Holy Spirit and speaks a blessing upon Mary as her own child leaps and kicks within her womb. She sees how God is at work and names it out loud. In this moment of profound solidarity, Mary and Elizabeth see the divine in one another. From generation to generation, we can see how God is at work in our relationships.
|We can choose a better way||Rev. Thomas G. James||December 11, 2022||Watch|
As far as Joseph knows, his new wife has been unfaithful to him and broken their marriage contract.And yet,instead of punishment,he chooses not to publicly disgrace or humiliate her. This interruption in his life becomes a holy invitation when the angel comes to him in a dream and says, “Do not be afraid.” When he awakes, Joseph once again has the courage to choose a better way.He chooses to stay with Mary, to become an adoptive parent. He chooses peace over violence, grace over condemnation.
|God meets us in our fear||Rev. Thomas G. James||December 5, 2022||Watch|
When the angel Gabriel comes to Mary, she is perplexed and confused—and no doubt, afraid. And yet, the angel’s news is: “Do not be afraid.” Do not be afraid. We hear this refrain all throughout the Christmas story and remember it is the most common phrase in all the bible. From generation to generation, God shows up in the midst of our fear and uncertainty and confusion. From generation to generation, faithful people have said “yes” despite apprehension. From generation to generation, our ancestors in faith have accepted the invitation.
|There’s room for every story||Rev. Thomas G. James||November 27, 2022||Watch|
Our series begins with Matthew’s genealogy. In that long list of names, we remember the trauma and triumph of those who came before; each name holds a story and their story gives way to Christ’s story.When you zoom in, you may not be able to see how each character propels the story forward, but when you zoom out, you can see how each story is woven together into a larger tapestry.