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Intermittent Fasting–For all Embodied Souls

March 9, 2023

In a diet culture of striving for the perfect body, we miss the essential power of perfecting the soul. Our bodies are the “temple of the Holy Spirit.” (1 Cor 6: 19) A healthy physique, internally and externally, is only one aspect of approaching our capacity for well-being. How are you nurturing your soul?

Lent is a season to remind us of this essential component. Fasting is one of the spiritual disciplines of Lent. It is not the intermittent fasting of a weight-management plan. It is an ancient practice of a burden management plan. Fasting is meant to help us release the weight of pleasures that obscure the joy of faith.

Have you created a Lenten fast? Would you for the last few weeks of Lent? A daily prayer, 20 minutes, in which you refraining from your usual routine everyday until Easter morning. Our SAPC Facebook page is providing daily reflections from A Sanctified Art, and our website has a link to a daily devotional.

There are five (5) Fridays left in the Lenten season, including Good Friday. What might you fast from beginning sundown Thursday (or bedtime) until sundown Friday (or noon as some customs suggest)? Some may choose to eat a particular way, even restricting your meals to water and limited types of food. (DO NOT risk your health by limiting your food intake if you have medical needs—and you can discuss options with your doctor.) A meal fast would be accompanied by regular prayer, and might include recitation of a scripture, such as,
Or you may limit your indulgence in using your phone, tablet, computer to do anything other than work or prayer. A scripture reference could include,
“Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, 
but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son.” ( Heb 1: 1-2a)
“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger who announces peace,
who brings good news, who announces salvation, who says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns.’” (Isa 52: 7)

May this Lenten season provide you a path to unburdening your life of the heavy weights that keep you from attending your soul. Be freed to discover the power of daily or weekly personal worship that reveals the one thing necessary:

 I keep the Lord always before me;

    because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.

Therefore my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices;

    my body also rests secure. (Ps 16: 8-9)


Seeking Unity?

February 23, 2023
Can division ever be holy?
Our lenten theme is Seeking: Honest Questions for Deeper Faith. Many of us are wondering if there can be any regathering, re-connecting, given all the divisions in our society and churches.
In the book, Holy Disunity How What Separates Us Can Save Us, author Layton E. Williams challenges us to see our goal as real relationships. The invitation is not to create a stay together mentality that forces us to quell our perspectives when talking with people who have different ideas; rather, it is to create a space in which we are authentically ourselves, and able to listen to others well.

As part of our commitment to our new vision and mission, the session approved three objectives for this years ministry:
1. Connect with each other in friendship,
2. Learn together about our God-given faith and purpose,
3. Practice peace and love through acts of healing and reconciliation.

You might guess that joining each other in a conversation about differences and how to navigate our relationships in light of these fulfills all three. I hope you will join each other in this journey beginning in Lent.

Join each other Wednesday evenings 6:00 to 7:30, beginning March 1. Bring your own supper and a hunger for good conversations. Yes, if you are a choir member, you are welcome to leave early when rehearsal begins—let the conversations fill you with both holy harmonies and holy discordant musicality!

You may purchase your own book or ebook, or sign up for a paperback copy to be provided by emailing secretary@standrew-pres.org by Monday, Feb. 27, 9 a.m. In preparation for the first class, please go to
https://www.amazon.com/Holy-Disunity-What-Separates-Save/dp/0664265669, click “Look Inside” and read the Introduction.

One in Christ,


Courage, Connection, Covenant

Keep alert; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.

1 Cor 16: 13-14

Presbyterians are a “connectional,” church. We believe that our God made a covenant to be our God; and; we believe the Presbyterian churches are connected to one another due to this covenant. When connections involve covenant they become more than commonalities.

The church does not always fulfill the covenant part perfectly. No one does. Sadly, when that promise fails, when a connection exists but the bond was not a firmly established covenant, it can be hurtful.

Our new vision and mission is going to be challenging. Here at SAPC, we are making a renewed commitment to be for one another, to engage the courageous and hard work of healing relationships. That is a covenant calling us to become connected with an intentional purpose for well-being.

We are acknowledging that neither a system of congregational care, nor a pastor making a visit, will ever replace the person on the pew making direct contact. My invitation to you is to keep narrowing the focus of what it means to do the healing work of reconciliation in this new covenant. What is the least you can do? We grow by beginning at the beginning.

The smallest step is drumming up the courage to say, “Here I am—thinking of you,” to a specific person, in writing or in person. Seems simple, huh? But it is not if you are not naturally gifted with reaching out. Trust me—I know this personally! So, I am telling you that you are not alone if you hesitate to make a connection more than that Sunday hello.

Be brave—once in the next 7 days. The prayer list might be a good place to start. Or offering a thank you to someone in the church who has meant something to you in your spiritual journey. Trust Holy Spirit, pray for Holy Spirit, to open that door, open your eyes, and help you reach out, to become more than connected—become transformed in the covenant bond of Christ.

If you do this kind of thing easily, you probably know someone who struggles, because they turn to you regularly to ask about someone else! Maybe you can offer to accompany one of us who needs the intro. After all, Jesus sent the disciples 2X2!
(Image Credit: Vicki Dunn, released to Public Domain, “Four Hands Holding, Wikimedia Commons)


Though the earth should move

St. Andrew Presbyterian joins the global community of care for the people of Syria and Turkey. Today’s post comes from the Director of Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, Rev. Edwin González-Castillo.

“As we watch the images and begin to receive news about the aftermath of the 7.8 on the Richter scale earthquake that hit near the border between Syria and Turkey, we invite you to join us in prayer for all the communities impacted by this disaster. PDA has already reached out to our partners in the areas affected by the earthquakes. Along with our prayers, we have offered our support and will be providing initial grants to attend to immediate unmet needs. To support our response, designate gifts to DR999999.

Dear God, as the days go by, provide wisdom and discernment to the local government agencies. May they be instruments of your grace as they care for the people affected. That they may receive help and support from countries near and far, and that, as they provide assistance, may there be enough for everyone. As the stories are shared, and the recovery process begins, may your Spirit be with those who will be called to listen and to be agents of peace and hope.

Dear God, be with those

who weep,

who are angry,

who have lost hope,

who mourn out loud and in silence,

who don’t know what the future will bring.

May the prayers of your children rise to you.

May they feel your presence and comfort in the embrace of a stranger,

your love in the care of their neighbors and loved ones,

your grace in every word and every silence,

and may your Spirit mourn with them and bring healing.We pray that you may guide us as we look for ways to share your compassion and hope with those who suffer. That we may be ambassadors of your peace, your mercy, and your abundant love. Through Jesus, who weeps with those who weep and heals every heart, amen.


How long? Not long.

February 2, 2023

An ancient prophet wrote words we could, or perhaps do, pray today:

O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not listen?

Or cry to you “Violence!” and you will not save?

Why do you make me see wrongdoing and look at trouble?

Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise.

So the law becomes slack, and justice never prevails.

The wicked surround the righteous; therefore judgment comes forth perverted.

It’s Groundhog Day. The shadows are long for us and the winter of our discontent seems unending.

Like Phil in the movie, we are caught in a time loop that seems inescapable. Even Habakkuk felt stuck in cycles of injustice and destruction.

God’s creation needs people who have been captured by the vision of peace Christ proclaims and embodies. The session of St. Andrew, through the Holy Spirit working in the voice of this congregation, your voice, has adopted a statement i
nviting us to become a walking billboard for that vision.

What will it take for you to shine the light of peace and love so we never have to say another name, with the shame of inexplicable violence upon a Black man during a traffic stop? What will it take for you to shine such that we can learn our nation’s history with the conviction that truth is the foundation of reconciliation? What will it take for you to shine such that the spiritual quest for life becomes a common ground for common goodness, regardless of the religion providing the north star for its followers?

May the light of Christ shine in you this week, even if you are praying the words of the prophet, or because you are willing to pray those words, “How long.”  Jesus says, “Not long–You are the light of the world.”


Practice, Practice, Practice

Training. Years ago I walked into a hospital with my mom and she stopped in the hallway with her eyes wide and a bit of delight and bewilderment on her face. “That’s me!” She pointed to the large mural on the wall ahead of us in the newly renovated wing of the hospital. There she was, photographed as a nursing student during a fire drill, carrying a patient down the stairs and out of the building. Even now it makes me smile to remember that moment with her.
Today there was a fire drill at the NLC. I remembered other adults talking about nuclear bomb drills, and my own school’s tornado drills, and my grandkid’s comments about intruder drills. I remembered that one of the interim tasks I usually ask for is an emergency drill on a Sunday morning.

I also thought of batting practice, putting greens and driving ranges, speaking in front of a mirror, all kinds of practice sessions people use to get ready for the big event. Church life in the gathered community is sometimes called “orthopraxis.” Being “orthodox,” means having right beliefs. Orthopraxy is doing right action—practicing faith.
But be doers of the word and not merely hearers who deceive themselves.  James 1: 22
When we share the peace of Christ, this is practice session for being people full of grace throughout the week. It is not a “hi, how are you.” The passing of the peace follows the prayer of confession and proclamation of grace and forgiveness specifically so that we can look the person next to us in the eye, someone who just heard and received the same good news we did, and say to them, as Christ forgives and frees you from your sins, so do I—may we live together in peace, or in the ritualized words of the moment: “Peace be with you!”
Let this word settle in your heart more fully as we practice every Sunday sharing the peace here so that you can share peace beyond this community.
Peace be with you!
Rev Bev


2022 Blog Posts are archived HERE.