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Dry Bones

March 23, 2023

I have been thinking about skeletons, nope that kind, more like the ones that come in deaths and resurrections during this season of Lent—primarily my own.

CREDO. That is the name of the educational seminar I attended a few weeks back. It is Latin for “I believe.” Yet, it can be rendered, “I give my heart to.” I have not fully absorbed the learnings of the CREDO yet. It is all still simmering. This particular event was designed for late career ministers. Yep, I am in that stage.

We created a “Rule of Life,” The rule is meant to help us live a life according to the persons or things we give our heart to. Being an end of career and into retirement centered event, you can understand why I’m thinking more about my death and resurrection than Lazarus or Jesus.

Not that either of them are not part of the contemplation. After all, I have regularly recommitted my heart to Christ. Meaning, I have regularly fallen away from being focused on the way of Jesus that leads to life, to a rule of daily experiences and actions that are worthy of a child of God.

Stockholm 2012

“Can these bones live,” God asks Ezekiel. This is our scripture for this week. I am finding a new joy in thinking about resurrection before Easter, in this season of Lent. I hope you will join this journey. Here’s something fun that made me smile.


I hope you bring this kind of joy to the worship on Sunday, and to your life each and every day, by the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ.

Photo Credits: 2020-01-19 1st run Women’s Skeleton (2020 Winter Youth Olympics) by Sandro Halank–026.jpg Creative Commons Attribution 2.0; Human skeleton remains.jpg Creative Commons Attribution 2.0


Anniversary Prayers

Anniversaries are on my mind. It so happens, a St. Andrew couple celebrated 55 years of marriage this week. Martha and I were attending a conference seventeen years ago today (3/16) when we realized that our friendship might be shifting gears to something more. Six years ago this weekend (3/18-3/19), St. Andrew Pres celebrated her 50th anniversary.

Our History

Reading the recaps from SAPC newsletters that year (2017), I learned that the church left the sanctuary at the benediction singing and carrying candles. You were “lighting the way,” forward in ministry. That year, a lightbulb in the Narthex was lit for every $500 raised for a capital campaign. Those same bulbs were later re-lit one at a time whenever someone wrote to share a moment when St. Andrew’s members were caught letting “OUR light shine.” Anniversary memories can help us learn something about who we were and who we have become.

In the same way, let your light shine before others,

so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16

Our Future

No one mentioned any of this history in the town halls or discernment time regarding a new vision for the church. The elders believed the Holy Spirit directed their work.  The new  vision statement first felt like a brand new concept. Yet, to adopt the statement that “God is calling St. Andrew to be a beacon,” is, to me, a sign that you are continuing the ministry you began, not just 6 years ago, but 56 years ago. You are meant to shine, reflecting the light of love given in Jesus Christ.

Your Past, Present and Future

Even as we celebrate joyful memories, and new beginnings, perhaps some of you are remembering, right now as you read this, difficult anniversaries. Someone’s death, an end to a relationship, a conflict that has never been resolved, moments of sorrow recalled during the cold darker days of winter’s discontent. Anniversary memories can be painful, even as they, too, help us learn who we were and who we have become. The season of Lent recalls Christianity’s darkest day in Scripture—the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

We “celebrate” this season every year. Christians do not avoid or minimize the suffering in the world, not even the suffering of God. Have you noticed we are not singing alleluias? Perhaps you noticed the color of the season, purple, signifying an extended time of expressing sorrow, regret or confessing guilt? Maybe you are planning spring break, egg hunts, new clothes and Easter family meals, skipping right on past Good Friday?

Please slow down and for these last few weeks before Easter Sunday, ask yourself, what am I seeking? How am I killing off the holy within myself just as the death of Jesus killed the disciples’ hope so long ago? Do I want to see Jesus only alive or am I willing to face the cross and my own despair about the missing holiness of the everyday life I am living? What in me needs the light of love? Can I imagine that  God understands despair, hopelessness, enough to understand mine? Will I bring it to God? Will I seek Christ’s merciful gaze and offering of grace? Even as he dies on a cross?

Find Help

Our Facebook page is posting the Lenten art and questions daily. You can pick up a devotional booklet at church or log on to the daily devotional. Our website has the link for the d365 devotional which is written for teens and adults. And if you need pastoral care from the pastor or deacons, send us a note by emailing beverly.friedlander@standrew-pres.org or completing this form.

Beloved of God–May this anniversary Lenten season allow a new light to dawn on your spiritual seeking and may your light shine as you become a beacon of peace and love.

Are any among you suffering? They should pray. Are any cheerful? They should sing songs of praise.

The prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise them up, and anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven. James 5:13, James 5:15


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.


2022 Blog Posts are archived HERE.