Monthly Archives: February 2016

SKY

Dioseline came to Connecticut from Puerto Rico on December 19, 2014
Date: February 21, 2016

To: Expository Preaching

From: Dioseline Angulo-Matos

Re: Sky

Scripture: “In The beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” Genesis 1:1dictionary.cambriage.org Sky the area above earth, in which clouds, the sun, the moon, the starts can be seen.

When I decide to move from Puerto Rico to Connecticut it was a big decision. It involved leaving behind family and friends whom I love and who love me. But I came to Connecticut to begin a new life. To a place where the only people I knew were immediate family. As time passes I have new friends, new experiences, a new life and that includes even my experience with God. New!

As I have been creating my new life I have been vigilantly observant. I look at the sky and take pictures of it. There are things that I see in the sky that others might not see. I see clouds but in the clouds I see different shapes and colors hidden. I see the beginning of a new day. Sometimes I think that God is talking to me through the sky.

When you look outside and see how big the sky is. That is how big your trust in God should be. That is the only thing that should matter your trust in God. At the end we all live in the same house called earth under the same roof we call sky.

When you feel that your sky is falling apart or things don’t go the way you expect raise your hands to the sky and say this verse, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me ” Philippians 4:13. Your answer might come from unexpected places.

When you raise your hands to the sky let it be because you are thankful, full of joy, full of happiness. You are letting go of everything that bothers you by doing that you can feel God’s presence with you in the relieved confirmation that everything is in God’s control and everything is going to be alright. When you lift your hands you are letting go the negatives and you are acknowledging that you are in the presence of the Divine. It is like you are asking for help and accepting that it is already offered. Even while we are in school… you raise your hand when you have questions , knowing that the answer is at your disposal. When you worship and you raise your hands what does that mean to you?

Sometimes we look up to the sky to seek answers to our prayers or our questions. This remind me of a song that I love because of the message it has.

“Levanta las manos y di Señor levanto mis manos aunque no tenga fuerzas, aunque tenga mil problemas. Levantó mis manos aunque no tenga fuerzas, levantó mis manos aunque tenga mil problemas. Cuando levantó mis manos comienzo a sentir una unción que me hace cantar. Cuando levantó mis manos comienzo a sentir el fuego. Cuando levantó mis manos mis cargas se van nuevas fuerzas tú me das. Todo eso es posible, todo eso es posible cuando levantó mis manos. Levantó mis manos aunque no tenga fuerzas, levantó mis manos aunque tenga mil problemas, cuando levantó mis manos comienzo a sentir una unción que me hace cantar cuando levantó mis manos comienzo a sentir el fuego, cuando levantó mis manos mis cargas se van nuevas fuerzas tu me das todo eso es posible, todo eso es posible cuando levantó mis manos, cuando levantó mis manos comienzo a sentir una unción que me hace cantar cuando levantó mis manos comienzo a sentir el fuego cuando levantó mis manos mis cargas se van nuevas fuerzas tu me das todo eso es posible todo eso es posible cuando levantó mis man s todo eso es posible cuando levantó mis manos”. Por Samuel Hernández.

Spanish http://youtu.be/jrKP-xa8Agk English version http://youtu.be/SPjUT95EyBU

SENSE OF ENTITLEMENT – SENTIDO DE PRIVILEGIO

Mark 10:35-45 highlights how some of us have this sense of entitlement in the story of this two brothers asking to be at each side of God. WOW, that woke me up this morning! I certainly thought that being a Christian entitled me to have all and everything I wanted, I asked or I thought I deserved in live. Is not that what I have heard in multiple sermons “ask and you shall received”? But then I began to ask myself what was my goal in life and what God owe me because I was serving and worshiping him?; suddenly I realized that there is nothing God owe me but having mercy on my soul. So now instead of a sense of entitlement because I am a Christian, I have come to the realization that the more I know Christ, the more I understand my call – to serve, to seek, to work for justice for everyone I am sitting in my position.

Prayer: Dear God, allow me to undersand more!
Pastor Maritza

Stting at the Table – Sentad@s a la mesa: SKY – CIELO

Wed/Miercoles 2/24/16 7PM

These are the questions to consider / Estas son las preguntas para considerar:

1 Read Psalm 115 “The Psalmist’s words, ‘Our God is in the heavens,’ actually unveil far more complex spiritual possibilities.

2 “To say that God is in the sky is not to imply that God lives at a certain address above the earth. Instead, it is an invitation to consider God’s presence that both reaches to the stars and wafts through our lives as a spiritual breeze” (p. 103). How does this statement illustrate a shift from a vertical theology to a grounded sense of God among us?

3 “The ground is the earth’s body, water its lifeblood, and the atmosphere its lungs” (p. 114). How has this book helped you frame climate change from a faith perspective? What motivates and inspires you to face the crisis and institute changes? How do you strike a balance between truth and hope?

4 Discuss any spiritual practices you have tried that have focused on breath? Why do you think spiritual practices focus on breathing? (p.109-111)

HERE ARE THE PHOTOS – AQUI ESTAN LAS FOTOS

SUNDAY MORNING – DOMINGO EN LA MAÑANA!

Matthew 5:37 “”Let what you say be simple “Yes” or “No”

For the past several days our family have experienced a time of Sabbath. During this time we have put all in God’s hands. He is the doer of the impossible. We have spent time walking, talking, praising, worshiping and enjoying each other. We are enjoying sayingyes to those things that are really important in our lives and allowing for our given 24hrs to take time to rest.

Enjoy these photos, God took time to teach us about His priorities and has keep his promises!

Pastor Maritza

Durante los últimos dias nuestra familia ha experimentado un tiempo sabático. En este tiempo hemos puesto todo en las manos de Dios. El es el hacedor de lo imposible. Hemos tomado tiempo para caminar, hablar, alabar, adorar y disfrutarnos un@s a otr@s. Estamos difrutando decir si a aquellas cosas que son realmente importantes en nuestras vidas y permitiendo tiempo de descanso en las 24 horas que nos fueron otorgadas.

Disfruten estas fotos, Dios tomó tiempo para enseñarnos acerca de sus prioridades y ha mantenido sus promesas.

Listen clearly, don’t get it twisted…Escucha claramente, no lo tuerzas …

I do not know why am I reading this devotional this year, but let me tell you, I am laughing, dancing and worshiping to God’s Throne as I sit at His Table! Can you just imagine? Why am I fighting to belong? Why am I crying because others call me outsider, mutilated, second class citizens? My God has already DECREE that I belong, that I have been gathered as an insider, and he has gathered me.

Listen clearly, don’t get it twisted…

“To the [outsiders] who keep my Sabbaths and choose what delights me and keep a firm grip on my covenant, I’ll provide an honored placed in my family and within my city… and as for the outsides who now follow me, working for me, loving my name, and wanting to be my servants, you are welcome to worship the same as the insiders”. (Isaiah 56) This is AWESOME, I have been brought to the Holy Mountain and given Joy in HIS house of prayer; the same as the other…

Are you listening to God?

Prayer: Thank You! I am sitting at your mercy.

Pastora Maritza

No sé por qué este año estoy leyendo este devocional, pero déjenme decirles, yo estoy riéndome , bailando y adorando frente al Trono de Dios mientras estoy sentada en su mesa! ¿Puedes imaginarte esto? ¿Por qué estoy luchando para pertenecer ? ¿Por qué estoy llorando porque los demás me llaman forastero(a), mutilado(a), ciudadanos(as) de segunda clase ? Mi Dios ya ha DECRETADO/DECLARADO que yo PERTENEZCO, que he sido aceptada.

Escucha claramente, no lo tuerces …

“Para las personas [en el margen] que guardan el reposo y eligen lo que me encanta y mantienen un agarre firme en mi pacto, los voy a honrar colocandolos en mi familia y en mi ciudad … y en cuanto a aquellos(as) en el margin que ahora me siguen, trabajando para mí , por amor de mi nombre, y con ganas de ser mis discipulos, ustedes son bienvenidos(as) a adorar juntamente con los de adentro “. ( Isaías 56 ) Esto es IMPRESIONANTE, me ha llevado a la Montaña Santa (su presencia) y me ha otorgado alegría/gozo en su casa de oración; de la misma forma en que lo hizo con el(la) otro(a)… ¿Estás escuchando a Dios ?

Oración: Gracias! Estoy sentada en tu misericordia.

Are you ready to shut up and listen? – Estas list@ para callarte y escuchar?

Here we are, my husband and I, laughing out loud as we read our devotional for today. God is something else, this early in the morning and we read about the need to give up comparing one with the other. And instead begin to praise God for giving us skills, talents and abilities to do the things we are good at. And by doing so, recognizing that there are other people that excel at the same abilities, skills and talents that we might have. Lets read about Job (40)interesting conversation with God:

God: “Now what do you have to say for yourself? Are you going to haul me, the Mighty One, into court and press charges?”

Job: “I’m speechless, in awe—words fail me. I should never have opened my mouth! I’ve talked too much, way too much. I’m ready to shut up and listen.”

God: “I have some more questions for you, and I want straight answers. “Do you presume to tell me what I’m doing wrong? Are you calling me a sinner so you can be a saint? Do you have an arm like my arm? Can you shout in thunder the way I can? Go ahead, show your stuff. Let’s see what you’re made of, what you can do….I’ll gladly step aside and hand things over to you!

Prayer: Dear God, help us to be quiet, so you can speak and we can listen. We are giving up the arrogance of being perfect, so you can really be our God. We will no longer compare each other, we know you created us to be Christ-like, not gods.

Are you ready to shut up and listen? – Estas list@ para callerte y escuchar?

Aquí estamos, me esposo y yo, riendonos en alta voz mientras leemos nuestro devocional para hoy. Dios es otra cosa, temprano en la mañana y nosotros leyendo sobre la necesidad de dejar de compararnos un@s con l@s otr@s. En vez de comenzar a alabar a Dios por darnos destrezas, talentos y abilidades para hacer las cosas que hacemos. Y hacienda esto, reconociendo que existen otras personas que brillan con las mismas abilidades, destrezas y talentos que nosotr@s podríamos tener. Leamos acerca de esta interesante conversación entre Job (40) y Dios:

Dios: “Qué tienes que decir acerca de ti mismo?” Me vas a arrastrar, a la corte y acusarme?”

Job: “ Me sorprendo, no tengo palabras” Nunca debi abrir mi boca! He hablado mucho, demasiado. Estoy listo para callarme y escuchar”

Dios: “Tengo más preguntas para ti, y quiero que me respondas directamente. Presumes decirme lo que estoy hacienda mal? Me llamas pecador para que tu puedas ser un santo? Acaso tienes una mano como mi mano? Puedes gritar en la tormenta como lo hago yo? Comienza, muestrame tus capacidades. Dejame ver de lo que estas hecho, lo que puedes hacer… Con gusto me hecho a un lado y lo entrego todo a ti!

Oración: Querido Dios, ayudanos a mantener silencio mientras tu hablas. Te entregamos nuestra arrogancia de querer ser perfect@s, de esta manera tu realmente eres nuestro Dios. No nos compararemos un@s a otr@s, sabiendo que tu nos creaste para pareceremos a Cristo, no para ser dioses.

Pastora Maritza

(From 40 Things to give up for Lent and Beyond, Phil Ressler)

SENTAD@S A LA MESA (Seated at the Table): WATER (agua)

Book: Grounded by Diana Butler Bass Study Guide: from First Churches UCC/ABC in Northampton, MA

1. “Ancient biblical tradition suggests that waters—wells, springs, oases—are also places of renewal, hospitality, and spiritual vision, where human beings see God and God’s blessing” (p. 73). What is your favorite water story from a sacred text? What role does water play in your faith tradition?

2. “This is a vibrant spiritual vision—knowing God as water is not only about clarity and flow, but consists in great part of the muddiness of our own lives” (p. 91). How has God come to life for you in flowing, still, and muddy waters?

3. What is your favorite body of water to visit? What do you experience there?

COVENANT for Promise Keepers – PACTO para Mantenedores de Promesas

2/14 and 2/15/16

God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. There is no room in love for fear. If anyone boasts, “I love God,” and goes right on hating his brother or sister, thinking nothing of it, he is a liar. If he won’t love the person he can see, how can he love the God he can’t see? The command we have from Christ is blunt: Loving God includes loving people. You’ve got to love both. 1 John 4:17-21

God has made a COVENANT with his people and we all have the responsibility to keep it going. God is not only a Promise Maker, he is also a promise keeper. And we, we are the dynamic listeners. At least that is my understanding from the reading of Matthew 13:23 “As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it”. Más claro no canta un gallo, it is not about hearing, it is about listening beyond that that we hear, it is about comprehending, and in order to do this we must clear our minds and our hearts of all that “we thought was god, but it wasn’t.”; we must Love the people God created.

Pastor Maritza

Dios es amor. Cuando tomamos residencia permanente en la vida de amor, vivimos en Dios y Dios vive en nosotr@s. No existe espacio en el cuarto del amor para el miedo. Si alguien se Gloria, “Yo amo a Dios” y odia a su hermano o su Hermana, pensando que esto esta bien, esta persona es un mentiroso. Si no puede amar a la persona que ve, como puede amar a Dios a quien no puede ver? El principio que recibimos de Dios es claro: Amar a Dios incluye amar a toda persona. Tienes que amarlos a ambos: Dios y creación. (Traducido por mi)

Dios ha hecho PACTO con su gente y nosotr@s tenemos la responsabilidad de mantener este pacto. Dios no es solo Hacedor de Promesas, tambien es Mantenedor de Promesas. Y nosotr@s, tenemos la responsabilidad de escuchar dinámicamente. Por lo menos ese es mi entendimiento despues de leer Mateo 13:23 “Lo que sembraste en buena tierra, esto es l@s que escuchan la palabra y la entienden”. Más claro no canta un gallo, no es acerca de oir, es acerca de escuchar más allá de lo que podemos oir, es acerca de comprender, y para poder hacer esto necesitamos nuestra mente y nuestro corazón claros de todo aquello que “pensabamos era dios, pero no era”; debemos Amar la gente que Dios creó.

Lent Week 1: Are you grounded? …DIRT!

DATE: 14 February 2016
TO: Manantial de Gracia
YEAR: Are you ready? For God has Made a New Thing…
TITLE: Are you grounded? DIRT…! (Estas connectad@? TIERRA…!)

PRAYER
Like an endless falling, Prayer in class/January 8, 1998
Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth Prayers of Walter Brueggemann

“Things fall apart, the center cannot hold.”
We are no strangers to the falling apart;
We perpetrate against the center of our lives, and on some days it feels:
Like an endless falling,
Like a deep threat,
Like rising water,
Like ruthless wind.
But you…you in the midst,
You back in play,
You rebuking and silencing and ordering,
You creating restfulness in the very eye of the storm.
You…be our center:
Cause us not to lie about the danger,
Cause us not to resist your good order.
Be our God. Be the God you promised,
And we will be among those surely peaceable in your order.
We pray in the name of the one through whom all things hold together.
Amen.

LLAMADO A COMUNIDAD / CALL TO COMMUNITY
Grounded by Diana Butler Bass, final Call/Response by E.MendezAngulo
(Originally found in Gaining Ground by Forrest Pritchard)

One: A small swath of earth was now revealed. Un poco de tiera fue revelado.
All: soil…was soft and dark. Arena… suave y oscura.
One: I slid my fingers into the dirt, cupping a handful of earth to my nose. Toque el fango con mis dedos, acercandomelo a la naris.
All: The aroma of the broken ground was profoundly rich, at once mysterious and inviting. El aroma de la tiera profundamente rica, misteriosa como en invitacion.
One: In the depths of winter – with the pastures grazed low, the sycamores stark and leafless, the creek banks rimmed with ice, and the sky a gray blanket spread from mountaintop to mountaintop – here the earth abided. En lo profundo del invierno – cuando la grama casi no existe, los arboles sycamore basios y secos, los lagos tocados de nieve, y el cielo gris de Montana a Montana – asi existe el mundo.
All: The soft warmth spoke to me, saying, I am waiting now, but I will be ready. We are mutual participants, you and I, intertwined. El calor me habla, diciendo, te espero aun no pero te espero.
One: Said creation to Creator God. Asi le dijo la creacion a Dios Creador.
All: For I am my Beloved’s and my Beloved is mine. Porque yo soy de mi Amado y mi Amado es mio.

ENVUELT@S EN LA PALABRA / ENGAGING THE WORD
Genesis 2: 4-7; John 9: 6-7; Genesis 3:19; Job 42:5-6 (TLV)

These are the genealogical records of the heavens and the earth when they were created, at the time when Adonai Elohim made land and sky. Now no shrub of the field was in the land yet, and no green plants of the field had sprouted yet. For Adonai Elohim had not caused it to rain upon the land, and there was no one to work the ground. But a mist came up from the land and watered the whole surface of the ground. Then Adonai Elohim formed the man out of the dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils a breath of life—so the man became a living being…

[Jesus] spat on the ground, made mud with the saliva, and spread the mud on the blind man’s eyes. [Jesus] told him, “Go, wash in the Pool of Siloam” (which is translated Sent). So he went away, washed, and came back seeing.

By the sweat of your brow will you eat food, until you return to the ground, since from it were you taken. For you are dust, and to dust will you return.

I had heard of You by the hearing of the ear; but now my eye has seen You. Therefore I despise myself, and repent on dust and ashes.

Are you grounded? DIRT…! (Estas connectad@? TIERRA…!)

Happy Sunday Church! Today there are awesome things happening on the same date. Today people are celebrating Valentines Day… they are wearing all the traditional acutremounts of love: red and pink and white and hearts and all things lovey-dovey. Today people are celebrating Science, and talking about how science (true science) is connected to the Divine. Today people are celebrating the first Sunday of the Lenten Season… a time when we recall Jesus full of the Holy Sprit being tested by Satan during his 40 days of fasting while in the Wilderness. This is the beginning of a time of testing for some, and a time for love for others…OR it is a time during which God’s love and God’s mercy abide together in perfect harmony…

Luke 4: 1-13
Talks of the tests that Satan attempted to throw at Jesus:
If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread. (but one does not live by bread alone Jesus replied)
If you worship me, all glory and authority will be yours. (but we are instructed in scripture to worship and serve only God, said Jesus)
If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from up high, so the Angels can protect you (do not put the Lord your God to the test).

It is interesting to me that on this day of Hybrid traditions Luke 4 stands (at least to me) as the response to Valentines Day…it serves as an example and reminder of Jesus’ redemptive love. Let us consider two of Jesus’ replies to Satan.
one does not live by bread alone: Jesus said this when it concerns himself. He did not transform the bread for his own needs. but Jesus realizes that creation needs physical food as well as spiritual nourishment…and every time he preached and was met by throngs of hungry people, he fed their physical needs, allowing leftover bread and fish to multiply to feed them not only one meal but sustain them through leftovers (ABUNDANCE and OVERFLOW).
do not put the Lord your God to the test, and even in the midst of his final moments on Cavalry’s cross, Jesus (the man) felt weak and tired and cried out to God, but again not for himself, but rather for the sake of all creation… forgive them he says for they don’t understand.

Today, I am supposed to be preaching about dirt. And in so doing I thought that I would start at the beginning. What is dirt? According to Wikipedia dirt is “unclean matter” the stuff that when it comes into contact with your clothes and skin and things, needs to be cleaned off in order that the dirt can be no more…until it comes again.

Dirt is dust and filth and grime and soil and earth and mud and yuck. And once cleansed it will return. Time and time again. We can clean it, and wash it, and rinse it, and scrub it. But it will return!

According to Merriam Webster, dirt can also be a person or a thing that has no value. Dirt is something worthless. Dirt is a contemptible person.

In modern use of the word, dirt is scandalous or malicious gossip. Dirt is embarrassing or incriminating information.

Let us be clear… We are each full of dirt. For some of us, when people dig into our past (or our presents) the dirt is hidden under the surface, for others, there has to be a lot deeper digging to find the dirt because it is so far removed…

According to Brueggemann’s liturgical poem, Genesis 1, we are all made of dirt. For, “Adonai Elohim formed the man out of the dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils a breath of life—so the man became a living being…” and Adonai Elohim proclaimed each and every aspect of creation good! In the “cosmic vision of creation,” a story “unfolds with the making of plants and forests, the stars and suns and moons and beyond, all the fishes and birds and animals, and finally human beings. At each juncture, God proclaims blessing on what has been made, declaring it good, and with the creation of humankind the whole of the universe is pronounced VERY GOOD.”

Creation, you have been created and breathed into existence by God who loves you. You have been deemed good from the beginning. You have fallen and gotten dusty and dirty and still God has deemed you worth it. You are worth everything. When you doubt your ability to achieve greatness, realize that we are not all created for the same purpose, but we are all created by the same God. Remember that when first man and first woman walked and procreated, the breath of God was inside them… the same breath of God that is today inside you. Remember that from DIRT you came and to DIRT you shall return and in the middle point, that in-between time, while others are telling you your worth and telling you your dirt… you are God’s beloved and are loved and deemed VERY GOOD. Worthy of God being born of a young created woman, worthy of God humbling God’s self and walking among the dirt that God created. Worthy of God hanging and dying on a cross as a public sacrifice and worthy of God’s love. You are deemed VERY GOOD…just as you are. AMEN.

CLOSING PRAYER
Your command is garbled, Summer school/July 14, 1998
Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth Prayers of Walter Brueggemann

We imagine you coming into the barracks with your insistent demand.
We imagine you addressing
The sun to “move out,”
The sky – “let there be light,”
The sea – “stand back.”
We imagine you addressing Israel, “be my people,”
And the church “follow me.”
We even imagine you addressing us, each of us and all of us with your order of the day.
We imagine…but the din of other commands,
Of old loyalties and unfinished business and tired dreams
Cause us not to hear well, not to listen, not to notice, and your command is garbled.
So come again with your mandate, with the clarity of your imperative.
We listen, because we know in deep ways that your yoke is easy and your burden is light.
Come among us, because we are yours, and ours is a listening mood.
Give us ears and then hands and hearts and feet for your good news [that we may share it].
Amen.

PASTORAL BENEDICTION
You lied. You lied when you said that I was unworthy of love. You lied when you named me slave. You lied when you named me less than human. You lied when you enslaved me. You lied when you named me inferior. You lied when you said…in God’s name. You lied when you exluded me. You lied when you named me unlovable. You lied. You lied and lied and lied. In the very first chapter of the Bible, God looked around at God’s creation…ALL OF GOD’s CREATION, and named it Very Good! I am worthy. I am worth it. I am lovable. You are worthy. You are worth it. You are lovable. And if you don’t like it or don’t agree…take it up with God.

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