Pastor’s blog

The Small Stuff

by David Baer | published: Tuesday, October 2, 2018, 11:46 AM

If you pass my house during some of my free moments, you might see me lying flat on my stomach in the yard. Don't be alarmed—I'm OK, and if you look closer, you might see a camera in my hands. What exactly am I doing? Well, people say not to sweat the small stuff, but I've become a bit of a nut about the small stuff. I love to zoom in close on flowers, blades of grass, insects, drops of water resting on leaves... There is a beautiful, fascinating world that, most of the time, escapes our notice. ...

read more ...

Abundance

by David Baer | published: Tuesday, January 23, 2018, 11:10 AM

As I’ve pored over the texts I’ll be preaching on for the next few weeks, something jumps out at me. Everywhere you look in the gospel of John’s story about Jesus, you’re confronted with abundance. From the wedding at Cana, where Jesus delivers up the equivalent of 600 bottles of high-quality wine, to the living water gushing up to eternal life that Jesus promises the Samaritan woman, to the leftovers remaining after the feeding of five thousand with five loaves and two fish, to the overwhelming ...

read more ...

Tuesday Tidings - March 14, 2017

by David Baer | published: Tuesday, March 14, 2017, 2:44 PM

  Dear Friends, Due to today's blizzard and the need to keep the streets clear for snow removal, Strength & Spirit is canceled. But I expect we will be dug out in time for the Soup Supper at Highlands, Wednesday at 6:30 PM. Our friends from the other churches in town will join us for dinner, followed by a brief video and discussion. This Sunday's gospel text includes the parable of the Prodigal Son, which is familiar to many. The beauty of Jesus' parables is that these short stories are rich ...

read more ...

No Walls, No Borders, No Exceptions

by David Baer | published: Tuesday, January 31, 2017, 4:31 PM

One time a lawyer asked Jesus to tell him what he had to do to inherit eternal life. Jesus told him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” But it seems the man got stuck on the word neighbor. According to the Great Commandment, a neighbor is someone who deserves to be treated on an equal footing and loved in equal measure with oneself. But this is difficult! Surely there ...

read more ...

Tell It Like It Is

by David Baer | published: Friday, April 24, 2015, 1:02 PM

Is there someone in your life who “tells it like it is”? I’ve always admired friends, mentors, and colleagues of mine who are an open book, who let you know what’s important to them, what bothers them, and what they intend to do. They don’t do this to seek sympathy or manipulate others—they just want you to know who they are, where they stand, and what they’re about.

read more ...

For Whom Is the Stone is Rolled Away?

by David Baer | published: Tuesday, April 7, 2015, 9:09 AM

Who needed the stone rolled away? For whose benefit did the angel come down to move earth and rock? Not Jesus. The God who raised Jesus from dead didn’t need to brush aside a physical barrier, imposing though it might be. When the stone rolled away Jesus was not there, he had already been raised, and he had no business being in a tomb. The risen, living Jesus didn’t belong in the grave, so he wasn’t there. And he didn’t need an angel to open the door for him. The stone isn’t rolled away for Jesu ...

read more ...

Resurrection Risk

by David Baer | published: Friday, March 20, 2015, 5:55 PM

As I write these words, the official start of spring is just two hours away, and yet snow is falling outside, covering the ground in a fresh, clean blanket of icy white.  We’ve had more than our fair share of snow this winter, haven’t we?  As the weeks went by and the base of snow built up and up in one modest snowfall after another, the ground disappeared, and with it all its rough imperfections, all the dead branches and trash we neglected to pick up, all the ugliness and mess.  It was all ...

read more ...

Seeds

by David Baer | published: Thursday, February 12, 2015, 12:44 PM

It may still be winter, but the days are getting longer, and spring will be here before we know it.  The Lenten season we are about to enter takes its name from the Anglo-Saxon word lencten, or “lengthen,” referring to the lengthening hours of daylight as spring approaches. It’s a hopeful name for a season of penitence and reflection, pointing the way to better days to come.  The barren branch is about to bud and flower.  The buried bulb is about to burst out of the ground in green shoots.

read more ...

Thanksgiving Forward

by David Baer | published: Saturday, November 1, 2014, 12:00 AM

As we enter the month of November, we look forward to celebrating Thanksgiving.  For most of us it’s a day for food, family, and football, but perhaps also for giving thanks.  The origin story of this holiday, known to every schoolchild, is a celebration of harvest, survival, and the memory (whether accurate or not) of a season of cooperation between English settlers and Native Americans, and rendering thanks to God for these blessings.  Our Puritan forbears, whatever their faults, were keenly ...

read more ...

An Incentive to Forgive

by David Baer | published: Friday, March 7, 2014, 7:09 PM

As I read and listen to economists, increasingly I’m coming to appreciate the insights they have into what motivates people to behave in certain ways.  There’s this story about a day-care center, for example, that had trouble getting parents to pick up their kids on time.  They started fining parents who showed up late, but they had to adjust their approach when they found that the fines actually increased the number of late pickups.  What seems to have happened is that when the parents saw the ...

read more ...

That Way It’s Not Yours to Lose

by David Baer | published: Thursday, February 13, 2014, 3:31 PM

When I marry a couple, I always ask them to give me the wedding license at the rehearsal. I do this for a couple of reasons. The first is that I want to make sure everything is legal and in order, of course. The second reason, though, comes from my own hard-won experience. At my own wedding, after my wife and I had said our vows and walked down the aisle together out of the sanctuary, the minister asked for the wedding license to sign, and I had left it in the hotel room. Fortunately my cousin ...

read more ...

Jesus for All

by David Baer | published: Monday, January 6, 2014, 12:00 AM

By now, most of us are at least thinking of putting away the Christmas decorations.  Down come the lights and the garlands, the wreaths and the ribbons, the star and the Nativity set, with its shepherds and sheep, camels and Magi.  But wait just a minute...  Hold on to those wise guys and their dromedaries—there is nothing in scripture that says that they made it to Bethlehem to meet the shepherds on the night of Jesus' birth (or that there were exactly three of them!), and there is much to ...

read more ...

A New Beginning

by David Baer | published: Friday, December 27, 2013, 12:00 AM

It’s almost a new year, and new calendars are going up on the wall, with more untouched white than a field covered in fresh snow.  The days are circumscribed in tidy little boxes, all laid out in rows, but apart from the occasional holiday, there is no content laid out for them.  These days, my calendar lives online in the “cloud,” so that I can access it anywhere, and it doesn’t stop when the year does.  There is no reason why I can’t start filling 2014 (or 2015 or 2016 for that matter) with ...

read more ...

Let it be with me...

by David Baer | published: Thursday, December 5, 2013, 1:33 PM

What was it like, I wonder, for Mary to feel God’s Son growing inside her? Did he kick? Did he shake and sob when disturbed as unborn children sometimes do? And when did it begin to dawn on her just what she had agreed to, when the angel had announced her part in God’s plan and she spoke those simple words, “Let it be with me according to your word.”?

read more ...

Scripture Readings for September

by David Baer | published: Friday, September 13, 2013, 11:21 AM

As some of you may already know, I’ll be following a narrative lectionary from September through June.  That means that in worship we’ll be hearing the story of the one God who creates and redeems the world as it’s told in our scriptures.  Here are the stories we’ll be hearing during the remainder of this month:

God Calls Reluctant Leaders

by David Baer | published: Friday, September 13, 2013, 9:00 AM

Why is it that God’s most effective and faithful servants seem to be the most reluctant to answer God’s call?

read more ...