Christmas Eve Meditations and Prayers

WELCOME Tonight’s service will be a little different … Because of mask mandate which would prevent us from blowing out all of our individual candles, we are using the little tea flickering tea lights that you received when you entered. When the time comes, we invite you to turn them on as we sing “Silent Night.” If you have trouble with your switch which is on the bottom of the lights, just ask a neighbor for help. Something else that’s different is that there will be three MINI reflections instead of just one larger one. Our theme tonight is EMMANUEL … Continue reading Christmas Eve Meditations and Prayers

“The Seeds of Scandal”

Fellowship of Faith / South Presbyterian ChurchDecember 19, 2021Matthew 1:18-25 (MSG)The Reverend Deborah Fae Swift Our Gospel Reading is Matthew’s account of Jesus’ birth. Let us listen with new ears and proclaim together the Message Version of Matthew 1: 18-25. 18-19 The birth of Jesus took place like this. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. Before they came to the marriage bed, Joseph discovered she was pregnant. (It was by the Holy Spirit, but he didn’t know that.) Joseph, chagrined but noble, determined to take care of things quietly … so Mary would not be disgraced. 20-23 While he … Continue reading “The Seeds of Scandal”

“Be Healed”

Luke 3:15-17 (MSG)Fellowship of Faith/South Presbyterian ChurchDecember 12, 2021 – Advent 3 – Healing ServiceThe Reverend Deborah Fae Swift John the Baptist … the cousin of Jesus … had a following that came to him in the wilderness, joining him at the Jordan River. The Jewish people had been waiting for the Messiah – their Savior – the one who would lead them out of their despair of being in an occupied country, marginalized by all the people in power – for generations. Hundreds of years. And now, with John’s cries to “Repent! For the Kingdom of God is near,” … Continue reading “Be Healed”

“Startled by a Holy Humming”

December 5, 2021 – ADVENT 2Fellowship of Faith / South Presbyterian ChurchThe Reverend Deborah Fae Swift Responsive Reading of Matthew 24:36-44 (ILV)   Today’s reading from Matthew’s Gospel reminds us that we just never KNOW when God’s reign on earth will come to fruition. Sometimes we talk about the Second Coming of Jesus. Whether you believe that to be a literal re-embodiment of him in physical form, or you think of it as an increase in our personal ENLIGHTENMENT … we are encouraged through Matthew’s gospel to be ever at the ready to experience something new and life-changing in our faith. … Continue reading “Startled by a Holy Humming”

“Holy Hope”

Fellowship of Faith / South Presbyterian ChurchNovember 28, 2021 – ADVENT 1Isaiah 9:2,6-7 (Inclusive Language Version)The Reverend Deborah Fae Swift It never ceases to amaze me when Advent rolls around. I mean … REALLY. But THIS year it feels almost like a special gift to me because I don’t mind telling you that there are times lately, when I feel almost as if I am living in EXILE … away from everything familiar … away from the culture and the community I know … away from the values I grew up with. Do you ever feel that way, too? Like … Continue reading “Holy Hope”

Re-Membering

Thanksgiving Sunday – 11/21/21Fellowship of Faith / South Presbyterian Church The Reverend Deborah Fae SwiftPsalm 100 Be thankful to God, and bless God’s holy name.5 For Love is good;Divine mercy is everlasting,And God’s truth endures to all generations. Thanksgiving. Gratitude. Appreciation. Gratefulness. Acknowledgment. Giving thanks. All through our lives … ever since we were little … we have been taught to say “please” and “thank you.” I even had a RECORD when I was a pre-schooler with Greer Garson (of all people) SINGING a song that ended with “so we say please and thank you.  Thank you,” she said … and then answered herself with “You’re Welcome.” It always … Continue reading Re-Membering

“Worship | Study | Serve | Connect”

The Reverend Deborah Fae SwiftFellowship of Faith / South Presbyterian ChurchMatthew 4:18-22October 31, 2021 A calling card.Calling hours.Calling restrictions may apply. Call for peace.Call for justice.Call for a vote. Call of duty.Call of a friend.Call to Worship. There are a lot of ways that we think about PLACING a call … SCREENING a call … and ANSWERING a call. People get called OUT … called UP … Called NAMES … And those famous lines … “You can call me FLOWER if you want to …” ¯“Call me Al …”¯ “Call me anything you want … just don’t call me late … Continue reading “Worship | Study | Serve | Connect”

“Blind Faith”

The Reverend Deborah Fae SwiftFellowship of Faith / South Presbyterian Church Mark 10:46-52 (NIV)October 24, 2021 So Jesus is walking along … and this guy calls out to get his attention … “Heal me, Heal me” … much the way some of our panhandlers today stand at the exit ramps with cardboard signs asking for money for food. This guy was on the roadside …and people knew who he WAS … it was Timaeus’ son, Bart … also known as Bartimaeus. He was blind. We don’t know if that was from birth or through some accident … but like most … Continue reading “Blind Faith”

“N.M P.”

The Reverend Deborah Fae SwiftFellowship of Faith / St. John’s MeadowsGen 4:1-12 (MSG)October 17, 2021 Well … because today is the Children’s Sabbath, I thought about focusing on the plight of our children here in Monroe County – specifically, in Rochester itself. I mean … there’s a lot to talk about. According to the Democrat & Chronicle, “compared with cities its size, Rochester ranks as the number one WORST city in the United States for child poverty.   “48% of our city’s children live below the poverty level. “We are FIRST in the nation in the rate of EXTREME poverty … Continue reading “N.M P.”

“Welcome Home”

John 15:1-17 (MSG)Fellowship of Faith / St. John’s MeadowsThe Reverend Deborah Fae Swift “Home” is such a nebulous idea, isn’t it? One definition says it is, “the place where one lives permanently, especially as a member of a family or household,” and in that sense, I think it’s a good word for how we choose to interact with God – for God’s INVITES us to be ENCOMPASSED within the circle of that all-accepting love. For sure there are other meanings of “home” … We can talk about “homing in” on a goal or an idea …homing in on GOD. And … Continue reading “Welcome Home”