Christmas Day 2022

The Reverend Deborah Fae SwiftIrondequoit Presbyterian ChurchDecember 25, 2022 Reflection                                                                   “Do we know?” In 1984, a man by the name of Mark Lowry wrote some lyrics for a Christmas Play. Almost a decade later, they were put to music and now we can hear it on the radio almost every Christmas season … The idea behind it, though, is haunting … Mary, did you know that your baby boyWould one day walk on water? … did you know that your baby boyWould save our sons and daughters? Did you KNOW … that your baby BOY Has come to make … Continue reading Christmas Day 2022

Christmas Eve Mini-Reflections

The Reverend Deborah Fae SwiftFellowship of Faith @ St. John’s MeadowsDecember 24, 2022 Reflection #1“Birth of Light”                                                                                        The Peanut’s character, Linus … standing there with his security blanket … center stage in A Charlie Brown Christmas … reciting the words we just heard. And then he ends with, “That’s what it’s all about, Charlie Brown …” and walks off stage. It’s all very dramatic … but that IS what it’s all about. It’s what our FAITH is about … the birth of this baby … this innocent child born in a war-torn country … to ordinary people … Continue reading Christmas Eve Mini-Reflections

“Christmas Eyes”

The Reverend Deborah Fae SwiftDecember 18, 2022Mt. 1:18-25 (MSG)Fellowship of Faith @ St. John’s MeadowsGospel Reading (responsive)Matthew 1:18-25 (MSG) Scripture There are two birth narratives for Jesus in the Bible and they are found in Matthew and in Luke. Matthew’s was written for a primarily Jewish audience and tells the story from Joseph’s point of view. Luke’s was written for a primarily NON-Jewish audience and tells it with an emphasis on Mary. I invite you to join me as we proclaim the gospel together, using the Message version of Matthew 1:18-25. Please join me when you see the bold print. Listen … Continue reading “Christmas Eyes”

ADVENT 3: “From the Inside Out”

The Reverend Deborah Fae SwiftFellowship of Faith @ St. John’s Meadows Luke 3:15-17 | December 11, 2022 The Hebrew people had been awaiting the Messiah for generations when all of a sudden, a prophet appeared among them who was preaching repentance and new life through their faith. This man, John, was baptizing people as a symbolic act of being born anew, and many wondered if he were the Messiah. We pick up the story of Jesus at this point, reading from the Message version of Luke 3:15-17. Listen for the word of God as it speaks to you today. The … Continue reading ADVENT 3: “From the Inside Out”

ADVENT 2 – “Mary, a Holy Prophet”

The Reverend Deborah Fae SwiftSelections from Luke 1:26-46 (MSG)December 4, 2022Fellowship of Faith @ St. John’s Meadows God sent the angel Gabriel to the Galilean village of Nazareth to a virgin engaged to be married to a man descended from David. His name was Joseph, and the virgin’s name, Mary. Upon entering, Gabriel greeted her: Good morning! You’re beautiful with God’s beauty, Beautiful inside and out! God be with you. She was thoroughly shaken, wondering what was behind a greeting like that. But the angel assured her, “Mary, you have nothing to fear. God has a surprise for you: You … Continue reading ADVENT 2 – “Mary, a Holy Prophet”

“Why the Christmas Story Matters”

ADVENT 1 – November 27, 2022     Isaiah 9:2, 6-7(Inclusive Language Version)Fellowship of Faith @ St. John’s MeadowsThe Reverend Deborah Fae Swift As WE are looking forward to Christmas, the HEBREW people were looking forward to the coming of the Messiah. And although Isaiah was really writing about his time almost 750 years before Jesus, we can look at his prophecies and recognize how many of them were fulfilled in Jesus for those of us who consider him to be the Messiah. Listen now to the familiar words of Isaiah 9:2, 6-7. I’m reading from the Inclusive Language Version of scripture. … Continue reading “Why the Christmas Story Matters”

“Motion Precedes Emotion”

November 20, 2022Thanksgiving Sunday1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (GNT) Our Scripture Reading today is very brief – only three verses from Paul’s first Letter to the Thessalonians, chapter 5.  Of all the books in the New Testament, 1 Thessalonians is the oldest. It was Paul’s first letter and was written decades before any of the gospels. In it we have vert practical instructions about how to live life as followers of Jesus. Hear these instructions that Paul has written for US as well as for those earliest followers. Be joyful always … pray at all times … pray without ceasing. Be thankful … Continue reading “Motion Precedes Emotion”

“In the Middle of ‘No Matter What’ “

November 13, 2022Fellowship of Faith @ St. John’s MeadowsThe Reverend Deborah Fae Swift adapted from Luke 21:5-19 (MSG)  The Message version of Scripture speaks in the language of our day, and this reading from the Gospel according to Luke, has a message which seems very timely given the feeling of so many people in the world right now. Listen for God’s message to you from the 21st chapter, verses 5-19. One day people were standing around talking about the Temple, remarking how beautiful it was, the splendor of its stonework and memorial gifts. Jesus said, “All this you’re admiring so … Continue reading “In the Middle of ‘No Matter What’ “

“The Inclusive, Immense, Microscopic God”

November 6, 2022Fellowship of Faith @ St. John’s MeadowsThe Reverend Deborah Fae Swift 1 John 3:1-3 (MSG) We have two readings today and both come from the Message version by Eugene Peterson. The first is 1 John 3:1-3. Listen to the Word for you today. What marvelous love our Creator has extended to us! Just look at it—we’re called children of God! That’s who we really are. But that’s also why the world doesn’t recognize us or take us seriously, because it has no idea who God is or what God is up to. But friends, that’s exactly who we … Continue reading “The Inclusive, Immense, Microscopic God”

“Which of These is Not Like the Others?”

The Rev. Deborah Fae SwiftFellowship of Faith / South Presbyterian ChurchOctober 23, 2022 Scripture Reading Luke 18:9-14 (MSG)    Today’s Scripture comes from the Gospel according to Luke and is one in a series of stories told by Jesus to underscore God’s love for us. Listen as the Spirit speaks to you through the Message version of Luke 18:9-14. He told his next story to some who were complacently pleased with themselves over their moral performance and looked down their noses at the common people: “Two men went up to the Temple to pray, one a Pharisee, the other a tax … Continue reading “Which of These is Not Like the Others?”