Archive for Pastor’s Weekly Message – Page 2

Love Demands

Lovers of God,

We are two weeks into the New Year. This Monday is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, which has been a Federal Holiday since 1986. It will also be the 11th Annual MLK, Jr. Multifaith Day of Service. It is an opportunity to work side by side with other faith communities to benefit our local communities. What a wonderful way to honor Rev. Dr. King, who wrote these words in his 1967 book Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?:

“And I say to you, I have also decided to stick with love, for I know that love is ultimately the only answer to humankind’s problems. And I’m going to talk about it everywhere I go. I know it isn’t popular to talk about it in some circles today. And I’m not talking about emotional bosh when I talk about love; I’m talking about a strong, demanding love.” 

I am grateful for the loving community of Island United, an island of respite in the chaos of life. I look forward to being with you in person or on Zoom this Sunday at 10 am as we look at Isaiah 49:1-7, the second of Isaiah’s four “Servant Songs”.

Rev. Michael Cronin

P.S. If you have not picked your Epiphany Star Words for 2023, check out the “Get My Star Word” link that Brent lovingly created on our site

We keep seeking

Hopeful Seekers,

Epiphany is upon usthe discovery of the Christ child and the season of discovery that follows. As I sat contemplating what to write to you today, the U2 song I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For came to mind. It stirs up that restlessness, the perennial search for meaning and transcendence. Just when we think we’ve found the answer or “gotten there,” we find that we haven’t, and the search continues.

As they say, it’s not about the terminus or destination, it’s the search and the journey. 

What are you seeking? Who or what is trying to detour or put an end to your journey? How do you feel God guiding you?

I look forward to seeing you in person or on Zoom this Sunday at 10 am as we look not just at the wise ones but the flight into Egypt, Herod and the murder of the innocents, and Joseph’s subsequent dreams that lead to settling Nazareth.

Get out your maps!
Rev. Michael Cronin

God Dwells with Us

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlepeople,

I don’t know about you, but I am still coasting on the Christmas weekend. Our Christmas Eve Lessons & Carols graced with the beautiful voice of Carly Ozard followed by our joyful Christmas Day Hymn and Song Sing made up of congregational requests and stories made my heart sing. The Christmas Pageant section from Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown brought belly laughs. Not to mention butchering “Wonderful Christmas Time” by Paul McCartney, “Someday at Christmas” by Stevie Wonder, and the novelty song “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas”. 

In person and online, we gathered together as through the generations. Indeed, the light has come and shines brightly over 1130 Balclutha! Or rather, continues to break through.

In the opening passage of the Gospel of John 1:1-4—”1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all creation”—John suggests that the cosmic Christ has been with us always. A ray of light that has been refracted through a prism, bringing us all the colorful spectrum of creation of which we are a part. God’s rainbow promise and indwelling.

When we next see each other, it will be New Year’s Day. We each have our own ways of celebrating. Some drink champagne, some eat Hoppin’ John, some go to “Watch Night” service, some write down thoughts to release to the ether. Bring whatever that is with you on Sunday at 10 am, and we will celebrate together.

See you in 2023!
Rev. Michael Cronin

How God Shows Up

Holy Ones,

Christmastime is here. We have come through our Advent time of HOPE, PEACE, JOY, and LOVE. Advent, a time of waiting. Our perpetual state of waiting for the time that is perpetually here.

God has shown up and continues to show up through each of us, if we allow it. Every Sunday, when I look at you, I see it. Last week, our focus was seeing God in each other. We sang, “You Are the Face of God.” I truly believe that you are the face of God.

Christmastime IS here. A celebration of the birth of something new.

This Saturday at 6 pm we celebrate Christmas Eve with a Lessons and Carols service. My dear friend, world-renowned performance artist Carly Ozard, will be our guest musician gracing us with their radiant light and beautiful powerful voice: Invite friends to join us in person or online for a night divine. Christmas Sunday we will sing favorite Christmas hymns and songs suggested by the community, with a personal testimony of why.

Why? Why not? This is how God shows up.

I look forward to seeing you in person or on Zoom at 6 pm Christmas Eve Saturday or at 10 am Christmas Day.

Merry Christmas!
Rev. Michael Cronin

You are the face of God

Beautiful Beings,

What if your mirror told you any time you look into it, “You are the face of God”?  What if you actually believed it? How might you see yourself and others differently? 

Each Advent, we call for Emmanuel – God with Us – to incarnate and take on our existence. Do we actually embrace it for ourselves, let alone others? Over the past few years, given the political discord and hateful rhetoric, I’ll admit that it has been hard for me to do so.

This Sunday, we will review “The Magnificat”, Mary’s song of praise of God and God’s promise to her cousin Elizabeth. Luke gives voice to those who would otherwise be voiceless, more deeply bonding them in relationship. Each of them are the expressions and carrying the expressions of God.

So are you.

I look forward to seeing your gorgeousness in person or on Zoom at 10 am Sunday.

Rev. Michael Cronin

Making Choices

People of Advent,

We are entering our third week of waiting, but we have not been idle! We’ve looked at Jesus’ very interesting genealogy and Mary’s annunciation. Last Saturday, those who were able attended a Christmas dinner graciously hosted by Peg and Dick Divine. We shared delightful stories and met Marcus’ parents for the first time, drawing our circle wider. 

On Saturday and Sunday, Anna and Ed performed with the Peninsula Community Chorus in a beautiful concert of holiday music. Jan was in the box office, and Darrell was an usher. Lee, Nancy, and I attended the Sunday afternoon performance and had a wonderful time. Throughout the concert we had opportunities to sing along some popular Christmas hymns and tunes. We ended with a rousing all-parts rendition of the Hallelujah chorus from Handel’s “Messiah”. However, I’m not sure the people in front of me were feeling the hallelujah with my caterwauling.

This Sunday, we wrap up the special Holiday Food Drive for LifeMoves Villla Terrace/First Step for Families. If you are able, bring a shelf-stable packaged food item to add to our overflowing collection. Also, don’t forget to send in your favorite Christmas hymn or song, along with a statement about why it speaks to you, for the Christmas Day sing along during our Christmas Sunday service (see below for details).

I look forward to seeing you at 10 am, in person or on Zoom, on Sunday as we look at Joseph’s angelic visitation dream that led him to make a different choice.

Soon and very soon,
Rev. Michael Cronin

Fear Not

Courageous Ones,

Fear is a very real thing. We listen to the radio, turn on the TV, and visit a website or app. We feel that certain fears are unique to our time and that previous generations did not know fear like we do. However, fear has always been a force in human existence. It is hard not to fall prey to the paralyzation or inaction caused by fear.

In the Annunciation to Mary, the angel appeared and said to a young confused woman, “Do not be afraid.” Do not be afraid.

Easier said than done. 

The world will tell us to “cheer up, get over it!” in the midst of our griefs or fears. God says, “I am with you in it. I am with you in your fear. You are not alone.”

We are called to say “yes, God, yes!” in our fear. “Yes, God, yes! I feel you with me. You are with me in my fear. You help me to face my fear.”

Bottom line: You are never alone. 

Just as God is with you, I pray that you feel the presence of Island United with you. I look forward to seeing you on Sunday at 10 am or on Zoom as we celebrate God and community.

Be strong,
Rev. Michael Cronin

Gobble Gobble

Happy Thanksgiving, Pilgrims on the Journey!

I want to share my gratitude for each of you and the ways you show up. I feel blessed by you and our first year together. And, talking turkey, we have a lot of work to do and a bright future ahead.

This Sunday, we begin the Season of Advent. The theme for this year is “Generation to Generation” – a chronological storyline of the events leading up to and following Christ’s birth. We will hone in on all the humans involved in the story.

From the creators of the Advent series: “Despite the challenges and vulnerability she faced, Mary could glimpse the scale and scope of the good news she was part of bringing forth. This good news transcends time and space – it was and is bigger than just her. Christ is coming for collective liberation: God’s redemption is at work for years to come. Therefore, the promise is meant to be lived out and passed on from generation to generation.

We are invited to look at the characters in our scriptures and wonder: What did each character pass on or contribute? How did each character participate in God’s liberation and love? Which characters try to thwart God’s justice, and what can we learn from them? What is our role now? What is our generation’s task? What will we carry forth, and what should we leave behind?”

Enjoy your Thanksgiving, however you celebrate. I look forward to seeing you Sunday at 10 am at 1130 Balclutha or on Zoom. Invite a friend to share in the Advent journey!

Rev. Michael Cronin

Giving Thanks

Grateful Friends,

We have come through the end of another church year, and this Sunday is celebrated  as “The Reign of Christ the King”. We celebrate with thanksgiving and are called to a loyalty that transcends every earthly claim on the human heart, moving from ordinary time into a new year that begins with Advent, waiting. Waiting for Emmanuel, “God with Us”.

This Sunday also recognizes the Annual Trans Day of Remembrance. Not unlike Jesus, our transgender siblings are not understood in the world as we know it and are subjected to modern day crucifixions. As we remember the beautiful beings taken from us by violence, we also celebrate their lives, give thanks for their existence, and commit to solidarity and a love for all of God’s children. 

I give thanks for each of you.
I look forward to seeing you on Sunday at 10 am, in person or on Zoom.

Rev. Michael Cronin


Greetings “We the People”,

I pray that this finds you well and that your week has been blessed. 

Well, here we are at the end of another angst-ridden election cycle.  For months now, we’ve been buried in piles of political fliers and commentary. Red Tide, Blue Tide, Purple Tide, High Tide, Low Tide. And before the current cycle is even complete, the pundits are looking at the 2024 cycle and the ramifications of this cycle. The world is watching the follies of the United States and its deeply divided politics, while considering the future. Even with the disappointments, there is hope.

This week’s Scripture from the Gospel of Luke is apocryphal. False prophets, nation against nation, insurrections, earthquakes, famines, persecution, imprisonment – so much to look forward to. But we are told not a hair on our head will perish, and we will gain our souls. Strength and hope.

We’ve come through trials and tribulation. There will be more, and we will come through again. We are invested, and the world is invested, in good outcomes toward the more perfect union. It is an ongoing process. Our veterans have fought for it.

On Friday, Veterans Day, I invite you to take a moment during your day to hold our veterans in a moment of prayer. No matter where you stand on military issues, they have served our country and are, often, not adequately compensated for their sacrifice. There are still many among us who were dishonorably discharged for being authentically themselves. They are, as are we all, perfectly imperfect – part of the tides, the ebbs and flows, of our human existence.

And God will be with us through it all.

I look forward to seeing you Sunday at 10 am in person or on Zoom.

Rev. Michael Cronin