Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Taking a Step on a Journey

Member in Discernment Begins
27 Sep 2016
Tony E Dillon-Hansen

May the word my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable to thy sight our Rock and Our Redeemer.

I first have to thank the Discernment Committee, my husband (Bret-Wayne), the Deacons, the Chancel Choir, Stephen Ministers, the Church Council, and Plymouth Congregation as a whole for helping me to start, to reflect, and to contemplate this journey.  There is so much you have given to me already that it pales in comparison to what I can give back.

I believe this recognition and recommendation to be a powerful and solemn reminder of the privilege of being a representative (a minister) of the good people in our world.  

I strive to be the best that I can be and to be always worthy of this recognition that the people of Plymouth bestow upon me. 

When I do my work, and perhaps when the day comes that I am called to ordination, I will remember and keep your trust in me and my work because Plymouth has become a home. 

I am humbled to be your servant always. 

I remember being called in my youth—but not finding the right reasons to answer that. I had to learn and walk through a few wildernesses (and I imagine more to come.)  I have only a vague idea of where this is going and so, I am putting faith and trust into God’s call.

I do know, I have had to endure a lot of events in life. With the help of training, education, mindfulness and God, this journey has already given more peace and patience to me.  

I know that many more challenges await me as I progress in this process and beyond, AND 
I know that I have found a home in the UCC and Plymouth. 

I first met with cynicism the words from this Church about being welcoming as that is how I came to think of organized religion. Plymouth, however, answered some of my questions and caused even more. 

I enjoy the phrase from our Church that says to ”grow” in love. That word “grow” is important to because it recognizes that change is a universal constant. That love will grow over time if, like a gardener, you tend to the work of planting i.e. love.

My theology has transformed considerably from my youth into what I understand today and will continue to evolve.  I went from rigid doctrine-defined embedded theology to progressive and deliberative theology. While I have reverence for many traditions, I went from confusing doctrines to a cohesive understanding about the complex-but-simple Way, enlightenment, inclusion, compassion, the Buddha, God, Church and Jesus. 

I have much to learn, and I am more willing to walk and to learn with you more than ever before. 

I don’t know why bad things happen to good people, but they happen. As I said in a recent course discussion (some wonderful people there with thought provoking ideas), we have to be prepared for the hour as in the parable of virgins from Matthew 25. If we are to leave a lasting and good legacy, then we have to be prepared to showcase our good life when we are no more. I believe that this is how I will “showcase" my good life. 

If I may suggest, I might understand why Pope Francis would use the bus instead of chauffeur transportation as a bishop and priest. I ride the bus to work (one to help my finances) but because, 2, I get to be reminded to grow with all parts of God’s kingdom that Jesus tells us to do (John 4: 7-15). 

Do what Jesus did and go to the watering hole so you can grow with the community. My what mass transit systems can show us a lot about the community we are living and about the faith we have. 

Some may call me a master in martial arts, but more importantly, I am ALWAYS a student. Like being a martial arts instructor, I know that whatever I bring to the community and the Church, the Church and the community will teach me more. I know I will evolve, and I hope to help Plymouth to continue to be a beacon of hope, trust and faith. 

My brief ministry experience, so far, has taught me about the peace and honor that comes with this work and I am seeing opportunities to “grow” this experience..  

I pray that I, my family and my work continue to be worthy of your recommendations here and to be a force for positive energy and faith in our community. 

Again, I am humbled and thankful to be God's Servant and Your Servant.

Lao Tzu is quoted as saying “a journey of thousand miles begins with a single step.”

Thanks Be To God.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Pastoral Prayer 11 Sep 2016

Pastoral Prayer 11 Sep 2016

God Our Redeemer, Hear Us O Lord!
We may hide our shames and troubles from you,
But you give us a chance to redeem, to have hope and to take new steps.
We may not fully appreciate what you give to us (forgive us),
But you still allow us to learn and to grow.
On this September 11th and anniversary of horrible tragedy,
Let us be mindful of your good works and your good love.
Let us walk in service to your Truth and guidance.
Comfort those who were hurt and who lost people to the violent acts.
Bless the First Responders that perished and those that serve today to make Your world a bit safer.
Guide Us in our healing and learning from these senseless acts.
Forgive those who bring such evil upon the world—then proclaim Your will be done.
Forgive us for anger, vengefulness and our own unfaithful deeds.
Let us instead realize and share your love and forgiveness—
So that there is more peace and less anger in our world.
Let Us not hide from you but guide us to seek you.

From 1st Timothy,

1 Timothy 1:12-17 (NRSV) - Gratitude for Mercy

12 I am grateful to Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because he judged me faithful and appointed me to his service, 13 even though I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and a man of violence. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, 14 and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the foremost. 16 But for that very reason I received mercy, so that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display the utmost patience, making me an example to those who would come to believe in him for eternal life. 17 To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.