So Far, So Good
David Roth

Inspired by lyrics by David Roth:

“I’m learning how to find my way – so far, so good.”

“I count my blessings every day  – so far, so good.”

“One more moment, one more minute, I take the good and get right in it – so far, so good.”

“I’ve got a place to lay my head – so far, so good.

To everyone whose not so blessed, I say a prayer and send my best, and now I lay me down to rest – so far, so good!”


Responsive Reading for Sunday, January 21

“The LORD appeared to Abram and said, ‘To your descendants I will give this land.’ So Abram built an altar there to the LORD who had appeared to him.  From there he moved on . . . . Then Abram journeyed on by stages . . .” (Genesis 12:7-9).

I’m learning how to find my way – so far, so good.  

“…Every promise the LORD, your God, made to you has been fulfilled for you . . . so far . . .” (Joshua 23:16).

I count my blessings every day  – so far, so good.

“Merciful and gracious is the LORD, slow to anger, abounding in kindness . . . . As far as the east is from the west, so far have our sins been removed from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on the faithful” (Psalm 103:8-13).  

One more moment, one more minute, I take the good and get right in it – so far, so good.

“Thus says the LORD:  Stand beside the earliest roads, ask the pathways of old which is the way to good, and walk it; thus you will find rest for your souls” (Jeremiah 6:16).

I’ve got a place to lay my head – so far, so good.
To everyone whose not so blessed, I say a prayer and send my best,
and now I lay me down to rest – so far, so good!

I AM
Leddy Hammock

From lyrics by Eddie Watkins, Jr.:

We’re not alone and there’s nothing we have to do on our own, because we are the place where God lives, moves and breathes and has Its being.

We are the place where God shows up.

I am the place, you are the place, we are the place where God shows up.


Responsive Reading for Sunday, January 14

“Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst’” (John 6:35).

I’m not alone and there’s nothing
I have to do on my own, because
I am the place where God lives,
moves and breathes and has Its being,  
I am the place where God shows up.

“Jesus spoke to them again, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life’” (John 8:12).

You’re not alone and there’s nothing
you have to do on your own, because
you are the place where God lives,
moves and breathes and has Its being,  
You are the place where God shows up.

“I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father” (John 10:14-15),;

We’re not  alone and there’s nothing
we have to do on our own, because
we are the place where God lives,
moves and breathes and has Its being,  
We are the place where God shows up.

“Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me.   I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing” (John 15:4-5).

I am the place where God shows up.
You are the place where God shows up.
We are the place where God shows up.
I am the place, you are the place,
we are the place where God shows up.

Happy New You!
Leddy Hammock

Inspired by lyrics to “If You Want To Be Happy” (Words and music by Sloan Wainwright, Sue Riley, Jana Stanfield):

“Don’t believe all that you think –  if you want to be happy.”

“If you want to be happy, be careful what you say.
Resist the urge to criticize when things don't go your way.

You can't make yourself feel better putting other people down.
Remember words can hurt you when they come back around.”

“Focus on the things you have, not what you haven't got – if you want to be happy.”
“Give up control.”  “Trust the Mystery – if you want to be happy.”


Responsive Reading for Sunday, January 7

“ . . . The LORD brought us out . . . .  from there to lead us into the land he promised ….and to give it to us . . . that we may always have as prosperous and happy a life as we have today” (and want to have in the new year!) (Deut. 6:24-5).

Keep your mind off of unhappy thoughts.
Don’t believe all that you think – if you want to be happy.

“The LORD withholds no good thing from those who walk without reproach.  O LORD of hosts, happy are those who trust in you!” (Psalm 84:12-13).  

If you want to be happy, be careful what you say.
Resist the urge to criticize when things don't go your way.
You can't make yourself feel better putting other people down.
Remember words can hurt you when they come back around.

“How good the LORD is; happy are those who take refuge in him . . . . Those who seek the LORD lack no good thing” (Psalm 34:9).
 
Focus on the things you have, not what you haven't got – if you want to be happy.

"So now, O children, listen to me; instruction and wisdom do not reject!  Happy the [person] who obeys me, and happy those who keep my ways” (Proverbs 8:32-4).

Give up control and trust the Mystery, children – if you want to be happy.

Auld Lang Syne

Inspired by lyrics to Memory Makers, by Sue Riley.

“After the dazzle of Christmas, the holiday frazzle is past.  Peace descends in the silent night, at last.”

We give thanks for the memory makers: the wise ones who shared with us the unforgettable moments that we treasure still.

We give thanks for the memory makers: the dear ones of Christmases past who kept alive their faith in the shining potential within us and who never lost faith in us.

We give thanks for the memory makers: the precious ones who loved us through the passage of time and kept alive for us the promises of a bright new year and sweet Christmases yet to be.

Thank You, God, and may we all be Memory Makers.


Resposive Reading for Sunday, December 31

The shepherds . . . went in haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger.  When they saw this, they made known the message that had been told them about this child.  All who heard it were amazed by what had been told them by the shepherds. And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.  Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them” (Lk. 2:19).

After the dazzle of Christmas, the holiday frazzle is past.  Peace descends in the silent night, at last.

“Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon.  This man was righteous and devout, awaiting the consolation of Israel, and the holy Spirit was upon him . . . .  He came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus . . . he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying: ‘Now Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in sight of all the peoples, a light for revelation . . . and glory” (Lk. 2:25-32).

We give thanks for the memory makers: the wise ones who shared with us the unforgettable moments that we treasure still.

Joseph and Mary brought baby Jesus to the Temple.  They “were amazed at what was said about him: and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, ‘Behold, this child is destined . . . to be a sign . . . so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed” (Lk. 2:33-5).

We give thanks for the memory makers: the dear ones of Christmases past who kept alive their faith in the shining potential within us and who never lost faith in us.   

“There was also a prophetess, Anna . . . .  Advanced in years . . . .   She never left the temple, but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer. And coming forward at that very time, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child . . . .  The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him”  (Luke 2:36-40).  

We give thanks for the memory makers: the precious ones who loved us through the passage of time and kept alive for us the promises of a bright new year and sweet Christmases yet to be.   Thank You, God, and may we all be Memory Makers.

The Night You Were Born

Inspired by words by Nancy Tillman:

On the night or day that each of us was born, the moon smiled with such wonder that the stars peeked in to see each of us, and the night wind whispered, “Life will never be the same.” Because there had never been anyone like any of us, ever in the world.

So enchanted with every child was the wind and the rain, that they whispered the sound of each baby’s name.  The sound of each name is a magical one.

Now, we’ll whisper, very softly, for every baby being born, all over the world: “You are the light of the world.”

So whenever we doubt just how special we are – and we wonder who loves us, how much and how far, listen for the sound of the voice of the one known as the Light of the World whispering our names, and know that we are each unique and every one dearly loved.

This is true of every newborn child: “Never before in story or rhyme (not even once upon a time) has the world ever known a YOU, my friend,
and it never will, not ever again.

Heaven blew every trumpet and played every horn on the wonderful, marvelous night you were born” and forevermore, there is joy in our hearts.


Responsive Reading for Sunday, December 24

Responses from Nancy Tilllman’s book, On the Night You Were Born (with permission).

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things came to be through him.  And without him nothing came to be. What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:1-5).

On the night or day that each of us was born, the moon smiled with such wonder that the stars peeked in to see each of us, and the night wind whispered, “Life will never be the same.”  Because there had never been anyone like any of us, ever in the world.

“The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world”  (John 1:9).  

So enchanted with every child was the wind and the rain, that they whispered the sound of each baby’s name.  The sound of each name is a magical one.  Now, we’ll whisper, very softly, for every baby being born, all over the world: “You are the light of the world.”

“And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).

So whenever we doubt just how special we are – and we wonder who loves us, how much and how far, listen for the sound of the voice of the one known as the Light of the World whispering our names, and know that we are each unique and every one dearly loved.

Jesus said:  “I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).  “You are the light of the world . . . . your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father” (Matthew 5:14-16).    

This is true of every newborn child: “Never before in story or rhyme (not even once upon a time) has the world ever known a YOU, my friend, and it never will, not ever again.  Heaven blew every trumpet and played every horn on the wonderful, marvelous night you were born” and forevermore, there is joy in our hearts.

Stable Christmas
Leddy Hammock

Stables, by Peter Mayer

In Bethlehem a manger waits, long ago and so today,
Where hatred-weary people pray Love will come and lay there.
And so do countless stables stand in hearts as harsh as desert lands,
Rough shelters in the wind and sand, so Love will come and stay there –.

Love that opens fists of hate, heaps of gold on beggars’ plates,
Love that shows a kindly face to enemies and strangers.
And walls of stables tremble so when winds of fear and judgment blow.
For a stable hopes in Love alone and knows that Love’s the answer.

Oh, Love, the prophets’ only word, the only lesson left to learn,
The only end of heaven’s work, and the only road that goes there —
Love that sees with mercy’s eyes, holds its arms out open wide,
Threads its loom with separate lives and weaves them all together.

So, may the lamps of stables glow brightly lit that light may go
for miles in the darkness, so Love will find its way there.


Responsive Reading for Sunday, December 17

“She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn” (Luke 2:7).
 
Make of my heart a manger, Lord, so Love can come and lay there.

“Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields and keeping the night watch over their flock. The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were struck with great fear. The angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid’” (Luke 2:8-10).

Make of my heart a shelter, Lord, so Love will come and stay there.

“The angel said to them . . .’This will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger’” (Luke 2:12).

Make of my heart a manger, Lord, for I know that Love’s the answer.

“And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: ‘Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.’ So they went in haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger . . . . Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God” (Luke 2:16-20).

Make of my heart a manger, Lord, shining for miles in the darkness, so Love will find its way there.

Search the Sky
Leddy Hammock

Inspired by lyrics to “Search the Sky,” by Sloan Wainwright:

“Search the sky for that star, star of light, star of love – bright enough to guide believers from afar, seeking their rumored newborn King.

And when we wish upon it, we wish for our only gift, peace around our troubled world, peace within ourselves.

Search the face of the child, shining with the spirit of Christmases in your heart, and all that joy shall easily be restored.

We’ve traveled such a long way – we’ve forgotten what for.  Then we gaze upon the face of that child and hope for the only gift:  peace around our troubled world, peace within ourselves.”

Search the sky – and your heart – for that star of light, star of love.


Responsive Reading for Sunday, December 10

“When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is the newborn king of the Jews?  We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage’” (Matthew 2:1-2).

“Search the sky for that star, star of light, star of love – bright enough to guide believers from afar, seeking their rumored newborn King.”

“When King Herod heard this, he was greatly troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born.  They said to him, ‘In Bethlehem . . . shall come a ruler, who is to shepherd my people Israel’” (Matthew 2:3-4).

“And when we wish upon it, we wish for our only gift, peace around our troubled world, peace within ourselves.”

“Then Herod called the magi secretly and ascertained from them the time of the star’s appearance.  He sent them to Bethlehem and said, ‘Go and search diligently for the child.  When you have found him, bring me word, that I too may go and do him homage.  After their audience with the king they set out.  And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was” (Matthew 2:7-9).

“Search the face of the child, shining with the spirit of Christmases in your heart, and all that joy shall easily be restored.”

“They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother.  They prostrated themselves and did him homage.  Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their country by another way” (Matthew 2:10-12).

We’ve traveled such a long way . . . . When we gaze upon the face of that child, we hope for the only gift:  “peace around our troubled world, peace within ourselves . . . shining with the spirit of Christmases in our heart, peace around our troubled world, peace within ourselves . . . star of light, star of love.”

The BVM (The Beautiful, Vibrant Moment)
Leddy Hammock

Nothing is impossible.  It is never too late.

Nothing is too much for God, no challenge too great.

Hold onto your faith.  The Truth will be revealed.

Nothing is incurable.  All things can be healed.


Responsive Reading for Sunday, December 3

“The angel [Gabriel] said . . . Do not be afraid, Zechariah, because your prayer has been heard.  Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall name him John.  And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth . . .   He will be filled with the holy Spirit . . .  Then Zechariah said to the angel, ‘How shall I know this?  For I am an old man and my wife is advanced in years” (Luke 1:13-18).

Nothing is impossible.  It is never too late.

“ . . . The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary.  And coming to her, he said, ‘Hail, favored one!  The Lord is with you.  But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort or greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.  Behold, you will . . . bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus.  He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High . . . and of his kingdom there will be no end” (Luke 1:26-33).

Nothing is too much for God, no challenge too great.

“But Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be . . . .  And the angel said to her in reply, ‘The holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.  Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the son of God}.

Hold onto your faith.  The Truth will be revealed.

“And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, shall also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God.  Mary said, ‘Behold, I am the handmaid of the LORD.  May it be done to me according to your word . . . .   My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord’” (Luke 1:36-46).

Nothing is incurable.  All things can be healed.

Peace after the Feast
Leddy Hammock

Based on lyrics by Eddiw Watkins, Jr., to “All Is Well”

Today I declare freedom from yesterday, mistakes of the past.

Today all things are made brand new.  And it feels so good to know that all is well and unfolding as it should.

I can change my reality by changing my mind.

Perfect peace, joy and happiness is yours and it’s mine.

I am loved and so are you, and it feels so good to know that all is well, and unfolding as it should.

I am led by the Spirit, I am fed by love divine.  I am one with all that is.  My soul is free from time.

I am blessed and so are you, and it feels so good to know that all is well, and unfolding as it should.  All is well and all is well and Divine Spirit is directing me right now.

All is well, all is well, all is well and unfolding as it should.


Responsive Reading for Sunday, November 26

Isaac, son of Abraham, was surprised when the men of Gerar (rest stop) who had been quarreling over water rights at the wells of Esek and Sitnah (both mean “strife”) came to him.  He said, “Why have you come to me, seeing that you have driven me away from you?’  They said, ‘We see plainly that the LORD has been with you; so we said, 'Let there now be an oath between us, even between you and us, and let us make a covenant with you, that you will do us no harm, just as we have not touched you and have done to you nothing but good and have sent you away in peace. You are now the blessed of the LORD.' Then he made them a feast, and they ate and drank.   Early the next morning they exchanged oaths [promises to live in peace with one another].  Then Isaac bade them farewell, and they departed from him in peace.  That same day Isaac’s servants came and brought him news about the well they and been digging; they told min,’We have reached water!’  They called it Shibah” [meaning rest, repose, stability)  (Gen. 26:27-33).

Today I declare freedom from yesterday, mistakes of the past.  Today all things are made brand new.  And it feels so good to know that all is well and unfolding as it should.

“You shall celebrate the feast [of Tabernacles]. . . when you have gathered in the produce from your threshing floor . . . .  You shall make merry at your feast. . . since the LORD, your God, has blessed you …in all you undertakings. . . .  No one shall appear before the Lord empty-handed, but each of you with as much as he can give, in proportion to the blessings which the LORD, your God, has bestowed on you” (Deut.16:13-17); “The Jewish Feast of Tabernacles was near.  So [Jesus’] brothers said to him, . . . manifest yourself to the world . . . .  When the feast was already half over, Jesus went up to the temple area and began to teach” (Jn.7:2-14).  

I can change my reality by changing my mind.  Perfect peace, joy and happiness is yours and it’s mine.  I am loved and so are you, and it feels so good to know that all is well, and unfolding as it should.
 
When Jesus fed the multitudes, some five thousand men, plus women and children, “ate and were satisfied.  And they picked up twelve wicker baskets full of fragments and what was left of the fish.  Those who ate [of the loaves] were five thousand men” (Mk. 6:42-4).

I am led by the Spirit, I am fed by love divine.  I am one with all that is.  My soul is free from time.  I am blessed and so are you, and it feels so good to know that all is well, and unfolding as it should.

“On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread . . . .  When it was evening, he reclined at table with the Twelve . . . .  While they were eating, Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and giving it to his disciples . . . , gave thanks, and gave it to them . . . for the forgiveness of sins. . . .  Then, after singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives” (Mt. 26: 17-30).   

All is well and all is well and Divine Spirit is directing me right now.  All is well, all is well, all is well and unfolding as it should.

Set the Table
Leddy Hammock

Based on lyrics to “Keep the Table Set” by David Roth and Tom Ryan:

God has prepared a feast for me and has set the table for me to enjoy every good thing.

My mind set is to expect the best.  In all my life, I give thanks in advance, expecting good and only good.

I shine all my dishes with my dreams and my wishes.  I keep the table set.

I believe that God’s will for all people is good and only good.

There is always room for more people at our table.  We can always set an extra plate.

Although we may say grace in many ways, we all stay grateful.  We bring hope and peace to the table.

God is our instant, constant, abundant Source, and something wonderful is always coming our way.

We are ready for God’s banquet: we keep the table set.


Responsive Reading for Sunday, November 19

“God rained manna upon them for food.  All ate a meal fit for heroes; food he sent in abundance . . . .  They ate and were well filled; he gave them what they had craved” (Psalm 78:24-9).  

God has prepared a feast for me and has set the table for me to enjoy every good thing.  My mind set is to expect the best.

“Can God spread a table in the desert? . . . Can he also provide bread, give meat to his people?” (Psalm 78: 19-20)

In all my life, I give thanks in advance, expecting good and only good. I shine all my dishes with my dreams and my wishes.  I keep the table set.   

“When he . . . saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved . . . .  By now his disciples approached him and said ‘This is already late and his disciples approached him and said, ‘This is a deserted place and it is already very late.’ . . .  He said to them in reply, ‘Give them some food yourselves.’  But they said to him, ‘Are we to buy two hundred days’ worth of food and give it to them to eat?’  He asked them, ‘How many loaves do you have?  Go and see.’  And when they had found out they said ‘Five loaves and two fish.  So he gave them orders to have them sit down in groups on the green grass.  The people took their places in rows by hundreds and by fifties.  Then, taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to [his] disciples to set before the people; he also divided the two fish among them all.  They all ate and were satisfied . . . .  Those who ate . . . were five thousand men” (Mark 6:34-44).   

I believe that God’s will for all people is good and only good.  There is always room for more people at our table.  Although we may say grace in many ways, we stay grateful.  

“The LORD is my shepherd; there is nothing I lack . . . you restore my strength . . . .  You set a table before me as my enemies watch; You anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows.  Only goodness and love will pursue me all the days of my life” (Psalm 23:5).

We bring hope and peace to the table.  God is our instant, constant, abundant Source, and something wonderful is always coming our way.  We are ready for God’s banquet: we keep the table set.

Unity Church of Clearwater
2465 Nursery Rd Clearwater, FL 33764
(727) 531-0992