All posts by marcia

Upcoming Worship Dec. 10, 2017

For this Sunday the Prophet Isaiah reading is from chapter 40, verses 1-11 (read them here). Listen with your heart for the comfort, listen to the call to hear that voice in the wilderness, listen to the assurance that “he will feed his flock like a shepherd.”

Those familiar with Handel’s Messiah know these verses very well as a good portion of his epic oratorio comes from the promises revealed to Israel (and us!) through Isaiah and the good news (Gospel) of their fulfillment. Continue reading Upcoming Worship Dec. 10, 2017

Sermon Dec. 3, 2017

“I would like a wake-up call, please”
Rev. Jeffrey Long-Middleton
Bradford Congregational Church-UCC

Mark 13: 24-37
December 3, 2017

And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.Mark 13:37

We have covered this, right? On November 12th I preached a sermon entitled “Ready.” I talked about the Second Coming and how it is not central to my faith. Indeed, I own life insurance. So how much do I really believe Jesus is coming again before I die?

So why are we picking up on this theme yet again? Three reasons. First, this is the gospel lesson for this Sunday. It was selected for us by the folks who put together The Common Lectionary. So I didn’t select it. It was selected for me. Second, it’s the first Sunday in Advent – a time of expectation and waiting for the fulfillment of God’s purpose. This scripture tells us of a promise God made and a promise God will keep. To ignore the promise is to ignore God’s purpose. Third, because it is a promise to be kept, it provides us directions as to how to live into the future. This, my friends, is our wake-up call. Continue reading Sermon Dec. 3, 2017

Upcoming Worship Dec 3, 2017

hopeWhen we come together this 1st Sunday of Advent and sing “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” we will be participating in a sacred Advent ritual more than a thousand years old. It takes us back to monastic life in the 8th- or 9th-century. For the week leading up to Christmas, they would sing a sequence of Latin “O antiphons” (an antiphon is a short chant like a refrain based on scripture). The purpose of these O antiphons was to concentrate the mind on the coming Christmas with a sequence of scriptures. Each day was a different O antiphon, climaxing with this one. Click here for a lovely rendition of the Latin original.

Yet there’s more to this particular antiphon than just its advanced age. Continue reading Upcoming Worship Dec 3, 2017

Sermon Nov. 26, 2017

“Sheep or Goat?”
Rev. Jeffrey Long-Middleton
Bradford Congregational Church-UCC

Matthew 25:31-46
November 26, 2017

“All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.”   Matthew 25: 32

There is nothing new to say today. We have all heard these words before. Right? Indeed, that may be a problem. It may be difficult to hear them anew. They have become so familiar that we read them without hearing them. So let me take a moment to put these closing words of the 25th chapter of Matthew in their broader context. Continue reading Sermon Nov. 26, 2017

Upcoming Worship Nov. 26, 2017

In To Kill a Mocking Bird, Harper Lee gives us something to ponder: 

Sometimes the Bible in the hand of one man is worse than a whiskey bottle in the hand of (another)… There are just some kind of men who – who’re so busy worrying about the next world they’ve never learned to live in this one, and you can look down the street and see the results.” 

Pastor Jeff’s sermon this Sunday, based on Matthew 25: 31-46 is titled “Sheep or Goat?” referencing the phrase, “… he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.”

But, what is the back story of this being called Christ the King Sunday in the liturgical calendar? Continue reading Upcoming Worship Nov. 26, 2017

Sermon, Thanksgiving Sunday Nov 19, 2017

“Fairness in the Kingdom of God”
Rev. Jeffrey Long-Middleton
Bradford Congregational Church-UCC

Matthew 25:14-30
November 19, 2017

For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away.”   Matthew 25: 29

There’s a great deal in the Bible that isn’t fair. We might have some questions for God. What do you do with this? In Exodus 34:7 God is describing God’s character to Moses and says: keeping steadfast love for the thousandth generation, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin…” Sounds very loving, caring and kind, but God isn’t done. “…yet by no means clearing the guilty, but visiting the iniquity of the parents upon the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.” Poor kids. They had nothing to do with the sin they are being punished for. Some of them weren’t even born when the sin was committed! Is that fair? No. Is it true? Yes. Continue reading Sermon, Thanksgiving Sunday Nov 19, 2017

Upcoming Worship Nov. 19 Thanksgiving Sunday

-thanksgiving-scriptures-thanksgiving-signsPastor Jeff says the sermon for Thanksgiving Sunday will be developed from the Matthew 25:14-30 and the key focus will be that Thankfulness should not be limited to what we have received, but should include what we are called to do.  

The service will also be a musical offering of thanks and thanksgiving, ranging from the delightful Shaker “Simple Gifts,” to the Netherlands’ folk tune we know as “We Gather Together,” to J. S. Bach’s intricate interweave of “We All Believe in One God.” Continue reading Upcoming Worship Nov. 19 Thanksgiving Sunday

Dec 9 Giving Tree benefit holiday fair

giving fair

December 9, 2017

10:00am-3:00pm

Bradford Congregational Church vestry

Come support the Bradford Public Library and other local non-profits at a holiday fair like no other.   Local nonprofits will sell products and services and accept donations.  Purchase a donation gift card in a loved one’s name to give as a non-traditional gift. Find out about our Reverse Advent Calendar challenge and have a wonderful lunch made for you by the Bradford Conservation Commission.

Sermon, Nov. 12, 2017

“Ready?”
Rev. Jeffrey Long-Middleton
Bradford Congregational Church-UCC

Matthew 25:1-13
November 12, 2017

Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”
— Matthew 25: 13

I don’t expect Jesus anytime soon. I live my life under the assumption that I will be dead before Christ comes again. I’m not saying that’s how we ought to live. I am telling you that is how I live. You see, I have life insurance. It’s meant to help my family pay the bills when I am gone. Well, who needs life insurance if the return of Jesus is immanent? So this whole thing about having enough oil seems rather arcane. What about you? Any life insurance? Continue reading Sermon, Nov. 12, 2017