Inspiration from the MTS Community

Some inspiration for your week gleaned from members of the MTS community (click a link to jump to any selection)…


What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath—
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
Center down.
And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.
Promise this world your love–
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.
– Lynn Ungar 3/11/20

Spring Came

Spring came to refresh us during a period of isolation.

Spring came, though business as usual came to a halt.

Spring came to remind us our Creator lives.

Spring came to warm our bodies, and lift our spirits.

— Barbara Darnall


Today I will be grateful. For good health, family, a small, but warm house and the promise of Spring.

Today I will give praise. For lessons from watching birds. They sing praises to their creator, and rest in His care.

Today I will help others make difficult decisions. Every challenge brings an opportunity to serve others.

Today I will recognize we are living out a new chapter in the history books. Circumstances come and go, but God is always faithful.

So today I will choose joy.

— Barbara Darnall

Pastor Steve: Ran across a video clip of cellist YoYo Ma I thought you might enjoy:


I enjoy music in unexpected places. Last week, while walking in the neighborhood, I heard and saw a woman playing the accordion, sitting on her front porch. That inspired me to come home and play cello on my front porch.

We live next to Mt Tabor Park, and frequently hear musicians playing there. Each summer, an upright piano shows up sometime at the top of Mt Tabor, sitting there for several weeks, inspiring pianists young and old, beginners and professionals. (Part of a non-profit initiative that places pianos outside all over Portland during the summer.)

Several years ago, I played waltz music with about 20 other musicians in the rose garden at Peninsula Park, while dancers waltzed through the garden (that happens each year, too).  And I played solo cello in the Pittock Mansion while a man proposed to his girlfriend (acoustics in the marble stairwell and open entry hall are fantastic!).

The Oregon Symphony played a free concert shortly after the 9/11 attacks. The concert hall was filled, and the music was broadcast into the neighboring Park Blocks across the street, where many more listened. Barber’s “Adagio for Strings”, one of the most gorgeous and haunting pieces ever written, was one of the places played. Often, music can express what words can not.

We hear of neighbors singing from balconies in Italy and other places, as quarantines continue. On a conference call last week for Compassion Connect, I heard of a Facebook group encouraging people across the country to sing outside at noon on Easter Sunday, “Christ the Lord is Risen Today”.

Thanks for taking me on a trip down memory lane!

Comments on You'll Get Through This: Hope and Help for Your Turbulent Times, by Max Lucado

You'll get through this.
It won't be painless.
It won't be quick.
But God will use this mess for good.
Don't be foolish or naive.
But don't despair either.
With God's help, you'll get through this.

You fear you won't make it through. We all do. We fear that the depression will never lift, the yelling will never stop, the pain will never leave. In the pits, surrounded by steep walls and aching reminders, we wonder: Will this gray sky ever brighten? This load ever lighten?

In You'll Get Through This, pastor and New York Times best-selling author, Max Lucado offers sweet assurance. "Deliverance is to the Bible what jazz music is to Mardi Gras: bold, brassy, and everywhere." Max reminds readers God doesn't promise that getting through trials will be quick or painless. It wasn't for Joseph--tossed in a pit by his brothers, sold into slavery, wrongfully imprisoned, forgotten and dismissed--but his Old Testament story is in the Bible for this reason: to teach us to trust God to trump evil.

With the compassion of a pastor, the heart of a storyteller, and the joy of one who has seen what God can do, Max explores the story of Joseph and the truth of Genesis 50:20. What Satan intends for evil, God redeems for good.

My Current Situation

"My current situation is not my permanent destination."

"Don't be afraid.
I will sit with you in the dark
And wait until the light comes."
— Nadine Tomlinson

Comments on The Day the Revolution Began, by N.T. Wright

There is a hope we find in the phrase ‘the promised land’. With Christian hindsight we now see that the ‘land’ is not a specific area of geography. Rather, the territory of the Kingdom of God—the ultimate promised land—is the heaven-on-earth space which Jesus now inhabits by the Spirit in and through the Church: you and me.

Prof. N.T. Wright’s book, The Day the Revolution Began illuminates how Jesus’ crucifixion brings joy and hope. You will see afresh what the early Christians understood: ‘By 6 p.m. on that dark Friday the world was a different place’.

The author then offers five aspects of the crucifixion on which we might reflect this Lenten season.

Read the full article at