Reflections of a poet, preacher, and contemplative activist

Author Archive: mark lloyd richardson

Love Took My Hand

Twelve years ago, on the Second Sunday in Lent, at the church I was serving in Los Osos, California, I preached a sermon titled, “Love Took My Hand.” The sermon was based on the very familiar text of John 3:16, which reads, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so …

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A Lesson in Letting Go

Some days, even after thirty-some years of active parish ministry, I simply don’t feel that well suited to being a pastor. A disappointment tips the scale, and I am gripped by a growing sense of discouragement. A loss is felt – either because people move away, because of a death, or simply as a result …

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When the Church discriminates, who holds it accountable?

I’ve returned to The Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church lately in an effort to better understand what it means to be in covenant with my ordained colleagues, and indeed with all baptized members of the Church. While I think I have a reasonably good understanding of the meaning of covenant, I am …

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A Prayer for the New Year

A Prayer for the New Year “Surely goodness and kindness shall follow me all the days of my life” ~ Ps. 23:6a Step bravely into a new year. Release the hurts others have done to you. Break free of those who consistently cause you harm. Unburden yourself of grievances you have been unable to forgive. …

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A Dog’s Last Will & Testament

A year ago, just a few days before Christmas, my wife Dallis and I walked into a dog rescue organization “just to look.” We walked through the kennels, and in one we saw four small dogs. Three of them were jumping and barking as you might expect. The fourth one sat there quietly in the …

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If this World were my Classroom

Originally posted on A Leaf in Springtime:
If this World were my classroom I would greet each day as a lesson I would treat each person as a teacher And accept each moment as an opportunity to learn. If this World were my classroom I would sit very, very still And pay close attention So…

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Prayer for the World’s Children

God who lifts up the lowly and humbles the lofty, God who bends down to be with us in our humanity, we pray in the name of the Child of Bethlehem for all of the children of this vast and beautiful world. We pray for immigrant children, street children, neglected and abused children, at-risk children, …

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Thanksgiving Eve Prayer

I will be sharing this Opening Prayer I wrote for our 13th Annual Ecumenical Thanksgiving Eve Service in Santa Maria, California this evening. We are the host church for this annual event involving about ten congregations. If you wish to adapt this prayer for your own use in worship, please feel welcome to do so. …

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Small Town Boy

Small Town Boy Life in a small town in the Pacific Northwest was grand for a boy, playing outdoor games with neighbor children, climbing fir trees, riding a blue Schwinn bike with pedals I could barely reach, throwing balls over the pitched roof of the corner house as friends waited on the other side, hiding …

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Building an Altar for All

I am a United Methodist by choice, since I did not grow up a Methodist. I am a Minister of the Gospel by calling, and that calling originates in my relationship with God. It is a calling I received before choosing the Wesleyan path of discipleship for my own. It is a calling to serve …

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