Blog Space of Rev. Adrian J. Pratt B.D, pastor at Mount Hebron Presbyterian Church, Ellicott City, MD

Monday, July 30, 2018



Beginning Monday August 6 Mount Hebron Presbyterian Church hosts their annual Vacation Bible School. The theme this year is “Shipwrecked” and the curriculum looks at the many ways that Jesus rescues us from the troubles of our lives. VBS is always an exciting week, that brings us together as a church and reaches many in our community.

The theme song for this year declares 'Through every storm of life, I know You're by my side, so I'm holding on to Your promises. You are the God who holds my future, all my dreams, so I am holding on. You never let go of me!” These are encouraging words for both participants and leaders. We never know exactly what life is going to bring our way, but we can know that God can be trusted to guide us and lead us.

Last week during our worship service we were thinking about thankfulness. Our sermon “5000 Thankful Folk” can be found here. On August 5, before VBS week starts, we will be gathering around a table laid with bread and wine and thinking about a passage from John 6:27-35. In this passage Jesus reminds the crowds of the miracle their ancestors had witnessed in the wilderness, when God provided for their hunger and manna came down from heaven.

The crowds are anxious for some new miracle to be performed before their eyes, but Jesus is telling them that miracles were all around them, if only they could open their eyes and see them. The greatest miracle of them all, that of Jesus Himself, was right in their midst, but they seemed unable to comprehend that He truly was the answer to their searching.

Last week some of our youth attended the Trinity Youth Conference at Camp Living Waters in Pennsylvania. From speaking with them, I know that every day they were there, they experienced God's blessings through the staff and through interaction with their peers. It's always an amazing week where the presence of God seems to break through in unexpected ways.

My prayer for all our gatherings of worship, and for our VBS program, is that we will be very aware of God's presence in our midst. That this discovery will enable us to be more awake to the every day possibilities that God opens up to us.

For sure we have those times when we feel 'all at sea', or even feel totally shipwrecked. There are times when we feel we can't be of much help, but that we need to be helped ourselves. At precisely such times we are reminded that the mission of God, through the love of Jesus and the presence of good people around us, is to rescue us and help us through.

Wherever the coming days find us I pray we will try and remain open to the possibility of every day miracles. For some music, our VBS theme song written by Jay Stocker and titled, “Never Let Go Of Me.”

The Reverend Adrian J Pratt B.D.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Not Accepted in the Homelands

Last week in worship here at Mount Hebron Presbyterian we were thinking about “Jesus the Healer.” This week we'll be taking a look at Mark 6:1-13, a passage in which Jesus preaches to His home crowd... and does not receive a good reception. The text tells us that He could do no “works of power” among them and that “He was amazed at their unbelief.

There is a saying that “Familiarity breeds contempt.” The oldest known use of the phrase comes in 'The Tale of Melibee' one of 'The Canterbury Tales' written by Geoffrey Chaucer around 1386. Over the years the phrase has had a number of applications.

The most common one is when we don't recognize what an amazing person somebody is, because we happen to see them every day. Such a sentiment can even apply to things we own. Our close acquaintance blinds us to the value of what we have. As Jesus explains in our passage from Mark, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his own country.

When applied to things we own, such as tools, or engaging in dangerous activities, we discount the danger, because we are used to it. We fail to remain safe by forgetting to be respectful of the harm that can come from our familiar tools or our familiar activities.

An example I read about was the farmer who raises corn and shreds it before blowing it up into the top of the silo. The shredder frequently gets jammed. Routinely un-jamming it every day makes the farmer careless, until they, or one of their worker,s gets a hand caught and shredded. Apparently in rural communities this is not a rare occurrence. Over-familiarity can be dangerous.

If a boss is over-familiar with his workers, (or vice versa) they may lose the necessary degree of respect that makes the working environment work! In Nazareth that day, Jesus could not do the work He was called to do among the people. They dismiss His authority by saying, “Is this not the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James....(and all the rest of the family)?

Maybe the most dismissive place of all to place limits on what God can do, is the arena of our own lives. We simply can't believe that God do anything wonderful in the heartlands of our daily activities. We limit the work of God's Spirit because we dismiss the possibility of any real change happening in such a familiar place as our every day experience.

Because of familiarity, Jesus was not accepted in His homelands. He couldn't work wonders because they assumed that nothing good ever happened in their neighborhood. Let us try not to make the same mistake in our own lives. Let us be open to the possibilities that exist, even in the midst of the familiar. Let us not dismiss our lives, our families, our church, or our community as being a place where Jesus can work the miracle of Kingdom building. 

For some music Hawk Nelson sing “He Still Does (Miracles)

Note: Blog is taking a months vacation. Musings will resume in August

The Reverend Adrian J Pratt B.D.