Posadas and Piñatas

Preached on Christmas Eve 2017 at ICCM

Merry Christmas! I am so glad to see each and every one of you here for worship as we celebrate the birth of Jesus. In this gathering we share a few things in common: First, this is not our native land—we come, originally, from somewhere else. We gather as extranjeros—outlanders, foreigners, travelers, in Mexico. Secondly, we gather to celebrate the coming of the Christ, a baby born while his parents were traveling too. We form a special community this night, this gathering is a shelter of sorts, home in a way. Tonight, we hear the familiar songs and scriptures. We will light the candles and remember what this night is all about. Continue reading “Posadas and Piñatas”


My dog is spending the winter with my daughter. I’m hoping I get him back for the summers, but they’re mighty happy together. We’ll see. My dog’s name is Mikko, he’s ½ black lab and ½ German shorthair pointer, but he doesn’t know how to point. He isn’t the least bit interested in sniffing out birds in grassy areas. In fact, he’s afraid of geese. He is not supposed to draw attention to himself but rather to direct the focus toward the object of the hunt. Mikko is supposed to be a pointer, but he’s not. Continue reading “Pointers”

Dancing with the Word

This is one of my favorite websites.  I begin my sermon preparation here many weeks.  The author preaches with clarity and insight.  This week’s post was quite powerful.  Take a look  here.

Comfort, Comfort

The prophet Isaiah speaks a word of comfort to people who had lost hope. I believe God is still speaking words of comfort and hope, sometimes to quote Isaiah through the “word of our God that stands forever”, ancient words that still speak to us, and sometimes that message of comfort and hope comes through the words and actions of those around us.   Continue reading “Comfort, Comfort”

Rip Open the Heavens!

Preached by Rebecca Ellenson at the Blue Church on December 3, 2017

“Oh, that you would rip open the heavens and come down!” Those may not be our exact words but we pray this prayer countless times, don’t we? This year there have been countless reasons to cry out like that—hurricanes, earthquakes, massive wildfires, insane political developments around the world, ongoing wars, and now a critical famine in Yemen with UNICEF reporting that every 10 seconds a child dies of hunger. And then there are the personal reasons for such a lament. Alone in our rooms we turn our faces to the ceiling or outdoors to the stars in the night sky we cry, “Show yourself to me, God. Show me who you are and who I am and what I am to do.”   Continue reading “Rip Open the Heavens!”

Link to Sunday Services

Thanks to some talented young men in the Mexican congregation, our worship services are recorded and uploaded to YouTube for those who want to watch.  Just open YouTube and search for Iglesia Cristiana Congregacional de Mazatlán, then you can scroll through the various services and watch whichever one you want.  Here’s a link for November 26, 2017.

Love, The Final Word

 Love, the Final WordPreached November 26, 2017 at the English Speaking Congregation of Iglesia Cristiana Congregacional de Mazatlán;  by Pastor Rebecca Ellenson

Today is the last Sunday in the church year. Next week we begin another Advent season. So, I guess it is fitting on this last Sunday in the church year that we read our gospel from what is called the last discourse in Matthew’s gospel. Jesus’ teachings are grouped into 5 major sections in Matthews gospel, beginning with the Sermon on the Mount and ending with this last one which comes right before Jesus is taken away to be killed. It contains his last teachings and centers on the last days, the final judgment.   Continue reading “Love, The Final Word”

Advent in Mazatlan

Just about nine years ago, Steve and I spent our first Christmas in Mazatlán, together with Steve’s mom and her partner.  We were thrilled to share our favorite destination with them and they enjoyed it so much.  My mind swirls with memories from that week:

  • Tiny Marian, knocked over by the waves in the ocean, standing up laughing with her wide open smile
  • Morning walks with Calvin on the beach
  • The fisherman feeding the birds on Playa Norte so Marian could take photos,
  • Our first visit to the Blue Church, on Christmas Eve, 2008.

After that, on cold, grey winter days in Duluth, I would surf the web, reading the Pacific Pearl online and following blogs about Mazatlán.  I switched my screen saver to a photo of the sunset behind Deer Island and started daydreaming about moving to Mazatlán someday.

Well, dreams do come true.  Here we are, living in Mazatlán for six months of the year.  I’m going to decorate our apartment for Christmas this afternoon.  Steve was at church this morning practicing his saxophone with the organist, Mauricio and took these lovely photos that signal this new season of Advent.

Holy God, who came to us long ago in the birth of Jesus, be born in us anew today by the power of your Holy Spirit.  We offer our lives as home to you and ask for grace and strength to live as your faithful, joyous children always.  Amen.