Pastor’s Prose

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To view 2021 year’s prose, click here
To view 2020 year’s prose, click here
To view 2019 year’s prose, click here
To view 2018 year’s prose, click here
To view 2017 year’s prose, click here

Mar 25-30

Holy Week blessings, dear ones –

With Palm Sunday and what is usually known as the ‘triumphal entry’, we have begun to walk with Jesus on his long trek toward the cross. I came across this prayer/poem this week from the authors of enfleshed and wanted to share it with you. May it be a blessing to you as it has been to me.

Pastor Mallory

Palm Sunday Prayerpoem

We cry to the Spirit of Christ,
who takes on flesh
and moves among us.

Save us!!
From the idols of unity
that keep the weight of our collective problems
on the backs of the suffering and oppressed.

Save us!!
From toxic understandings of gender
that confine
that destroy
that encourage violence
against self and other.

Save us!!
From colorblindness that hides
the destruction of white supremacy.
From white fragility
that keeps away honesty and change.
From performance politics
that prioritize perception over action.
From the limits of identity politics and representation
that oversimplify paths to freedom.

Save us!!
From corporations who make a profit
through advertisements and campaigns
that project social concerns
all while evading their taxes
and destroying our planet.

Save us!!
From an impossible pace
not meant for survival
only for production.

Save us!!
From the violence done in the name of the law through:
Police brutality
The war on drugs
Deportations and violence at the border
Abuse of incarcerated trans women
Stop and frisk
The criminalization of sex work
And all that drives a morality
shaped by dominance and control

Save us!!
From easy answers.
From individualism.
From liberal theologies that perpetuate the status quo.
From binary thinking.
From #notallmen #notallwhitepeople #notallchrisitians
From our desire to hold onto unjust power.
From our fear of claiming righteous power.

Save us!!
From churches that do violence
and from churches who do not disrupt
violence against us.

Save us!!
From our struggle to believe
we have what we need
to manifest Christ in our lives
and create a different way of living together.

You free us from traps of guilt.
You show us the way of liberation
that welcomes all who desire justice and healing.
Your grace leads us in learning and unlearning.
You manifest both softly and fiercely.
Your Love is a catalyst that opens possibilities
we cannot yet imagine.
Turn us towards each other.
Our salvation is collective.

Mar 11-16

Dear ones,

This Lenten season, we have been spending time companioning our ‘shadow emotions’ – those parts of ourselves which are difficult to come into relationship with but have much to teach us. This week, we are spending time with grief. The story our culture tells is that grief is a ‘one and done’ experience, settled within the first few days or weeks after the death of a loved one, the transition of a relationship, or any other kind of loss. In reality, grief is an ever-unfolding experience which shifts and changes and, even years later, can catch you unawares and bring new dimensions to the sorrow.

I offer this poem from Jan Richardson to accompany you this week. May you be gentle with yourself as you touch your deep pain. May we be gentle with each other when we come to realize there is not one of us who hasn’t been touched by grief in some way.

Pastor Mallory

Blessing for Falling into a New Layer of Grief

You thought
you had hit
every layer possible,
that you had found
the far limit
of your sorrow,
of your grief.

Now the world falls
from beneath your feet
all over again,
as if the wound
were opening
for the first time,
only now with
an ache you recognize
as ancient.

Here is the time
for kindness—
your own, to yourself—
as you fall
and fall,
as you land hard
in this layer
that lies deeper than
you ever imagined
you could go.

Think of it as
a secret room—
this space
that has opened
before you,
that has opened
inside you,
though it may look
sharp in every corner
and sinister
no matter where
you turn.

Think of it as
a hidden chamber
in your heart
where you can stay
as long as you need,
where you will
find provision
you never wanted
but on which
your life will now

I want to tell you
there is treasure
even here—
that the sharp lines
that so match your scars
will lead
to solace;
that this space
that feels so foreign
will become for you
a shelter.

So let yourself fall.
It will not be
the last time,
but do not let this be
cause for fear.

These are the rooms
around which your
new home will grow—
the home of your heart,
the home of your life
that welcomes you
with such completeness,
opening and
opening and
opening itself to you,
no part of you
turned away.

—Jan Richardson

Feb 26 – Mar 2

Dear People of Vista Grande –

As we continue through our Lenten journey together, we are meeting our shadow emotions and asking them what they have to teach us about living a life of faith together in community. Yesterday, we were honored to welcome Rev. James Fouther, our regional Generosity Officer from the national setting of the United Church of Christ, who spoke to us about anger.

Anger is a funny thing – it can sneak up on us when we least expect it. Sometimes, we are acting out of anger and aren’t even aware of it (though those around us might be!). If we know what our anger looks like, it can be something we try really hard not to express. Afterall, good spiritual people don’t show anger, right? We’re always kind and patient and….well…that’s not always the case, is it?

Thankfully, Rev. Fouther helped normalize our anger and even found positives in it. Anger is a clarifying force that moves us to act. It’s good start-up energy, especially if we direct it toward the powers and principalities that keep harming us and our kin. Rev. Fouther mentioned a TedTalk which might be instructive for us, entitled Anger is Your Ally: A Mindful Approach to Anger.

This week, I invite you to get in touch with your anger. Do you know what it feels like for you? How do you know when you’re good and mad? Can you ask your anger what it has to teach you? What does it need you to know?

May we embrace our anger as sacred and may it move us to action for a more just and flourishing world.

Pastor Mallory

Feb 19-24

Dear Vista Grande –

You are probably familiar with the story of the rich young man – he shows up in three out of four of the gospel accounts we have and the crux is always the same. We hear that Jesus asks him to give up his wealth and he, who actively sought Jesus out, goes away sad because he didn’t know how to do that. That’s where we get the camel and the needle and, for some of us, a sense of hopelessness.

There are several beautiful nuggets tucked away in that story as told by the writer of Mark, though. First, we read that Jesus looked at this young man, full of pride and accomplishment masking a deep hunger for connection…Jesus looked at him and loved him. And then, right alongside the impossibility of fitting a pack animal through a sewing implement, we get one of the most famous statements of our faith: “With God, all things are possible.”

I am thinking of the concept of “giving things up for Lent”. Jesus invites the rich young man to lay down the things that are separating him from God and from his fellow people. On the other side, Jesus promises abundant life – a life greater and more full than the one we had before. Fundamentally, that’s what Lent is about – it’s a time set aside to lay things down so there is room for more life and love abundant. It isn’t about suffering – it’s about taking an honest look at what limits our connection to the Divine and each other, trusting that God will meet us and transform us beyond what we thought was possible, making room for the Easter joy which is to come.

Thank you all so much for your brave willingness to lean into what is difficult. I am astounded by all of you each and every day.

Pastor Mallory

Feb 12-17

Dear Vista Grande –

It’s no secret that I love Peter. He’s so…human. He’s impulsive and joyful and angry and takes risks and tries his best and falls flat…he gives me hope that, even with all of my messy inconsistencies and all the things I don’t do perfectly, I still get to be a follower of Christ. Our text for the week was Mark 8, where Peter takes it on himself to tell Jesus off and, permitting ourselves a little bit of imagination with the text (all it says is “rebuked him”), educate him about ‘how things work around here’. He’s trying to reign Jesus in – saying something akin to “Hey, man, if you keep saying stuff like that, you’re going to get us all killed!” And Jesus says, essentially, “get out of my way – I have work to do.”

I imagine that Peter had witnessed his own fair share of violence by the Roman Empire and exclusion by the religious elites who held power in his community. I imagine he looked at the systems around him and said “This is just how it is…step out of line and you get killed. It’s hopeless. Nothing is going to ever change.” And I get it…the system looks big and scary. How will anything ever shift? I’m put in mind of this quotation, originally taken from Twitter: “We seldom admit the seductive comfort of hopelessness. It saves us from ambiguity. It has an answer for every question: “There’s just no point.” Hope, on the other hand, is messy. If it might all work out, then we have things to do.” When Jesus says to Peter “Get out of my way.”, what he’s saying is “I’ve got things to do.” It reminds me of the song Joy in Resistance by The Resistance Revival Chorus, a group founded by Black women to provide music for the movement for racial justice.

“What the world needs now
is joy (faith, love, hope) in resistance
We will fight the good fight
With or without your assistance

Move out of the way
If you can’t support the mission
What the world needs now
Is joy (faith, love, hope) in resistance”

At its founding, our church has been dedicated to being a pocket of hope where we practice what the world might look like if it operated on logics of mutual care and support and power with instead of greed, extraction, and power over. Sure, we have our Peter moments, where we slide into hopelessness and think we can’t make a change. And yet, I am astounded every time this church chooses love of neighbor over love of our own comfort. It’s that effort and commitment that’s going to change the world.

Thank you for being who you are.

Pastor Mallory

Feb 5-10

Beloved of God,

We are continuing our sojourn with Jesus through the Gospel of Mark and witnessing the stories of his healings among the people he came in contact with. This week, we spent time with two unnamed women – the daughter of Jairus (a man of stature) who was at death’s door and the woman with an incurable gynecological condition which caused her to bleed, rendering her ritually impure and therefore unable to participate in the rest of society.

In both cases, the situation was deemed hopeless. Both Jairus and the hemorrhaging woman were out of options and unable to make anything else happen under their own power – this led Jairus to humble himself enough to go to his knees in front of Jesus and it led the woman to risk it all for a touch of his cloak. In both cases, it is faith which led these people to do something unexpected and what Jesus highlighted as most important.

I was privileged to attend a virtual workshop facilitated by Rev. Dr. Barbara Holmes, an incredible Black mystic, on the topic of Crisis Contemplation – those experiences both individual and communal which strip away all our tools, abilities, and sense of self and for which there is no reasonable expectation of human help. She contends that it is in these situations we become free enough to do something unexpected and God meets us there.

As we prepare for Racial Justice Sunday next week, I want to share an example of this type of holy, unexpected, and embodied resistance and healing Rev. Dr. Holmes shared with us. The Northwest Tap Connection, a social justice-oriented dance company produced this incredible video; out of the depths of their communal hopelessness came a particular and powerful example of making space in the world where there was none before. As you watch, I encourage you to pay attention to what stirs within you. Are you moved to tears? Do you feel the Spirit? Do you want to dance or clap along? Something else? What does your body have to teach you in this moment? How have you been impacted?

Dear ones, may we be attuned to those painful places of hopelessness and desperation and may we allow them to turn us toward the God who does not leave us or forsake us.

Pastor Mallory

Jan 29 – Feb 3

Dear Vista Grande –

On Sunday, we used the story of the man overtaken with ‘unclean spirits’ in Mark 5 to explore the spiritual task of vulnerability. We see the man’s reticence to receive the type of healing presence Jesus has to offer him – “What have you to do with me, Jesus” translates to “go away! leave me with my pain!” In Jesus, we see a model of welcome that is not afraid of big and difficult emotions and is patient enough to persist through the fear and anger and see the beloved one through to the possibility of healing and wholeness.

As followers of the Way of Jesus, we look to him as a model and a guide for our behavior. Who or what is calling us to be present to pain? This might be internal – our own grief, rage, fear, and woundedness. It may be external – bearing witness to these intense emotional states within one another. Either way, we are invited to call these painful experiences by their name and get to know them so we might experience the miracle of freedom and healing.

I know this is tough work – it’s uncomfortable to bear witness to our own pain, much less the pain of others! And here I am suggesting that we do both! Don’t worry, though – you aren’t expected to get it perfect. We will be practicing these skills together as a community, trusting in the process of healing this story points us toward.

In the recovery rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous, we have a phrase: Progress, not perfection. We won’t be perfect – that’s a given. But we are invited to keep trying to live according to our stated values, which we find in the person and teachings of Jesus.

Every week, we extend a welcome to everyone – no matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here. That means you. All of you. Even the parts of yourself you’re not a huge fan of. Even the things that hurt. There is not one part of you that is out of the reach of God’s love and the care of our community of faith.

Let’s keep reminding each other of that. Let’s keep calling each other back home.

Pastor Mallory

New Announcements:

Interested in helping shape worship life at Vista Grande? Join us for the inaugural meeting of the Worship Arts Team on Thursday, February 1st at 6:30 on Zoom. We are looking for musicians, visual artists, design-minded folks, people with a way with words, and more! Come and be a part of the team!

Ash Wednesday: Hybrid services will be offered at 2:30 and 5:30.

Lenten Journey Partners: As part of deepening our commitment to building community, Vista Grande is offering an opportunity to consciously connect with each other on a one-on-one basis through the season of Lent. If you are interested in being part of a Journey Partnership, please fill out the survey at this link or let Pastor Mallory know via email at

Congregational Survey: The Pastoral Relations Committee has prepared a congregational survey to gather your opinions on how we are doing as a church and in relationship with our pastor. Please take a few minutes to fill out this form – it’s completely anonymous so please answer as honestly as you can. This information will help us chart a course for our future and we want you to be a part of it! For the Survey link contact

Jan 22-27

Hello, Vista Grande!

Yesterday, you were joined by Rev. Jordan Farrell, the pastor of Beth-el Mennonite Church and I guest preached in his pulpit. This is an annual tradition among a clergy cluster group called the Neighborhood Faith Leaders as a way of observing the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity has been a project of the World Council of Churches for well over 100 years and is a time where we practice humility and learn about our shared Christian faith from our siblings.

While Congregationalists and Mennonites come from different theological backgrounds and got to our peace and justice stances by a different path, the truth of the matter is that our dreams, goals, and theological convictions are similar. Our similarities life-giving, in that they can help us feel less alone – hey! We have another church actively working to support the most vulnerable in our community! And they’re less than a mile away! But our differences can also be life-giving. Our Mennonite siblings have a longstanding tradition of peacemaking which can inform us as we discern what faithfulness means in our current context, as we are charged to do in the UCC Constitution. In fact, the Fear Not curriculum which has been a significant part of adult faith formation this fall and winter came from the Mennonite Central Committee and is deeply rooted in their faith tradition.

I hope you found the pulpit swap informative and, if it was a little uncomfortable or unfamiliar, my prayer is that you are able to ask questions of that discomfort – where is the witness of our Mennonite siblings asking us to grow? What, if any, core values of mine were challenged in the way their faith was presented to me?

Above all, may we trust that we are not alone in the building up of the Kin-dom of God. There are faithful people engaged in the labor of co-creation with God and with us. And some of them happen to be right in our backyard! Both Jordan and I are hoping that this will be the beginning of a new and important relationship in the life of both of our churches and we hope you do as well.

Don’t worry, though! I’ll be back in the pulpit next week and eager to see all of you and share in our life together.

Blessings, dear ones.
Together – all of us,
Pastor Mallory

Jan 15-20

Beautiful people of Vista Grande –

As I write this, Colorado Springs is experiencing near-record low temperatures; it is -4 with a windchill making it feel like -12. It is certainly the coldest stretch of winter I’ve experienced in recent memory and this streak is stretching on well beyond Colorado’s tried and true adage: if you don’t like the weather, wait ten minutes and it will change.

You may be aware that VGCC has opened our building for the last week, welcoming in at least 60 people per night in order to keep them safe, warm, and fed during this deep and killing freeze.

While I know many of you are supportive of this endeavor, I think it’s important that you understand the impact you are having. When I say you are saving lives by saying yes, I mean it. Sometimes, though, it’s important to hear it from someone other than just me. Below is an email written by someone who has stayed in our church over the last few days. I read it aloud yesterday in worship but wanted to share it more broadly.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for your willingness to move from observation to participation in alleviating suffering. I am beyond blessed to be part of this incredible community.

Pastor Mallory

Letter from Andie, a guest in the church:

Dear Rev. Mallory,

My name is Andie, and I am a traveling artist and christian iconographer. For the past year, I have been undertaking a mission to bicycle across the country to witness firsthand and testify with my painting the beauty of God’s Creation.

Due to a series of events God saw fit to put me thru, I found myself without shelter in the midst of winter in Colorado Springs, over a thousand miles away from my home and family. This is how I found myself sleeping under a painting of St. Francis on the floor of your church with my homeless brothers and sisters. And I just wanted to thank you and your congregation for putting the teachings of our Savior and Liberator into practice and showing the love of Christ to your community, and to me personally.

As an artist, I care deeply about my fellow humans, and as an iconographer I take seriously the responsibility of living a Christian life. St Francis himself was a huge inspiration for me to sell most of my belongings and travel the country relying on the charity and grace of others while doing what God called me to do. It’s for that reason that I also wanted to share with you a brief hagiography of the names of the people you saved from freezing to death on the streets.

Miss Rita (who is quite the character), Izzie, Joker, Shy, Jesse, Cartman, Marcus, Larisa, Bobby Blue, Richard, Crystal, Cheryl, and dozens of others. These are all real life human beings whose lives your congegration has touched. I have sat with them, listened to their stories, saw their faces, and now as an artist it is my job to reify the beauty that God has created. I hope that this email does just that for you at least in some small way, because this is beauty God created thru Vista Grande UCC.

Please accept my gratitude for all that your church has done, and know that when yall meet together truly Christ is in your midst.

With thanks,

Jan 8-13

Epiphany Greetings, dear ones –

The 12th day of Christmas, known as Epiphany, is the holy day in the liturgical calendar where we celebrate the arrival of the Wise Ones from afar who followed the star and the guidance of intuition and dream which led them to the humble home of Mary, Joseph, and little toddler Jesus.

Every Epiphany, we have a practice of picking Star Words to guide us through our year. If you weren’t able to join us on Sunday and would like a star word, I’m happy to get one to you. Reach out to me directly at and we will coordinate. You can have one generated randomly at this link. I encourage you to make your own star, put the word on it, and display it somewhere you will see it throughout the coming year.

In this season which celebrates the gifts and guidance of intuition and dream, modern day mystic Jan Richardson offers us this blessing. May it illuminate our individual paths as we travel them together.

Where the Map Begins
This is not
any map you know.
Forget longitude.
Forget latitude.
Do not think
of distances
or of plotting
the most direct route.
Astrolabe, sextant, compass:
these will not help you here.
This is the map
that begins with a star.
This is the chart
that starts with fire,
with blazing,
with an ancient light
that has outlasted
generations, empires,
cultures, wars.
Look starward once,
then look away.
Close your eyes
and see how the map
begins to blossom
behind your lids,
how it constellates,
its lines stretching out
from where you stand.
You cannot see it all,
cannot divine the way
it will turn and spiral,
cannot perceive how
the road you walk
will lead you finally inside,
through the labyrinth
of your own heart
and belly
and lungs.
But step out
and you will know
what the wise who traveled
this path before you
the treasure in this map
is buried not at journey’s end
but at its beginning.
Onward, beloveds. Together.

Pastor Mallory

Jan 1-6

Happy New Year, Vista Grande!

I love this time of year – Advent, the season just before Christmas, marks the beginning of the new church year and then we culturally mark the solar return today on January first. I kind of like that we Christians who observe Advent get the chance to have our new year a few weeks early and that we spend the first several weeks meditating on values which are central to our faith: hope, peace, joy, and love. Then we get the chance to start again alongside the secular calendar but we also have a leg up – January 1st is nestled right in the middle of the 12 days of Christmas, where we are still celebrating the imminence of the God who makes Godself known in our midst through those very same values.

Every year, on or around December 31st, public theologian Nadia Bolz-Weber posts her yearly reminder: “May you remember that there is no resolution that, if kept, will make you more worthy of love.” This simple statement feels important, especially because Lent, the time of solemn preparation for Easter, will be on us quicker than we’d like to think (don’t look now, but it’s only about 6 weeks away!)

What we do at Vista Grande all boils down to Belovedness. That truth is especially highlighted in the Christmas story, where we celebrate the incarnation of God not as the finished product of the radical teacher in whose footsteps we follow but instead as a tiny baby who is just learning to swallow and can’t yet raise their own head. Before Jesus teaches us about any doing or building or rabble-rousing, he teaches about the vulnerability of receiving care and being dependent on one another. He teaches us about what Belovedness entitles us to.

Belovedness entitles us to care, consideration, and community, especially in times of deep pain. Many of us are going through some of the most difficult things life has to throw at us – health issues, grief, job stress, family strains, and more are just the things which have been named in joys and concerns. If you feel like one of the walking wounded, like your load is too heavy to carry, like you’re not able to put one foot in front of the next, please know that your faith community is here to remind you of your Belovedness, witness you in your grief, and help alleviate the pain as we are able.

May the Christchild teach us the kind of vulnerability which has us reach toward one another, rooted in our sacred worth and intrinsic Belovedness. May this central lesson of Christmas attend us not only through the twelve days but all the year long.

Pastor Mallory