Sermon for 1/14/18: The Dimension Of God We Forget

1 Samuel 3:1-10, Psalm 139: 1-6, 13-18, John 1:43-51

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Wonder rather than doubt is the root of all human knowledge.
— Abraham Joshua Heschel

Upon Further Reflection

This week I have a smattering of other thoughts and reflections that arose as I worked with these passages evoking beginnings, and callings, and wonder.  So for your own further investigation, I commend you this:

On Truth verses Fact -- I saw this week an amazing video explaining how in recent years, for the first time, scientists have been able to capture how animal eggs send out a flash of light at the moment of conception.  Well the video mentions mice, frogs, and humans anyway.  The brighter the flash, the healthier the egg.  I was so captivated by the imagery.  Connecting to the themes of my Sunday sermon, I offer you this.  Scientific fact tells us this is a reaction involving zinc. Our faith tells us, in the beginning, the first thing God said was let their be light!  This seems true as well.  Neither one of these is wrong.  They both answer and deepen the mystery of our beginnings. If only we could remember more often in our culture wars how badly science and faith need each other.

More amazing science: One of our church members called out attention at a small group session to this podcast.  It's about the discovery of plate tectonics, a fascinating listen to how change happens both physically on earth, and also when human assumptions and entrenched ways of imagining our world are challenged.  More wonder!   CLICK HERE: The Day the Earth Moved

On DACA and Jesus: Sunday, I did not talk about one of the most important lines of our passage on Philip and Nathaniel as they are called by Jesus.  It's that amusing and ironic line, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" -- the one Nathaniel asks snidely when his friend invites him to come and follow. It's a crucial revelation: assumptions about class and place of origin almost thwart Nathaniel's encounter with Jesus.  Will he hear the call of God or will he stay rooted and unseeing and isolated in his prejudice? 

That's a question we have to navigate all the time as individuals, and a question that has brought us spiritual anguish as a global community with a migration crisis. Amidst the divisive immigration politics of our age, the who-said-what, and our  binging on the fallout of it all, we can't lose track that the issues at hand are faith issues. Tonight I heard a brilliant and touching sermon by Pastor Charlie Little of the First Presbyterian Church on Matthew 25. He said that to refuse to care for the stranger in need is an act of self-hatred.  It was a profound moment of preaching because we are seeing that wound on a national scale not just in our daily Christian living. Sobering words.  So however we choose to move forward as a nation on these issues of faith, may we do so loving the image of God that we are.  And may we love not just in church on Sunday or in our own homes, but in the messy, mucky, wider world.

 

 

Sermon for 4/3/16: Avoiding Other People's Tombs Part 2

Acts 8:26-40 and John 20:19-31

Suggested Scripture readings follow the alternative lectionary outlined in Brian McLaren's book We Make the Road by Walking (reference and library).

A Post-Resurrection Faith Doodle

A Post-Resurrection Faith Doodle

Sermon Notes

This is very much an insider sermon in that I talk about the formation of the church.  I speak very specifically about the inspiration of Christian community. I say this because when I speak about the gifts of forgiveness and the peace entrusted to the first Christians and us by extension, I don't want it heard that these gifts are exclusively Christian.  Maybe it goes without saying, but too many have made that claim.  It's not an issue I take up in the body of the sermon.  However, it's worth stating here.

On my choice of words -- my use of the word "toppled" is a nod to Father Greg Boyle.  Oh my goodness, go out and listen to an interview or read his book.  Just so beautiful.  He has an awful lot of credibility when it comes to bearing up under what would otherwise be despairing. Here's the link to his book Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion (reference and public library).

Sermon for 1/17/2016: Why We REALLY Don't Invite People To Church

John 2:1-12 and Mark 1:21-28

Suggested Scripture Readings from Brian McLaren's We Make the Road by Walking.

Welcoming the Rain                                                                         Cambria 2016

Welcoming the Rain                                                                         Cambria 2016

Sermon Notes

Before getting into the material of the formal sermon this week, I offer the videos we viewed in worship updating us on the work of the ELCA (our denominational body) in its campaign to end malaria with our global partners.  Five years ago, our denomination had a goal of raising 15 million dollars.  See these stories and hear where we stand today in those efforts.

 

This week we continue our wander through questions of invitation: why do we and don't we invite people to our faith communities? Do we hide our connection to God from others?  It occurred to me while preaching that the real issue is far larger than church.  If you are a person who has a practice of hospitality in your "regular" life, you probably will for church as well.  The opposite applies: if you are person who is private or needs quiet or has barriers to hospitality and invitation in your "regular" life, you probably will for church as well.  I pose a lot of possibilities in this sermon.  I'm curious: consider the following:

QUESTION OF THE WEEK

What motivates you or prohibits you from inviting people into church and your faith life?  

Post your comments here!!