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

baptism.jpg
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 2/19/17: The Other Stuff in Leviticus

Leviticus 19 1-2, 9-18, Psalm 119:33-40, Matthew 5:38-48

Israel 2000

Israel 2000

He proclaimed the Gospel by being the Gospel. “And greater things than I do shall you do,” he said. It is not enough to heal the sick. Heal the systems that make them sick. It is not enough to visit the prisoners. Question that structures that imprison people.
— Verna J. Dozier in The Authority of the Laity

Sermon Notes

This week after writing and delivering my sermon, I stumbled on Verna Dozier's pamphlet on the laity.  Turns out my words are but a mere echo of her words some number of years ago.  Her main concern is how church people have abdicated their authority to the professional pastors.  It's a great read.  Also by way of notes, I reference Shane Claiborne in my sermon. I'm not a proselyte of his by any stretch, mostly because he's gotten a lot of attention for saying stuff we mainliners have been saying for ages.  But you can't beat his way with words.  This quote came in a Krista Tippet forum on Christians and Government, all evangelicals by the way.  Fascinating stuff with multiple perspectives.  Listen here!

Sermon for 1/29/17: Keeping Focus In Times of Turmoil

Micah 6:1-8, 1 Corinthians 1:18-31, Matthew 5:1-12

For Dick Blomquist: A veteran of WWII and a tender prophet for us now.   Jerusalem, May 2000

For Dick Blomquist: A veteran of WWII and a tender prophet for us now. 

Jerusalem, May 2000

Outside, the freezing desert night.
This other night inside grows warm, kindling.
Let the landscape be covered with thorny crust.
We have a soft garden in here.
The continents blasted,
cities and little towns, everything
become a scorched, blackened ball.

The news we hear is full of grief for that future,
but the real news inside here
is there’s no news at all.
— Rumi -- Translated by Coleman Barks

Ugly Food Collection

In August 2016, our church spent a month reflecting on the promise of ugly food.  Through preaching, visits and volunteering with GleanSLO, film screenings, and finally an Ugly Food Banquet, we brought a spiritual dimension to the problem of food waste in America and had fun with it.  The following is a collection of sermons and links to online films.  May they inspire you to create your own ugly food projects.

Boston     1999

Boston     1999

Sermon Notes

My favorite Genesis commentary is by Nahum Sarna -- this book tutored me on the defining narratives and themes of the Bible, including how I view the presence of drought in biblical literature. (Public Library and Reference)

Here's that super fun article about pomegranates that started it all from NPR's THE SALT:

There's a couple places to find the films we screened.  Here are some direct links.  You can also explore Gerald Iversen's post as it is a huge clearinghouse of all things Ugly Food, especially if you want to catch up on our speakers and the talks they gave.  This is a must if you want to put together your own project.