Sermon for Christmas Eve 2017 -- Wildfire, Hair Salons, and Mangers: Encountering the Word of God

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being 4 in him was life,* and the life was the light of all people. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.
— John 1:1-5.....NRSV
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I hope you all had a blessed Christmas.  May love, peace, and joy be yours in the New Year!

This Week's Sermon: The Happiest Place in America

Luke 1:5-55

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

November 1999

November 1999

Sermon Notes
For an unbelievably lovely reading of the poem Annunciation by Marie Howe, listen here:

The full report released by the Community Foundation of San Luis Obispo County detailing the needs of women in this region -- I hope you find the report as surprising as I do.

This Week's Sermon: When the Stars Begin to Fall

Daniel 7:9-28 and Luke 1:67-79

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

Boston   1999

Boston   1999

Sermon Notes
Here's a link to a poem by Jane Kenyon.  I read her beautiful words to begin Advent worship.

I did a fair amount of research preparing for this sermon, mostly because talking about apocalyptic literature in the Bible is so complicated especially given recent world events in the Middle East and Europe. Click titles to links. Here's a good introduction to the Book of Daniel in the New American Bible from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.  Graham Beynon has some useful material as well in his article The Message of Daniel -- thoughtful reflection on the questions the biblical author pushes us toward like our relationships as people of faith and as Americans to foreign nations.  Although, I should say I do not fall into his camp dating the Book of Daniel to the 6th Century BCE.  I'm with the historical-critical school on this one.  And of course, can't leave out the Lutherans.  Although written in the 1990s, this article by Wendell W. Frerichs titled "How Many Weeks until the End?" has helpful language you will hear infusing the sermon.  He very helpfully says that the visibility of violent regimes signals their impending decay, a major talking point near the close of my sermon. Such a great thought for our times! 

Here's a link to the referenced David Brooks op-ed on resilience and storytelling:

I read a passage aloud on the difference between hoping and wishing from We Make the Road by Walking by Brian McLaren to close worship.  It's in Chapter 14.

This is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of resources.  Hope some of it is helpful to you along the way.