“The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; … —to give them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit.”
Today belongs to the prophets of old, those crusty characters who fear nothing and no one, and tell the truth no matter the cost to themselves or the cost to everyone else around them. And, let’s be honest, they are typically on the downer side of life most of the time.
Few of us are called to be prophets, so relax. You don’t have to be like one too. But we are called to hear them. (more…)
“Restore us, O God of hosts; show the light of your countenance and we shall be saved.”
— Psalm 80:7
As you have gathered by now, today is the first Sunday of Advent, the church season of waiting before the dawn of Christmas and the celebration of Jesus Christ coming into the world as a newborn innocent baby long, long ago. (more…)
Every Sunday, we gather here in this sacred place, sometimes under “clouds and thick darkness” [Ezekiel 34:12], to tell the ancient story of the people of God and how, generation after generation, against all odds, they survived every hardship, every storms, every fire, every disaster, every calamity.
We tell the story of how, against all odds, generation after generation, they arrived in the promised lands of hope and healing, new life and salvation. By gathering here, Sunday after Sunday, we make this story of salvation our story, too. (more…)
The 1932 Presidential election was the first election held during the Great Depression, a worldwide economic downturn and a time of great fear (Encyclopedia Brittanica). Franklin Delano Roosevelt, in his first inaugural address said, “This is preeminently the time to speak the truth, the whole truth, frankly and boldly. Nor need we shrink from honestly facing conditions in our country today. This great Nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper. So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory.” (more…)
In today’s gospel lesson, we hear another of these puzzling parables that Jesus so likes to spring upon his followers. He tells about ten bridesmaids, or more accurately translated from the Greek, ten young maidens. (more…)
Almighty and Everlasting God, increase in us the gifts of faith, hope and serenity.
Given these past few weeks and in the aftermath of the firestorm, I would like this morning to reflect on the power of serenity. Many people are familiar with Reinhold Niebuhr’s Serenity Prayer, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.” However, that is not the entire prayer. The full version of the prayer goes like this, “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things, I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time, accepting hardship as a pathway to peace, taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it, trusting that You will make all things right if I surrender to Your will, so that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with You forever in the next.” (more…)
I would like you to join in me in a prayer for those who have died and were wounded in Las Vegas this past week. Please find a red prayer book near you and join me in the prayer on page 815, the Prayer for the Human Family.
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Last week, I spoke to you about why we exist as a church: We exist to pray. (more…)
Opening Sentence: “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32
The musical South Pacific, according to Wikipedia, is based on James A. Michener’s 1947 book Tales of the South Pacific and combines elements of several of those stories. Rodgers and Hammerstein, who wrote the musical believed they could send a strong progressive message on racism. (more…)