What we do tonight is very ancient – and very new.
Tonight, we stand with people long ago who the lit the fires of hope, and told the ancient stories of creation, deliverance and resurrection. They faced impossible odds and certain death, and still they proclaimed “Alleluia!” (more…)
Jesus Said: “Love the Lord your God with all you heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength.”
Last week Pastor Jim shared with us the importance of repentance, turning around or turning back; today I would like to add to that thinking another type of turning; turning over. Turning back to God and turning one’s life over to the care of God seem to me to go hand in hand. Neither one is easy. Both require a willingness to surrender the ego and/or the parts of ourselves that are holding us hostage to beliefs, behaviors and ideas that impede our spiritual growth and development. Turning one’s life over to God and leaving it there requires courage, patience, trust and faith. This act of surrender takes one out of the driver’s seat, challenges our notions of autonomy, and in a way, asks us to become as helpless and as dependent as a newborn child with the hope that a God we cannot see, touch or feel will care for us and provide what we need when we need it. It is no wonder that asking us to let go of all we think we know about life, to embrace a way of being that is so dependent and trusting, can make it feel like we are birthing into being a new self. It can be painful and hard. And yet the reward, a new life in Christ, makes it all worthwhile. (more…)
As some of you know, I was a news reporter for many years – for a quarter century in fact. And many years ago, I covered a huge wild fire in Southern California that destroyed an entire neighborhood in San Bernardino, known as the Panorama fire.
It is still listed as on of the worst fires in the history of the West. Some 280 homes burned to the ground and four people died. (more…)
I’d like to tell you about a friend of mine of many years. Her name is Doris. She is a few years older than me.
She was born during World War II in Poston, Arizona, in the desert near the Colorado River hundreds of miles from the nearest city. Doris’s family name is Okada. She is Japanese American. Doris was born in an internment camp.
For those unfamiliar with the internment camps, they were established by executive order 9066 of President Roosevelt two months after the outbreak of the war. (more…)
Some of us in this room remember the grainy black and white movies of the 1950s that showed aliens arriving on earth. In the movie, little green men (They were all men. There were no little green women) would find an Earthling and said, “Take me to your leader.” By the way, we know they were green because someone in the movie would refer to them as such. Anyway, what is interesting about that demand, “Take me to your leader,” is the idea that there was one leader on earth who could speak for all the earth’s inhabitants. That there was a leader in charge of everything and who governed all our lives. Someone the alien life forms could negotiate with or tell that we were about to be invaded. Well you and I know that there never was such a person. However, given that we are about to, in less than a week, have new leaders in our country who are responsible for our nation’s welfare and because we as a congregation are about to begin the search for our new leader, it seems to be the right time to ask ourselves what leadership means to us. (more…)
Today is the first Sunday of Epiphany – a new season for the new year. This is a season marked by light in the darkness and a sense of new starts for all of us.
As we hear the biblical stories unfold this new year once again, we will hear about people who make new starts. They will have strengths, and flaws, courage and cowardice, and often a mix of both. (more…)