In the Breach – Sermon, 10/15/17

Oh, the places I could go with today’s first reading from Exodus!  There are so many questions I could ask about our modern-day idols.  What nouns – what person, places, and things – do we place above our relationship with God?  Whether as individuals, as a congregation, or even as a country, what do we place at a higher priority than God our relationship with God?  I’m going to restrain myself and refrain from asking those hard questions.  Even though they’re really good questions . . .
Instead of focusing on those hard but good questions about idolatry, I want to take a look at what happens at the end of the reading from Exodus.  The scene is probably familiar to many of us, especially any of us who have seen “The Ten Commandments” movie.  After Aaron makes a mess and casts a golden idol, God gets seriously ticked off – understandably. 
God has just saved the nation of Israel from slavery in Egypt.  God has just led the people from a long period of enslavement into a new existence of liberation.  God has also seen the people forget that God-given freedom.  God calls the nation of Israel stiff-necked people and accuses them of forgetting the divine goodness. 
God is seriously ticked off – understandably.  God has made a decision.  God has decided to let the divine wrath burn against the forgetful and idolatrous nation of Israel.  But – there’s that theologically rich and important word – but here comes Moses.  Enter Moses who has been on the mountain with God for a long time, receiving the divine laws that will guide the feet of the chosen people.

Creating, Not Possessing – Priestly Pondering, 10/8/17

Vida Dutton Scudder is remembered this week for the passion she brought to the study of Anglican theology.  We also remember her commitment to fight against human greed.  Her ministry is perhaps best summed up in the following quotation: “It is through creating, not possessing, that life is revealed.”  In a culture that so deeply values material possessions – often in a way that is contrary to the words of Jesus – how are we challenged by Vida Dutton Scudder’s words?  How might we respond to her challenge?

Source: Ponderings…

Rubbish – Sermon, 10/8/17

Today’s second reading continues our journey through Paul’s letter to the Philippians.  It might be interesting to know that Paul wrote his letter to the young church in Philippi while he was in prison.  He was sent to jail for his faith in Jesus and for following Christ’s command to spread the Good News to all the world.  Even in jail, though, Paul remains convinced of his God-given gifts for the service of God’s people.  Even in jail, Paul continues his God-given mission to spread the great Good News of God’s love in Jesus Christ.
This section begins with Paul boasting about his qualifications to be a confident apostle.  Paul says he is circumcised – an outward sign of belonging to the Jewish people for men.  Paul says he is a member of the nation of Israel.  Paul says he is of the tribe of Benjamin – one of the twelve tribes of Israel named for Jacob’s twelve sons.  Paul says he has Hebrew parents.  Paul says he is a Pharisee – a religious leader known for being a stickler for the rules and the laws.  Paul says he is a persecutor of the church.  Paul says he is blameless under the law – the many laws that guide the path and direct the feet of faithful people.

The Holy Bible – Priestly Pondering, 10/1/17

Two of the saints we remember this week are William Tyndale and Miles Coverdale.  Their special ministry was to translate the Holy Bible to English.  Before them, the Bible generally only appeared in Latin or Greek, making it inaccessible to most people.  Tyndale and Coverdale passionately believed in the beauty and the power of Holy Scripture and they wanted to make the Bible meaningful for as many people as possible.  Are there parts of the Holy Bible that are especially meaningful to you?  

Source: Ponderings…

Be of the Same Mind – Sermon, 10/1/17

My sister, Tara, and I look nothing alike.  Even as kids, we looked nothing alike.  Tara was always long and lean while I, well, wasn’t.  She had beautiful, wavy hair while mine was stick straight.  Tara had a long face with a cute nose while I had a round face with an average nose.
The differences in our appearances didn’t stop our Nana, our maternal grandmother, from trying to dress us in identical outfits.  There are years and years and years of JC Penny photographs featuring Tara and me in identical dresses.  One year, she even had identical dresses made for Tara, me, and our two favorite Cabbage Patch dolls.  It was mortifying.

Vincent de Paul – Priestly Pondering, 9/24/17

Vincent de Paul is honored among Christians this week for his many good deeds in the service of God’s Kingdom.  He is particularly remembered for his devotion to serving people who are poor.  Vincent showed special compassion for people on the margins of society and trained priests and nuns to serve those most in need.  His vocation – his calling from God – was to be the light of Christ to people who are poor, even those in desperate situations.  Some of us can identify with Vincent’s particular vocation but hopefully all of us know how God is calling us.  Each person is gifted with a calling; discovering and using that vocation in the service of God’s kingdom is up to us as individuals.  What are you doing to get in touch with God’s call?    

Source: Ponderings…

Vincent de Paul – Priestly Pondering, 9/24/17

Vincent de Paul is honored among Christians this week for his many good deeds in the service of God’s Kingdom.  He is particularly remembered for his devotion to serving people who are poor.  Vincent showed special compassion for people on the margins of society and trained priests and nuns to serve those most in need.  His vocation – his calling from God – was to be the light of Christ to people who are poor, even those in desperate situations.  Some of us can identify with Vincent’s particular vocation but hopefully all of us know how God is calling us.  Each person is gifted with a calling; discovering and using that vocation in the service of God’s kingdom is up to us as individuals.  What are you doing to get in touch with God’s call?    

Source: Ponderings…