Sunday, July 30, 2017

July 30, 2017 - the 8th Sunday after Pentecost

Readings for Today (track 1).

Listen to the Sermon.

Today is one of my favorite feast days of the entire year because today we remember William Wilberforce.  You might remember a movie about his life called “Amazing Grace” that came out about 10 years ago. Born into wealth in England in 1759. Elected to the House of Commons at the age of 21. He used his eloquence and charm, informed by his faith, to crusade uncompromisingly and single-mindedly for the abolition of slavery and the slave trade - for the entirety of his 45 years in the House.  The Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 had its final reading in the House of Commons just 3 days before his death, and became law the following year.

What I love about William Wilberforce is his passion and persistence in holding out a vision that the society he lived in could and should change, to be more just and life-giving for a class of people who were essentially invisible.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

July 23, 2017 - the 7th Sunday after Pentecost

Readings for the Day (track 1).

Listen to the Sermon.

I have a confession to make.  I have trouble reading parts of Paul’s letter to the Romans because he and I think very differently on a number of theological points.  I understand that Paul was a zealous convert, that he was working out some of his own issues in his theology (aren’t we all?), and that his letter to the Romans is working to emphasize the salvific difference between Roman culture and following the life and teachings of Jesus.

And, my learned and lived theology says that our physical selves and our spiritual selves are not separate, but together make us who we are.  God created us whole and holy, in human bodies, with tendencies to pride and anger, fear and shame.  And God created us with the ability to examine our lives, and to choose daily to live lives more reflective of our God.  

Sunday, July 16, 2017

July 16, 2017 - the 6th Sunday after Pentecost

Readings for the Day (Track 1).

Listen to the Sermon.

About 10 years ago the United Church of Christ (UCC) started a campaign, with big church banners that say, “God is still speaking,”?[1]  Red script letters on a white background.  As an English major, the thing that first caught my attention was that the phrase ends with a comma – it’s unfinished.  As a person of faith, the second thing I noticed was the message itself:  God is still speaking, with a comma for a breath and a next phrase.  The Word of God is not finished.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

July 9, 2017 - the 5th Sunday after Pentecost

Readings for the Day (Track 1).

Listen to the Sermon.

What are your favorite things to do on a beautiful summer day like today? [Take responses from the congregation]
I was out for a walk yesterday, marveling at the perfection of summer here - not too hot or humid, a light breeze of sweet fresh air, and blue skies. This is a great time for recreation and rest.  
By definition, to rest is cease work or movement in order to relax, refresh oneself, or recover strength.  Rest is good for us humans.  Good for us physically, mentally, psychologically, and spiritually.   

Sunday, July 2, 2017

July 2, 2017 - the 4th Sunday after Pentecost: Proper 8

Readings of the Day (track 1).

Listen to the Sermon.

Why are we reading this story of Abraham nearly sacrificing Isaac?  As a parent, this is a truly horrifying story.  I’m not sure my faith in God is that secure.  Why is this story preserved in holy scripture?  What is it telling us about life with God?