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Showing posts from September, 2019

It’s a Ghost Town -- A Lectionary Reflection for Pentecost 17C (Lamentations 1)

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Lamentations 1:1-6 New Revised Standard Version(NRSV)
How lonely sits the city
    that once was full of people!
How like a widow she has become,
    she that was great among the nations!
She that was a princess among the provinces
    has become a vassal. She weeps bitterly in the night,
    with tears on her cheeks;
among all her lovers
    she has no one to comfort her;
all her friends have dealt treacherously with her,
    they have become her enemies. Judah has gone into exile with suffering
    and hard servitude;
she lives now among the nations,
    and finds no resting place;
her pursuers have all overtaken her
    in the midst of her distress. The roads to Zion mourn,
    for no one comes to the festivals;
all her gates are desolate,
    her priests groan;
her young girls grieve,
    and her lot is bitter. Her foes have become the masters,
    her enemies prosper,
because the Lord has made her suffer
    for the multitude of her transgressions;
her children have gone awa…

Established on the Rivers -- A River Crossings Reflection

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Psalm 24New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)Of David. A Psalm.1 The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it,
the world, and those who live in it;
2 for he has founded it on the seas,
and established it on the rivers. 3 Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord?
And who shall stand in his holy place?
4 Those who have clean hands and pure hearts,
who do not lift up their souls to what is false,
and do not swear deceitfully.
5 They will receive blessing from the Lord,
and vindication from the God of their salvation.
6 Such is the company of those who seek him,
who seek the face of the God of Jacob.[a]Selah

Let Us Go to the Mountain of the Lord

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2 The word that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. 2 In days to come
the mountain of the Lord’s house
shall be established as the highest of the mountains,
and shall be raised above the hills;
all the nations shall stream to it.
3 Many peoples shall come and say,
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
to the house of the God of Jacob;
that he may teach us his ways
and that we may walk in his paths.”
For out of Zion shall go forth instruction,
and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
4 He shall judge between the nations,
and shall arbitrate for many peoples;
they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,neither shall they learn war any more.   
(I

Seeking God's Design (Richard Lowery, et al) -- A Review

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SEEKING GOD’S DESIGN: Disciples' Quest for Unity and Wholeness. Edited by Richard H. Lowery, Lawrence A. Q. Burnley, D. Duane Cummins, & Peter M. Morgan. Foreword by Teresa Hord Owens. St. Louis: CBP, 2019.  Vi + 154 pages.

           The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) —my denomination—was born on the American frontier at the turn of the nineteenth century. It eschewed the nomenclature of “denomination” for much of its early life. Those who followed the path of the Campbells and Barton Stone preferred to see themselves as part of a movement of reform and even restoration rather than being part of a traditional denomination (even though it had all the trappings of one). However, by the middle of the twentieth century, many in the Movement (often referred to as the Brotherhood) began to seek full-fledged denominational status. Those who supported such a status believed that to do otherwise was to deny the true identity of this entity known by then as the Christian Churche…

On Pilgrimage - Across the Rivers

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I have returned from a European trip that took Cheryl and me from Zurich to Amsterdam. Along the way we traveled from the fount of the Swiss Reformation -- the Gross Munster, the church served by Ulrich Zwingli -- to a land of religious toleration (the Netherlands). Along the way we visited as many churches as we could---I would have done more, but time didn't permit them all to be visited. We visited grand Gothic Cathedrals (Strasbourg and Cologne), the largest Romanesque church in existence (the Cathedral at Speyer), and several Baroque-era churches, some of which were Catholic and some were Protestant. 
Before I meditate a bit on the nature of pilgrimage, I will simply say that Cheryl and I were blessed to be on this trip across Switzerland and then down the Rhine River. That the congregation understood the value of a sabbatical and that sabbatical grants are available that allow clergy to take trips of a lifetime can't be taken lightly. Thanks be to God for this opportuni…

There Will Be a Future - A Lectionary Reflection for Pentecost 16C (Jeremiah 32)

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Jeremiah 32:1-3a, 6-15  New Revised Standard Version(NRSV) 32 The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord in the tenth year of King Zedekiah of Judah, which was the eighteenth year of Nebuchadrezzar. 2 At that time the army of the king of Babylon was besieging Jerusalem, and the prophet Jeremiah was confined in the court of the guard that was in the palace of the king of Judah, 3 where King Zedekiah of Judah had confined him.

6 Jeremiah said, The word of the Lord came to me: 7 Hanamel, son of your uncle Shallum, is going to come to you and say, “Buy my field that is at Anathoth, for the right of redemption by purchase is yours.” 8 Then my cousin Hanamel came to me in the court of the guard, in accordance with the word of the Lord, and said to me, “Buy my field that is at Anathoth in the land of Benjamin, for the right of possession and redemption is yours; buy it for yourself.” Then I knew that this was the word of the Lord.

9 And I bought the field at Anathoth from my cousin Hanamel, a…

Is there No Balm In Gilead -- a sermon from September 2001 reposted (Jeremiah 8)

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The lectionary offers Jeremiah 8:18-9:1 for this week. I'm not preaching today, but I thought I might reshare the sermon I preached from this passage on the second Sunday after the events of September 11, 2001. It has been eighteen years. I've shared the sermon before but thought it fitting to again share it. I will admit that this sermon didn't sit well with some in my congregation.  I was calling for the healing of our souls to begin while many were still seething with anger.  Looking back, I understand this better, but I also believe that we have allowed the wound to fester for so long that it has undermined the American soul. We are seeing the effects today in the growing polarization of the land. We came together for a moment in time to grieve, and we expressed hope of a new day, but that quickly gave way to bickering and alienation. So, perhaps now is the time to once again ask:  "Is there no balm in Gilead?"

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Jeremiah 8:18-9:1

In last …