Showing posts from November, 2013

A Sabbath Journey Ends

On September 1, Cheryl and I attended worship at Rochester Church of Christ.  Thus began a three month sabbatical journey that I have entitled “Reclaiming a Founding Vision.”  Tomorrow morning I’ll be “back to work” at Central Woodward Christian Church.  I return rested and ready to take up the calling of serving as pastor of Central Woodward, along with my other responsibilities in the church and community.  I’ve been fortunate to have this opportunity, provided by the church, an opportunity that I encourage colleagues to take up themselves.  I return on the First Sunday of Advent, and while we’ll be sharing in a service of Hanging of the Greens tomorrow so that I don’t have major responsibilities, it is fitting that I return on the morn when the church starts a new liturgical year.  We begin with a sense of expectation that God is with us as we move into the future. 
            During this journey I have been pondering not only the future or the present, but the past as well.  I sta…

Thanksgiving 2013: "So Far From Want" -- Sightings

I heard that on Thanksgiving the average American will eat 4500 calories during the Thanksgiving Meal. I can believe it. I probably did eat that much. For many of us, Thanksgiving is a time to enjoy the abundance that is ouirs. But for others around us, such is not the case. While some enjoy the bounty others go without. This is, in many ways, the message of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, which the family and I saw on Thanksgiving Day.  I won't say more so as not to offer any spoilers, but if you've seen the movie or read the book you know what I'm talking about.  In this edition of Sightings, Jeanne Bishop, a Public Defender from Chicago, offers us a reminder that not all enjoy the bounty.  She reminds us of the true meaning of scarcity.  Pope Francis has been calling us to focus on those who hunger and thirst.  Thanksgiving might be a good time to take stock of our realities. Thanksgiving Day is over -- having been swallowed up by the encroachment of Black Frida…

Thanksgiving Reflections -- 2013

It is Thanksgiving Morning.  I am blessed with family, friends, and a faith community I'm privileged to serve.  I am a child of God, living in relationship with God in Christ through the Spirit.  
Thanksgiving Day has always had a harvest theme -- one that goes back to the Hebrew Bible.  Even though I've always lived in the city and gathered my food not from the land itself, but from the grocery store (there are some who question the validity of a harvest based holiday in an urban age, but I think that there is sufficient imagination that we can get the picture).  I grew up with Psalm 100 as the central text of the day, for it is an invitation to join with the rest of creation in making a "joyful noise to the Lord"  
1 Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth.
2 Worship the Lord with gladness;
come into his presence with singing. 3 Know that the Lord is God.
It is he that made us, and we are his;[a]
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. 4 Enter his gates w…

Awaken to God -- Alternative Lections for Advent 2 (David Ackerman)

During this holiday season it is easy to lose track of the presence of God. We get caught up in the commercial aspects and neglect to remember the spiritual foundations. But these texts remind us of God's active presence. God is in the business of entering our lives and bringing transformation. The apocalyptic elements might be difficult to wrestle with, but the apocalyptic, that sense of God's purposeful entry into our midst to bring into existence the reign of God, is central to the season and to our faith.  Advent invites us to look forward into the future to the time in which God brings into being the fulness of God's realm.  In the meantime, these texts from David Ackerman's alternative lectionary -- Beyond the Lectionary: A Year of Alternatives to the Revised Common Lectionary--  invite us to remain faithful even during difficult times.


Advent 2
“Awaken to God”
Call to Worship: Psalm 57:8-11 NRSV
One: Awake, …

Is it Time Yet? -- Lectionary Reflection for Advent 1A

Matthew 24:36-44 -- Common English Bible (CEB)
36 “But nobody knows when that day or hour will come, not the heavenly angels and not the Son. Only the Father knows. 37 As it was in the time of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Human One.[a]38 In those days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark. 39 They didn’t know what was happening until the flood came and swept them all away. The coming of the Human One[b] will be like that. 40 At that time there will be two men in the field. One will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding at the mill. One will be taken and the other left. 42 Therefore, stay alert! You don’t know what day the Lord is coming. 43 But you understand that if the head of the house knew at what time the thief would come, he would keep alert and wouldn’t allow the thief to break into his house. 44 Therefore, you also should be prepared, because the Human One[c] will c…

Exorcism -- Sightings (Martin Marty)

When we who are religious leaders speak or act in a liturgical/sacerdotal manner, we must always keep in mind how this is perceived.  What is the message -- intended or not.  Martin Marty, who is always a keen observer of such things, reflects on a recent liturgical act -- an exorcism -- that comes across as a political stunt.  I invite you to read and reflect on the message of this Week's Sightings essay.

Exorcism by MARTIN E. MARTY
Monday | Nov 25 2013Jesus casting out demons (Sant'Apollinare Nuovo, Ravenna, Italy)           Nick Thompson / flickr Non right-wing activists who read Embattled Ecumenism by Jill Gill will get the chills as they read of events (up to 1963) that led to travails for one element in American religion. Boise State professor Gill, in a well-researched and even-handedly written history, shows how the leaders of The National Council of Churches, even if/when their positions were appropriate, failed to effect positive purpos…