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Showing posts from January, 2012

Report of the Pastor, Mark 1:14-20

Report of the Pastor Mark 1:14-20 1/22/12
Five Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand Six Hundred Minutes. Five Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand Moments so dear. Five Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand Six Hundred Minutes. How Do You Measure - Measure A Year? In Daylights - In Sunsets, In Midnights - In Cups of Coffee, In Inches - In Miles, In Laughter - In Strife, In - Five Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand Six Hundred Minutes. How Do You Measure a Year In The Life? How About Love? How About Love? How About Love? Measure In Love. Seasons of Love. You might recognize these lyrics from the song Seasons of Love from the musical Rent. The words ask us how we can assess the value of a year in our life. Is it just seconds and minutes, or more than that? Is it expressions of love? I have been wondering the same thing about our year here at First United. How do we measure it? Like the song suggests, I hope what all of our actions add up to are expressions of love for God and one another. You may remember my January new…

Sermon for Second Sunday after Epiphany, All Things New: Samuel, 1 Samuel 3:1-10

Sermon 1/15/12 1 Samuel 3:1-10, Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18

All Things New: Samuel

You might remember me mentioning during Advent that Mary's song in the gospel of Luke, the Magnificat, is extremely similar to Hannah's song in the Old Testament, when she gives thanks to God for the life of her child, after years where she was not able to give birth. Hannah is so thankful, and had prayed so fervently for a child that she promised God she would dedicate that child to God's service – and so she did. She gave Samuel to service in the temple, and that is just where we find him today – in the temple, serving under the guidance of the priest Eli. Our passage opens with the narrator noting that “The word of the Lord was rare in those days; visions were not widespread.” This kind of comment is not unusual in the Old Testament. When we read about leaders and judges and kings, we often hear a quick description of whether they followed God or did what was evil in God's sight. So, here we re…

Sermon for Baptism of the Lord, All Things New: Baptism, Mark 1:4-11

Sermon 1/8/12 Mark 1:4:-11 All Things New: Baptism

Last month my friend Heather was expressing her frustration with the process of trying to get her sixteen year old daughter a learning permit to drive. Somewhere along the way, they had misplaced her Social Security card, which they needed to get her permit. Well, in order to get a new Social Security card, you need your birth certificate, which proves your citizenship, but you also need proof of identity – like a driver's license – which obviously she didn’t have. Of course, it turns out that you can also use a photo student ID card or a photo credit card or something like that, but proving your identity isn’t so easy. Not too long ago I also read an article about people who had accidentally been declared dead in paperwork even though they were quite alive. Somehow names and information got mixed up, and these folks had ended up with bank accounts frozen, unable to get loans or credit, had stopped receiving things like social secur…

Sermon for Epiphany Sunday: All Things New - Square One

Sermon 1/1/12 Matthew 2:1-12, Isaiah 60:1-6

All ThingsNew: Square One We have many directions we could possibly go in today. We are still in the season of Christmas – today can be called the First Sunday after Christmas Day on the liturgical calendar, the church-year calendar. There are a set of lectionary readings that we don’t often get to hear, where Jesus is presented in the temple, according to Jewish tradition, and Mary and Joseph and the child Jesus meet Anna and Simeon. If you don’t know the story, I encourage you to read the rest of Luke 2, the part that happens after the nativity story. That could have been our focus today. But today we will hear the scriptures for Epiphany. Epiphany technically takes place on January 6th, after the twelve days of Christmas. It is the day when we celebrate the Magi coming to see Jesus and bringing him gifts, significant because it represents that Jesus is light to the whole world, not just a chosen few. But since we usually don’t have special E…