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Showing posts from May, 2013

Lectionary Notes for Second Sunday after Pentecost, Year C

Readings for Second Sunday after Pentecost, Year C, 6/2/13:
1 Kings 18:20-21, (22-29), 30-39 Psalm 96, Galatians 1:1-12, Luke 7:1-10

1 Kings 18:20-21, (22-29,) 30-39:
"How long will you go limping with two different opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him." What an awesome verse. How often do we do just this - wanting to hedge our bets and live between two things. I'm reminded of Jesus saying, "Let your yes be yes an your no be no." Which is it? Is the Lord God? Then follow!Notice the word "limping" repeated in this passage. Not just what Elijah says, but what the prophets of Baal literally do. "At noon Elijah mocked them, saying, "Cry aloud! Surely he is a god; either he is meditating, or he has wandered away, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened."" Ah, biblical sarcasm. Isn't it great? What are the differences or similarities between what we see the prophets of Baal d…

Sermon for Trinity Sunday, Year C, "Pentecost Aftermath - Stephen," Acts 6:8-15, 7:1-2a, 51-60

Sermon 5/26/13 Acts 6:8-15, 7:1-2a, 51-60
Pentecost Aftermath: Stephen

            Some of you know that I have a real interest in psychological personality types, specifically a model of understanding called the Myers-Briggs Type Indicators. You might have taken this test yourself at some point, or at least be familiar with part of the system. You receive a four letter type – either an E or I – for extrovert/introvert – this is the part many of you many know about yourself already – then either N or S – are you intuiting or sensing? – T or F – thinking or feeling – and J or P – judging or perceiving. If you want to know more about my psyche, I can tell you that I am an INFJ. I usually have couples who are doing premarital counseling go through this personality typing process, because it helps me get to know them, and helps us have conversations about how they relate to each other, particularly in situations that are less than perfect. Sometimes workplaces have employees and bosses take …

Lectionary Notes for Trinity Sunday, Year C

Readings for Trinity, 5/26/13:
Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31, Psalm 8, Romans 5:1-5, John 16:12-15

Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31:
Wisdom, personified as a 'she'. Sophia in the Greek, hence the controversy of the 90s over the ReImagining Conference where some women suggested a feminine imagining of God might be called 'Sophia'. Oh, the uproar it caused! I think that there are so few ways women can find clear cut images of the feminine divine in Christianity, so laden are we with a patriarchal heritage. What is so wrong with identifying with the sophia image? After all, certainly no description of God is all-encompassing, and we have so many names for God. God is Creator, but not Creator only; Physician, but more than that. Parent, but beyond parent only. Is not sophia perhaps another face of God?All that aside: wisdom is created, but with standing, created before other things, standing by the side of God, "daily God's delight, rejoicing before God always."What is wisdom? In …

Sermon for Pentecost, Year C, "Wind and Fire," Acts 2:1-21

Sermon 5/19/13 Acts 2:1-21
Pentecost: Wind and Fire

Happy Birthday! In the Christian Church we celebrate this day, Pentecost Day, as the birthday of the church universal. Pentecost is the biggest birthday celebration I can think of, next to that birthday we celebrate on December 25th. Today is the birthday of the Church. Today, we read about the disciples receiving the Holy Spirit. Today we read about that strange experience where the sound of a mighty rushing wind broke into the house where the followers of Jesus were celebrating Pentecost. Today, we read about the beginnings of Church as we know it – where Peter steps up and finally does what Jesus had been preparing him and the others to do all along: he shares the gospel – tells the Good News about God’s grace to anyone and everyone he can get to listen. Today is meant to be a day of celebration, this day of Pentecost. Our text from Acts opens with the disciples already gathered together. They are gathered together for the celebration…

Lectionary Notes for Pentecost Sunday, Year C

Readings for Pentecost Sunday, 5/19/13:
Acts 2:1-21, Psalm 104:24-34, 35b, Romans 8:14-17, John 14:8-17, (25-27)
Acts 2:1-21:
I have to admit - speaking in tongues is something that I don't connect to, don't understand, and frankly, usually don't take seriously. My only witnessing of speaking in tongues has left me more than a little skeptical. But I can't deny its frequent presence in the scriptures - so where does that leave me? Last year, a girl of approximately 9 year of age read this passage in church on Pentecost, and she whipped through Phrygia and Pamphylia like they were her hometowns. It was amazing. If I think about her reading this passage so flawlessly, I think I can get my head a little bit around the idea of speaking in tongues. When an unlikely vessel communicates an even more unlikely message, with unlikely abilities?Pentecost. In some ways, these scene is one of the most exciting in the Bible. This is the moment of truth - Jesus is dead, risen, and ascen…

Sermon for Ascension Sunday, Luke 24:44-53, Acts 1:1-11

Sermon 5/12/13 Acts 1:1-11, Luke 24:44-53
Ascension Sunday

            What titles are you known by? Do you think titles are important? Next weekend Aaron will graduate with his Doctor of Ministry, and officially earn the title of “Doctor.” I hope to join him in that when I finish my own degree, but really, I still prefer titles like “Her Eminence.” In some churches I have served, people have preferred to call me “Rev. Beth,” while in others, like this one, people more often call me, “Pastor Beth.” Does that make any difference? Aaron recently had his job title for our Conference changed. Previously his title was “Associate Director of Connectional Ministries for Congregational Revitalization.” In theory, the folks who gave him that title thought it helped make clear that his job was part of a certain department in the conference structure. But mostly, it just confused people. Now, his title is just, “Director of Congregational Revitalization.” You can actually tell what he does by his t…

Lectionary Notes for Ascension Sunday

Readings for Ascension Sunday, 5/12/13:
Acts 1:1-11, Psalm 47, Ephesians 1:15-23, Luke 24:44-53

Acts 1:1-11:
Luke's account to Theophilus, Part II. The ascension is such an interesting part of what happens to Jesus, in that, for most, it is something we care about least. Where does it fit in our Christian faith? Is Jesus' ascension important?For me, the importance of the ascension is that we are now left without Jesus physically present - that means we have to do it now - we have to do the work that he has been teaching and teaching about. No excuses, no right-there Jesus to do it for us. Just the Holy Spirit to be our Advocate. Jesus' ascension means that Jesus really is asking us to get to work.Ah, those men in white robes again. They're almost like stage directions in a script - they let you know what's going on that is not, apparently, obvious in any other way. I think if I ran accross them they would raise more questions for me than they would answer!Luke says th…

Sermon, "Not-So-Secrets of New Life: Committed," John 15:1-11

Sermon 5/5/2013 John 15:1-11
Not-So-Secrets of New Life: Committed

            Today is the last Sunday in our series the Not-So-Secrets of New Life. Since Easter morning, we’ve been talking about the promise of resurrection, the promise of new life, and how we can claim that new life, how we can start living as people who are resurrected, new creations. Resurrection, doubt, simplicity, generosity, love, and today: commitment. Commitment is a funny, loaded word that we use in multiple ways. We get asked to make a lot of commitments in life. When a bank makes you a loan, like when you’re buying a home and taking out a mortgage, there’s a commitment letter between you and the bank: the bank commits to lending you money, and you commit to providing them documentation about every single thing in your life, as far as I can tell! You might notice that a lot of advertising today will focus on the fact that you can get their product commitment-free, which certainly implies that a commitment is a…