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Showing posts from March, 2020

Sermon for the Fifth Sunday in Lent, "Liminal Lent: Ruth & Naomi," Ruth 1:1-2:12

Sermon 3/29/2020 Ruth 1:1-2:12
Liminal Lent: Ruth & Naomi
Today is the last Sunday in Lent before we move into Holy Week, and so it is our last week to focus explicitly, at least, on this theme of Liminal Lent, even as we suspect our global liminal season will last for some time yet. As a reminder, or for those of you who are joining us for the first time today, liminal literally means threshold, and is meant to refer to the in-between-ness we experience sometimes, that place between endings and beginnings, the seasons of transition when we’re between there and here. We’ve been spending this Lent studying stories of liminal seasons in the Bible, because even though these in-between, liminal seasons can be disorienting and uncomfortable, they can also be seasons when it is easier for us to hear and respond to God’s call on our life.  Today, we turn our attention to the book of Ruth. Ruth is a short book of the Bible, and I encourage you to give the whole book a read this week. We’re to…

Sermon for the Fourth Sunday in Lent, "Liminal Lent: Joseph," Genesis 39-40

Sermon 3/22/2020 Genesis 39 & 40
Liminal Lent: Joseph
I know some of you are joining us online for worship today who haven’t been with us throughout our season of Lent, so for you and as a reminder for others, I want to explain our worship theme. Our theme this Lent is “Liminal Lent.” Liminal means literally “threshold.” Think of crossing the threshold of a doorway. For a moment, when you cross over, you’re in two places at once - one foot in one room, and one foot in the next room. But you’re also not fully in either room. You’re in the in-between place. That in-between place is liminal space. And liminal space then also refers to time periods, seasons in our lives when we’re in-between, in transition, that time between endings and beginnings. We chose that for our worship theme here in Gouverneur because we’re in a liminal season as a congregation and as a denomination, and even the church as a whole is in a liminal season. But as things have unfolded, we suddenly also find ourselv…

Sermon for the Third Sunday in Lent, "Liminal Lent: Noah," Genesis 6:11-14, 17-22, 7:1-2, 17-24, 8:1-14

Sermon 3/2/2020 Genesis 6:11-14, 17-22, 7:1-2, 17-24, 8:1-14

Liminal Lent: Noah

I’ve struggled this week with my sermon. In part, I’ve struggled because Noah’s Ark is a hard story. Even though we love the imagery of all the animals together on the pretty boat, such that it is not uncommon to find children’s nurseries decorated in ark themes, such that you can buy a “Precious Moments 2 by 2 Noah’s Ark Night Light” set, what precipitates the need for an ark, of course, is the destruction of most of humanity and creation by God. Oof. Corrupt and violent adults, yes, but also their children and infants and all creatures too. What sense can we make of that? What hope can we find in that?  And then, of course, I’ve struggled because, in some strange connections to our end-of-the-world kind of scripture text, we are experiencing our own world-changing event right now in this coronavirus, COVID-19. Schools are canceled and events are canceled and trips are canceled and some places are canceling w…

Sermon for the Second Sunday in Lent, "Liminal Lent: Adam & Eve," Genesis 3:1-13, 22-24

Sermon 3/2/2020 Genesis 3:1-13, 22-24
Liminal Lent: Adam & Eve
Our worship theme this year is Liminal Lent. I got to talk with folks who attended Ash Wednesday worship about what this theme means, and then last week we had the joy of welcoming Woven & Spun to our worship service, and so some of you haven’t yet had a chance to dig in to understanding what this theme is all about. So, I’m going to share with you a bit of what I shared with folks on Ash Wednesday, so you know why we’re talking about this liminal thing this season. At the recommendation of our District Superintendent Mike Weeden, I recently read a book called, How to Lead When You Don’t Know Where You’re Going by Susan Beaumont. The subtitle of the book is: Leading in a Liminal Season.  Liminal means “threshold.” Think about the doorway into a room. As you step over the threshold, you are in an in-between space, not fully in the room you’re leaving, and not fully in the room you are entering. You’re in both places at …