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Showing posts from February, 2009

Revgals Friday Five: Forks in the Road

I don't often 'play' Friday Five, but given my own current state of transition , and my own recent thoughts about "What Might Have Been," this "fork in the road" Friday Five caught my attention. Over at RevGalBlogPals , Singing Owl writes: I am at a life-changing juncture. I do not know which way I will go, but I have been thinking about the times, people and events that changed my life (for good or ill) in significant ways. For today's Friday Five, share with us five "fork-in-the-road" events, or persons, or choices. And how did life change after these forks in the road? 1. My path into ordained ministry was like my own faith journey - marked not by a 'conversion' moment, but by what I would describe more as a 'strainer' experience. The jumbled pieces of what I thought constituted a call from God into first camping ministry and then youth ministry were all poured into a strainer, and what was left behind was a clear callin

Sermon for Ash Wednesday (non-lectionary)

(Sermon 2/25/09, Mark 8:27-38) Who Do You Say that I Am? Today, Lent begins with this service of Ashes, as we pause to think about our own mortality, our own finite nature, and as we consider what it means to repent and turn back towards God. This year, we’ll use music from Jesus Christ Superstar at our 10am service to help us think about this Lenten journey, to help us think about how and why and if we are willing to follow Jesus on the path to the cross. You know already that Superstar is my favorite musical. I started going to see a local annual production of Superstar when I was in seventh grade, and since then, I have seen Superstar on stage in various settings about 30 times. I’ve worn out multiple cassette tapes and CDs from overuse. I could probably perform a one-woman version of the show all by myself. And when I wrote my senior religion paper in undergrad, Jesus Christ Superstar figured heavily into my project. So you know I love Superstar . But you

Lenten Disciplines

I've been giving some consideration to what Lenten Discipline I might take up for the season, or what I might 'give up' for Lent. 'Giving up' something is not a task I always take. My most 'successful' year was the year I gave up Diet Coke for Lent. Giving up soda provided, actually, some unexpected theological reflections . Other years I've tried (and failed) to go vegan for the season, or just skipped giving something up at all. I've been successful in 'taking up' something like a more disciplined devotional time, etc. I have vivid memories of my friend Marianne in high-school who gave up chocolate for Lent. One day in Sunday School, we had Girl Scout cookies - Tagalongs , the best of all Girl Scout cookies. She scraped off all the chocolate and ate the peanut butter inside. Dedication. Around the blogosphere/facebook this year, I've seen people giving up facebook (not gonna happen for me), eating out (intriguing - would be sadly tough

Sermon for Transfiguration Sunday

(Sermon 2/22/09, Mark 9:2-9) Afterwards Today is Transfiguration Sunday. I’m betting most of you are not even sure what Transfiguration Sunday is, and that’s hardly a surprise – it’s not really ‘up there’ with Advent and Lent, and it isn’t really part of any season, just the last Sunday in this ambiguous time that we call the Season after the Epiphany. It’s a last stop before Lent begins this week with Ash Wednesday. That’s where it falls in the calendar. But what is Transfiguration Sunday about exactly? What does it celebrate? Well, the answer to this question you might not find particularly compelling either – at first. But I hope to change that, at least a little, by the end of this sermon! Transfiguration Sunday celebrates the transfiguration of Jesus. And the transfiguration itself is hard to describe, but we might understand it as Jesus’ true nature – all his divinity, his godliness – momentarily being seen while he still walked on earth

Obama & The Sunny Side

Sorry for the lack of posting - I just got home from back to back retreats - a CCYM Retreat, and a Young Clergy Retreat, both of which I may write about later in the week. In the meantime, I'm busy working on a short article for a peace council newsletter about positive steps in the Obama Administration so far. I have some things I definitely plan to include. What would you add to the list?

Sermon for Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany (Using Third Epiphany Text)

Sermon 2/8/09 (Epiphany 3B text, preached out of turn), Mark 1:14-20 Immediately You might think it a mundane word, an insignificant word in the scriptures. But actually, the word immediately, euthus in Ancient Greek, is one of my favorite Greek words in the Bible. It occurs frequently in the scriptures, twice in today’s passage alone, but its commonality shouldn’t make us overlook it, thinking it is only as important as other common throw-away words like “and” and “the”. “Immediately” – it’s a word with scriptural power. Immediately . Immediately is word with a sense of urgency. It has a sense of purpose – something important is at stake with “immediately.” It is a hurried word. Think for a moment about what does and doesn’t happen with immediacy in our world. We’re a very time-conscious world. On the one hand, we are a people that want everything right now . We have a desire, as a society, for quick, easy, faster, and more convenient things. There’s Kraft Chees

Harder Things

A couple of years ago, I wrote that the hardest thing in ministry was announcing to a congregation that you were moving on to a new appointment. I can now add a little bit to that: it's even harder to do when you're leaving quite a bit sooner than anyone (including yourself) anticipated, and when you have to share that you've requested the move yourself. Today, it was announced at FLUMC that I will be moving back to the North Central New York Annual Conference , where I have maintained my membership while serving here in New Jersey . This move comes as a result of a lot of struggle, prayer, and discernment on my part. When I came to this appointment, I felt like I was being appointed to just the right place at just the right time, and I certainly don't think I was wrong about that. I've just been surprised to discover that my journey here will be much shorter than I first thought it would be, and that perhaps the plans I've had in mind for myself weren't t