In times past, wagon wheels – precious, hard-to-construct possessions – were brought inside and hung high and dry to protect them from the elements. The annual winter ritual may be the origin of the Advent wreath.
That’s about how many lives this congregation has touched in the past twelve months!
Salt of the Earth
Salt is worth nothing unless it is applied to something else – whether for preserving or seasoning. Christians play the role of “salt of the earth” by applying ourselves to preserve what is good in the world and season what is bland.
Wrestling with God
Jacob, in Genesis 32, wrestled with a mysterious being often identified as God or a representative of God. There he was, minding his own business, camping out and all alone along the Jabbok River, and the next thing he knows he’s grappling with some person who appeared from nowhere and approached Jacob for no apparent reason. Neither wrestler gained an advantage, although they struggled with each other through the night and into dawn.
The Library of Forgiveness
Summer is a time of family get-togethers, class reunions and other moments when we reconnect and reacquaint. At those times, it’s likely that we will meet up with someone whom we resent, someone who brings back bad memories.
Faith in 3D
But when we interpret our scriptures through the lens of our own context, experiences, science, reason, intellect, and ongoing revelation, then the book comes alive for us today. The Bible is 3D. No goofy glasses needed.
Were You There?
Can you imagine it? The fear and sadness and utter failure that Peter and the other disciples were feeling after Jesus’ execution? It had been a long week – arriving in Jerusalem to wild praise and high hopes, and then watching the dream slip from their grasp. Actually it had been a long three years – exciting and dangerous and astounding – but long.
Spirituality and Justice
As we take up our Lenten journey in earnest this month, we may be tempted to think in terms of “individual spirituality” vs. “doing justice.” Lent is a season that lends itself to withdrawal, when we take a deeper look at our own faith, spirituality and beliefs. The state of political and social discourse is so mean and acerbic that it is natural to want to get away from it, to go inside ourselves and leave the matters of the world to others.
The Journey of Our Lives
The six weeks between Ash Wednesday and Easter are a time to remember Jesus’ journey to the cross and how we might walk that journey with him in our own time and place. Lent is an opportunity to look back at our disappointments—in ourselves, our families, our communities, our world, even in our God—and then look forward to the amazement of what can still come.
With Doors Wide Open
In the past several months, we opened the doors to new visions and possibilities. We said we are prepared to make the changes necessary to ensure that our church is a safe place for all people – particularly lesbian and gay folks, women, and those who have been abused and battered. We opened the doors of our minds to new ways of helping usher in God’s Realm here on Earth. Our doors are standing wide open. So now what?
Waiting With Purpose
Advent is a complex, complicated and confusing time. Advent comes from the Latin word meaning “coming.” The season is about the eager anticipation of God’s reign coming in fullness and the joyful anticipation of the coming of the Messiah.
We’ve almost made it to the end of the 2012 political campaign season. Election Day is nearly upon us, and we can all give thanks that radio, television and internet ads will soon return to the comfortable topics of toilet paper and diet soda.
We are entering the final month of the 2012 presidential election campaign, and I, for one, am ready for it to be over. I’m tired of the endless back-and-forth. I’m ready to be done worrying about whether my candidate will win, and what a loss will mean for our country. Can’t we just vote now?
Let ‘Em In
In Bible stories, God comes to people in their dreams and angels appear in visions. God appears at the doorsteps of people like Abram and Sarai. The Spirit appears at the window to people like Mary, the mother of Jesus. God is a wrestler approaching Jacob in the desert. God walks through the Garden, calling out for Eve and Adam.
One in God’s Love
Progressive Christians realize that God is bigger than any one religion and that there are many paths to the divine.
Turn Around and Look at God
The Book of Jonah is one of my favorites in the Bible. Not only is it short, but I can relate to Jonah. He is stubborn, pouty, depressed and mouthy! If God can work through someone like that, then maybe I have a chance, too!
Setting Our Path
Jesus knew where he was going. He had a clear vision of his purpose and what lay ahead. And he marched ahead, aware that parts of his mission would be painful and parts glorious. He never lost sight of his goals and calling.
Wake Up, Die and Live Again
Easter provides us with the opportunity to remember God’s renewing love. Every morning we wake up to the possibility of dying to our old life and resurrecting into something new.
Forgiveness and Healing for Lent
Life often seems unfair. We all face situations in which someone harms or wrongs us, either intentionally or accidentally. We may be struggling with unfairness or injustice.
Lent is a Time for Hope
Lent begins this month, and we’ll be talking a lot about the contemplative nature of this special Christian season. In Lent we prepare ourselves and open our hearts to the wonders and pains and miracles and miracles to come in the story of Jesus. Even as we brace ourselves for the cruelty that he suffered, we try to remember the hope of his words, deeds and actions.
Christmas All Year
Feeling a bit of post-holiday letdown? We spend weeks (sometimes months!) preparing for Christmas. We shop, decorate, wrap, bake, sing, worship, pray. We often feel closer to God than at any other time of year. We pull out our wallets and open our hearts. We take care of those who are less fortunate.
Someone Who’s Worth the Wait
Hurry up and wait! Slow down and do something! Wait patiently for the coming of Christ! Hurry up and prepare the way of the Lord! God is here! God is coming! What are we to make of the contradictory and conflicting messages of Advent?
Love and Shopping
Love comes in many forms. This month we will love workers in developing countries who produce handicrafts, coffee, cocoa, sugar, tea, textiles, chocolate and any number of other goods.
Life is Different Now
“Life is different now” was the theme of last month’s Rocky Mountain Conference Annual Meeting. Every step into the future takes us further from what we know. Like most mainline churches, ours is one of aging membership, fewer visitors, busier lives and fewer resources.