Church Pulpit Posts
In The House at Pooh Corner, Winnie the Pooh is asked what he likes doing best in the world. He starts to say eating honey, but then reflects that there is “a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn’t know what it was called.”….
As we inch closer to the summer months, we may be starting to look forward to the possibilities that the season could bring. Most of all, we may be hoping for a more relaxed pace to life, a time when things slow down a little, and we can find some rest and renewal. Some among us, though, may have trouble with the idea of relaxing and slowing down ― or even if we want to do it, we find it very hard to shift out of our more usual compulsion to accomplish things. (In case you’re wondering, yes, I count myself in that group!) If you find yourself in that category too, I encourage you to read the passage above again ― Pooh and Christopher Robin might help us reframe things!
Our Adult Forum on Stewardship last Sunday focused on caring for the environment. In preparing to lead the session, I came upon a website for JUMP (www.takethejump.org). JUMP is a grass roots environmental movement inspired by research from Leeds University in the UK, asking people to commit to six behavioral shifts to help the health of the planet. While the site for JUMP grants that corporate and legal entities bear a huge responsibility for addressing climate chaos, it also insists that individuals and their choices also have an important role to play….
Our Adult Forum conversations during Lent focused on poetry as a way into seasonal themes. The conversations shared over five Sundays were insightful and generous, and although we will be moving on to a series exploring Stewardship this Sunday, I offer one more poem to contemplate during Eastertide: Miracles by the 19th century poet Walt Whitman…
Many of you will be reading this on Friday afternoon/evening, or on Saturday, after the Good Friday service has concluded but before the first celebrations of Easter. It is a strange time, a liminal space, a deep pause. We are soaked in the awful and terrible story of the crucifixion, and we try to sit with our grief. But of course we have walked this road many times before, and we know that the sorrow and fear and trauma do not get the last word.
When confronted with an uncomfortable array of feelings, what better response than to pray? I encourage you to find the service for Holy Saturday in your Book of Common Prayer (https://www.bcponline.org) on page 283. It is a very simple service consisting solely of prayers and suggested readings….
A “threshold” is commonly understood as a strip at the bottom of a door, over which one must cross in order to enter a different space. We cross a threshold from room to room, or from indoors to out. But there is a secondary definition to this word: a magnitude or intensity that must be exceeded for a certain reaction, phenomenon, result or condition to occur or be manifested.
We are at the threshold of Holy Week. We are about to relive the events that steer the momentum of this story toward Jesus’ death. The liturgies of Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, and Good Friday pull us into God’s time and space. Our worship this week is structured differently. It has a unique rhythm. It highlights a unique reality…..
Although we find it easy to be distracted by many voices in our world, it is crucial that we as Christians be focused on serving Jesus in intentional ways.
We are just past the midway point in our Lenten Journey being Disciples of Christ. Discipleship is a way if life. It means that we align ourselves with Jesus. We seek to follow his ways. We hunger to have a relationship with him.
Jesus is more than someone we read about in a book. We can read about famous people, we can appreciate their courage in the face of persecution and adversity. They may still be with us or have past on but Jesus lives with us now. He is the same, yesterday, today and forever. He’s our eternal and living savior….
Today, March 25, is the Feast of the Annunciation, when we commemorate the visit of the archangel Gabriel to Mary. A popular subject with painters throughout Christian history, the Annunciation is often portrayed as an inevitable encounter. Gabriel tells Mary that she will be the mother of Jesus the Christ. Mary responds with a resounding “yes” to Gabriel’s pronouncement: “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.”….
Blessed St. Patrick gets all the attention this week, but today, March 18, the Church remembers another saint who had a formative impact on the way we worship at this time of year: Cyril of Jerusalem, Bishop and Theologian.
Cyril was born around 315 in Jerusalem, only a decade before one of the big Councils of the Church took place in Nicea in 325. Cyril became a bishop in about 349 and soon became embroiled in the theological controversy that came out of that Council ― namely, how to properly express the Son’s relationship with the Father. In trying to find a way that satisfied multiple constituencies, Cyril ended up pleasing no one. In fact, he was exiled from his bishopric three times, for a total of sixteen years! In 381, at the Council of Constantinople, he voted along with the majority for the original position espoused at the Council of Nicea and included in our Nicene Creed: the Son is “of one being with the Father.”…
As has been announced in various ways, Holy Apostles is in the preliminary stages of a multi-faceted capital project. One of our first steps has been to hire a consulting firm to assist us in creating a case for supporting the work. This process includes interviews with various “stakeholders”: staff, guests, volunteers and donors. Once the consultants hear from a wide swath of interested parties, they will weave together aspects of engagement in our common life and build materials that help us articulate the important benefits of the project.
During my interview the questions were far reaching and wide ranging. We discussed details of CHA and HASK as well as hopes and dreams for the future. At one point, my interviewer asked me about using terms like “vulnerability” and “need” when referring to our HASK guests. The point of the question was clear: such terms, even when accurate, help maintain distance between groups of people. Those designated as “in need” must be different from those who are responding to those needs—and not in a good way….
Daily we make decisions as to what to do in our life’s journey, but before we ask, what will the people think about our decision, let’s ask, “What will God think about our decisions?”
If we are in a group we all know the pressure to just say nothing, to try to keep them “liking us.” I know I have felt that pressure as I have fallen into it at times. It takes work to learn how to do it and it’s sometimes a risk to step out and say something. That’s just the moment when we can learn what is really of highest importance to us. If pleasing God is number one, then we’ll speak up for God’s standards. If pleasing people is number one, then we’ll bite our tongues and say nothing.
Jesus had moments when He got wonderful feedback from the people he served. Why, because He was listening to the Father in making decisions. Then there were those other days.
Pharisees disrupted his teaching sessions with heckling questions. When He healed the sick and fed them, everybody wanted in. When he talked about the cost of discipleship, most of them just walked away. They abandoned Him….
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