|Loretto ChapelI believe it was last year but a couple of folks from this congregation travelled on vacation to New Mexico and visited the Loretto Chapel. Now I have to admit that I did not know anything about the Loretto Chapel when Foster told me about his trip to visit this place.||December 19, 2010 –
There was a monk who was very impatient. You may wonder, why would a monk be impatient? Don’t they become monks so that they don’t have to deal with the world? Yes, that’s true. So imagine how impatient this monk was…
|December 12, 2010 –
|Delancey Street“They are nasty, racist, violent, and greedy. They are thieves, prostitutes, robbers, and murderers. They are all gang members.” Doesn’t sound like a group that many of us would want to hang around? Doesn’t sound like a group you would want to do business with? Certainly doesn’t sound like anyone you would want working for you if you operated a business. But in Mimi Silbert’s business model, these are exactly the people that she hires.||December 5, 2010 –
In the church today we have begun the season of Advent. This is the season when we set aside 4 weeks to prepare for the birth of the Christ child. We decorate the sanctuary. We set up and light candles on the Advent wreath. We try our best to remind ourselves what this season is really all about. The acts we do in the sanctuary are pretty counter cultural to what is out there beyond us.
|November 28, 2010 –
Who here has ever heard the name Maurice Clarett? Maurice Clarett was a freshman at The Ohio State University in 2001 through 2002. But the reason that Maurice Clarett became known to so many was because he was the star running back on the Ohio State team that won the National Championship. Clarett scored the winning touchdown in the 2nd overtime to beat the University of Miami.
|November 21, 2010 –
|Radical Defeat from Jeremiah
The story of the Bible is the story of God choosing a certain group of people to be in a committed relationship with God. There is nothing that this group of people did that was special or deserving. It was a group of people that God chose to be in a special relationship to.
|November 7, 2010 -Radical Defeat from Jeremiah|
|I Give Up
Do you ever have times when you just feel like quitting? Do you ever have days when you awake at 3 am in the morning and you lie in the bed and you ponder something in your life that you want to give up on? Have you ever had days when you did say, “I give up” and you really meant it this time?
|October 31, 2010 –
I Give Up
Our second text of Scripture comes from Jeremiah. We have been studying Jeremiah the last couple of weeks. We have learned that he was a prophet who lived during a time when God’s people were about to be conquered by an outside force. Jeremiah saw it coming and he pleaded with God’s people that their sinful behavior was the reason that God was allowing the Babylonians to conquer the residents of Jerusalem. We learned last week that one of the sins they were committing was not conducting faithful worship. Today we hear something else that concerned Jeremiah. He did not like the way that people were becoming rich on the backs of the poor. He did not like the way the ones with money were giving poor wages to those who did not have wealth. Let us hear these challenging words from the prophet Jeremiah.
|October 24, 2010 –
|God the PotterToday I have to make a confession to you. I need to confess to you that when I arrive to the church on Fridays there is one thing on my mind. Today is the day I have to write a sermon. And the task of writing a sermon has guided much of what I have written on Fridays, re-worked on Saturdays, and delivered on Sundays. But just focusing on the task of writing a sermon on Fridays was the wrong way to approach this responsibility. Focused on the task of sermon writing meant I was not always focused on listening to what God was saying through the Scriptures.||October 17, 2010 –
God the Potter
Today we are beginning a series on the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah. It was not easy to be Jeremiah. Jeremiah lived and spoke out during a time when the people of God were going through some serious judgment against them. In 721 bc, Israel, the people chosen by Yahweh God to be God’s faithful people, was conquered by the Assyrian Empire. Not all of Israel was conquered, the Southern kingdom, called Judah survived this conquest.
|October 10, 2010|
Today concludes our series on the Old Testament character of Joseph. We have learned over the course of these 6 weeks that Joseph was one of 12 sons. We know that he was the favorite of his Dad and that his Dad gave him a special coat. Joseph’s brothers became very jealous of him especially after he told them about a dream he had in which they would bow down to him.
|October 3, 2010 –
|DUST BOWLLast Sunday we entered into the story of Joseph and how he ended up in Egypt. He was in jail when he was summoned by Pharaoh, king of Egypt, to interpret a dream for him. Joseph interpreted this dream to say that there would be 7 prosperous years followed by 7 lean years and that the Egyptians needed to store up grains during good years in order to survive the drought||September 26,2010 –
I have this problem and I was wondering if you could help me out. I went into my closet here in my study and found some things. As you can see, I have never used any of this stuff but I keep it under the assumption that one day it will come in handy.
|September 19, 2010 –
Today is the second week in our series exploring the life of Joseph. And this is another one of those texts of Scripture which is difficult to explore. This is one of those stories that prove once again that the Bible tells all of the parts of people’s lives, not just the part that they want us to hear.
|September 5, 2010|
|Dreamers“Some would describe this as the most anxious of times. The structures that shape the society are starting to break apart or radically be changed. Institutions that we took for granted are disappearing or reforming themselves. Even basic social relationships like marriage that we have depended upon as the foundation of society are being redefined.||August 29, 2010 –
The leader of the synagogue is upset that Jesus is healing someone on the Sabbath. Is he really all that concerned with protecting a day set aside to worship God? Or is there a hidden agenda in why he acts the way he acts?
|August 22, 2010 –
|The Rabbi’s Gift
Close your Bibles. Do not look up the page number in the bulletin. Now pick up a Bible. I have a piece of candy here for the first person who can find Philemon in the Bible. Ready, set, go.
Philemon is hard to find because it is one of the smallest books in the New Testament. It is actually a letter. It is letter written from Paul to three people including Philemon, the slave master of a slave named Onesimus. In this letter, Paul is writing from prison and informs that Onesimus has been with him in prison but he is now being released. We are not sure why Onesimus is in prison or why he is now being released. But in this letter to Philemon at the release of Onesimus, Paul gives advice to the Christian community about how they should now treat Onesimus on his return to the community. I am reading this letter this morning because it mentions Epaphras who will also be mentioned in our second reading from Colossians this morning. But I think both letters give us clues that can help us in how we are to live our lives today.
|August 8, 2010 –
The Rabbi’s Gift
|Is Facebook a help or is it a hindrance? Is Twitter a good thing or does it dumb us down? Do computers help to connect us or separate us? How can technology be an avenue to advance the will of God?||August 1, 2010|
|Some of you may have been surprised to read in the Rock Hill Herald or the Charlotte Observer or through online news on Friday that the Presbyterian Church (USA), our denomination, has sent to the presbyteries a new policy concerning sexual orientation and ordination standards for clergy and elders. This morning I want to make sure everyone understands our polity or our form of church government and what exactly was done and the discussions that will follow. I will then lead us into our morning’s second Scripture and how I think it can guide our conversations.||July 11, 2010|
I want to share with you a quote to get us thinking about the text we are about to read. This quote is from Eugene Peterson. Peterson translated the version of the Bible called The Message. Peterson writes: “When men and women get their hands on religion, one of the first things they often do is turn it into an instrument for controlling others, either putting them or keeping them in their place. The history of such religious manipulation and coercion is long and tedious. It is little wonder that people who have only known religion on such terms experience release or escape from it as freedom. The problem is that the freedom turns out to be short lived.”
|June 13, 2010|
You may find this hard to believe but when I was in college I had a phone interview to be a river guide. One of those summer guides that sits on the back of the raft and yells at the thrill seeking teenagers or out of shape adults to paddle left or paddle right or paddle harder, harder, harder. The guide that makes sure everyone is safe and that the raft stays out of the dangerous water pools or jagged rocks.
|June 6, 2010|
|Memorial Day 2010One of the blessings of working at this site during the week is that I allow myself a break every now and then to walk the trail that exists here on the church property. It starts over here beside the playground and winds itself through the woods and ends up at the African-American slave cemetery over here where it circles around the cemetery. This trail exists due to the work of a couple of scouts completing their Eagle projects and the tireless work of George Meyer who has made it his mission to restore the cemetery.||May 30, 2010|
What is Pentecost? Some may answer that question by citing historical data that it was an agricultural festival during the time of the Bible in which the first fruits of the harvest were brought to the Temple 50 days after the Passover. Some may answer that question by saying that it is the birthday of the church. Some may answer that question by saying it is the day that we celebrate the Holy Spirit descending upon the earth. Some may answer that question by saying, “I don’t know” but I am told that I am to wear red to church.
|Pentecost – 2010|
Kate Huey says that even though we call this book “The Acts of the Apostles” we really should name it ‘”The Adventures of the Apostles.” Of all the books in the Bible, it has more close calls, prison escapes, shipwrecks, executions, and stonings than any action-adventure movie, and then it throws in a few circumcisions, a lot of healings, and a church fight or two, just for good measure…stuff you don’t usually find in action-adventure movies, actually.
|May 9, 2010|
|Simon PeterSimon Peter is an interesting character in the Bible. As I tried to get to know him though the stories we are told about him in the Bible, I began to realize how much Simon Peter is like many of us. Simon Peter is someone who was an ordinary hard working guy; he was a business owner who had his own fishing business. He was either married or he may have been widowed.||May 2, 2010|
When my family was in Charleston a couple of weeks ago, we spent the first few hours in town walking along the battery. The battery is the walkway that hugs the shoreline of the historic city. You walk alongside the 200 year old houses and military cannons. In our walk, we were approached by a woman who handed my family a pamphlet. The pamphlet announced that on October 21, 2011, the world would come to an end.
|April 25, 2010|
|Different Points of View
I once heard the definition of insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and achieving the same result. I thought about that quote after reading this morning’s gospel lesson. Because here we have a story of what happens when followers of God look at a problem in a different way.
|April 18, 2010|
|In each of the four gospels that tell of this event of women entering into the tomb of Jesus, there are some differences concerning some of the details of the event. For instance, the gospels differ in terms of which women enter and who they encounter inside the tomb.||Easter 2010|
This story is a parable which is a story that is told which has several layers of meaning. As we read this story this morning, I invite you to be thinking about who you most relate to in this story. After we read you are free to share who you can relate to and it would be great if you could tell us why.Read Luke 15: 11-32
|March 14, 2010|
I want to read a selection from the book, “Shame of the Nation.” This book takes a look inside many of the worst public schools in America and why they are that way. But as I read this excerpt, I invite you to think about your own life and to ask if this story is similar to what you feel as though you are being conditioned to be in our society. After reading from the book and reflecting on how I think this morning’s two Scriptures challenge us to be different than this, I am going to ask for your reflections to what this author says and how I interpret his words through the Scriptures.
|March 7, 2010|
|Confession of My Sins
I recently heard someone talking about attending their 50th high school reunion in which someone asked the former classmates an unusual question. They were asked “What fears have you conquered over the years and what new ones have you acquired?” Not eager to make their private fears public, each person present waited for someone else to open up the discourse. One person finally listed some familiar fears, including “mice,” “being left out or abandoned” and “the dark.” Two confessed to being lifelong phobics, one claustrophobic (afraid of enclosed spaces) and one arachnophobic (afraid of spiders). Their newer fears were more age-specific–“being doped and sitting aimlessly in a stupor in a nursing home,” “dying,” and “a recurrence of cancer.”
|February 28, 2010|
|Galileo and Temptation
Galileo has been called the father of astronomy, the father of modern physics, and even the father of science. Much of what we learn today in our basic science classes comes from his observations. He advanced the use of telescopes and was able to confirm the phases of Venus and the four largest moons around Jupiter.
|February 21, 2010|
|Wearing MasksI recently heard a man tell about the time he was driving in the car with his daughter when they passed by the house where they lived until she was eight years old. He asked her, “Do you remember living in that house?” She said she did. So naturally her father asked, “What do you remember?” Her reply struck him as odd, yet somehow profound. She said, “I remember my third birthday party in the backyard and you had a clown come and we all cried, because the clown scared us.” As they talked further the father realized that what scared his 3 year old daughter was that the kids could not tell who was behind the mask.||February 14, 2010|
|Listen Once Again
I want to tell a story before I read this morning’s first lesson. Gwen Richards remembers how her mother, Helen Ruth Huggins was the glue for their family. She was very popular among their relatives. But when she was in her early 60s, Huggins was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
|January 24, 2010|
|Abundance Jesus, we do not have enough. These are really the anxious words spoken by Mary when she tells Jesus that the wine has run out. Jesus, we do not have enough. How many times have we also spoken those same words to Jesus? How many times have we said to Jesus, “I do not have enough.”||January 17, 2010|
|Words of Affirmation
As a kid growing up in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Larry Hoover, now 62, found himself in the middle of gang territory. He had the Lucianitos on one side and the West Siders on the other. On Friday nights he would fight with the Lucianitos and on Saturday with the West Siders. “It was part of growing up.”
|January 10, 2010|