After Hurricane Isabel, my neighbor Larry was anxious about trees on his property that could easily topple in future storms. He hadn’t lost any, but he was anxious so he had a tree company come out and consult on his trees. There were a couple of obvious candidates to be felled, another one that was selected looked fine.
One of our most notable human characteristics is our proclivity to collect things. Whether my Dept. 56 Dickens Village, the record collection I no longer have a turntable for, or Susan’s teacups, we all collect and hold onto “treasures.”
Sadie Sieker was a missionary for many years in the Philippines. Her role was as a house-parent and teacher for the children of other missionaries. Sadie loved books. So much so that the ones she treasured the most she kept in a footlocker under her bed.
This year I’m exploring significant words of the Bible and our faith. This week the word is perfect! Jesus tells his followers and young man on the rise “Be perfect…if you wish to be perfect, sell your possessions…”
Yikes! We are to seek perfection. I agree with Kathleen Norris, this has got to be one of the scariest words I know.
So what makes you laugh? What tickles your fancy?
As we make our way through a year of significant words for life in scripture, that’s our word for the week.
Does a well well told joke do it for you: A certain preacher, no names, please, had delivered what he thought was a great sermon, and he was felling good on the way home. “How many great preachers do you think there are preaching today?” he asked his wife.
“One less than you think,” she answered.
Our journey through significant words of scripture and faith continues today. The word this week is alone.
The dictionary defines the word as “separated from others; isolated; exclusive of anything else.”
In Genesis God says “It is not good that humans should be alone…”
Proverbs claims “The one who lives alone is self-indulgent…” (18:1)
Once again, this week, we encounter a word from scripture that should be in our vocabulary. This time, because it describes you and me: “Chosen.”
“For you are a holy people and God has chosen you out of all the peoples on earth to be his people…”
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people…Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people.”
The department head was a wise, friendly man. One day, a young staffer sought his career advice: "Sir, What is the secret of your success?"
For the next several months, I’m preaching on words from scripture or our faith that engage us.
This week our word is “Salt!”
“You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot.”
It’s an odd word for a sermon, isn’t it? There are more complicated theological words:
Christology, eschatology, reconciliation, atonement, predestination…
When I was four-years old, I ran away from home!
Modeling a TV character, Hobo Kelly, I tried to pack all my worldly possessions in a bandanna and tie it to the end of a stick. They didn’t fit. So I made some choices, tied what I had and set out.
Rev. Michael Clang
Third Sunday after Pentecost
Once again, I am so delighted to be with you all this morning. I was speaking with Gordon and trolling around on your web site and I really admire what you all are doing now with your “whiteboard grace”.
Picking a different word from Scripture and then meditating and reflecting on it each week. What a wonderful individual AND collective spiritual exercise for you all to embark upon to grow in your faith.
Trinity Sunday 2017
We continue the word of the week series. I’m preaching each week on a word from scripture or faith that seems imperative to our understanding of what it means to be a disciple. The word for today is, “Sin.”
Over the next several months I am preaching on words from scripture and Christian faith that every disciple should know. As today is Pentecost, naturally our word is Spirit.
Over the next several months I am preaching on 50 or so words from the Bible and our faith. A word a week. Words that I think every faithful disciple needs to know. Today’s word is Covenant, though you will not find that word in the text.
Today I am going to start something new. Instead of preaching from the lectionary, I’ve selected 50 or so words in the Bible, or a part of our faith, that every disciple needs to know. So, every Sunday’s meditation will be on a new word. And, at the beginning of each week, as I shared with the children, the word for the week will be on the WhiteBoard Grace. Together then, we’ll all have an opportunity to create a congregation-wide devotional growing from our unique experiences and reflections on that week’s special word.
Presented by Deborah Rexrode
I can remember times when my hopes were… dashed against a stone. Something I really wanted to happen, didn’t. Something I was really counting on, fell through. Or worse, times when something did happen that changed all my hopes and dreams. This kind of disappointment comes to us in a wide variety of ways:
A high school senior has applied to her favorite college, but she doesn’t get accepted.
You’re in line for that promotion, but it doesn’t come your way.
After years of working, you reach retirement, only to receive a diagnosis that’s not good.
Last Saturday Major League Baseball celebrated Jackie Robinson Day. Around the league, players, managers, even umpires wore Robinson’s retired number 42 to commemorate his career and accomplishments. April 15, 1947 was Opening Day and the day Robinson broke the Major leagues racial barrier as the first Black baseball player in the modern era. Jackie Robinson changed the playing field!
Pastor David was expecting a great day! Tomorrow would be his first Easter since graduating from seminary. Primed with the latest in theology he was called to Maple Street Community Church. He made the final touches to his sermon that morning and shared it with his wife. He told her about Paul Tillich and his theology of “new being.” He spoke about the resurrection as a symbol that the estrangement from our authentic self was over. He didn’t seem to notice his wife shaking her head.
Our era has moved from sound bites to 140 character twitter comments. Do you recognize any of the following: #dog-eat-dog world; #assertyourself; #standyourground; #killthecompetition; #makeyourpresenceknown.
These are just some of today’s popular expressions for encouraging people to get ahead, achieve goals and be successful in life. Such philosophy of life is ingrained from an early age because we know, deep down, that Leo Durocher was right, “Nice guys finish last!”
Fifth Sunday in Lent
My friend Mark often wore a T-Shirt that succinctly stated one of our culture’s famous dictums: “I don’t get mad, I get even!” It’s one of our great temptations, isn’t it? To keep score in life, always fighting for balance in life on that basis.
Fourth Sunday in Lent
Five-year old Johnny burst out crying when his beloved dog died. Scooter had been his constant companion, even sleeping at the foot of Johnny’s bed. Now the dog is gone, and little Johnny is a basket case. Johnny’s dad stammers a bit and says, “Uh, don’t feel bad, Johnny, we’ll get you a new dog.”
That’s Lesson 1 of Grief Management 101 in our culture; bury your feelings; replace your losses. Once you have a new dog, you won’t think about the old one anymore.
Second Sunday in Lent
When I make a visit to Chippenham hospital, exiting the parkway at Jahnke Rd. or head to the Presbytery office at the boulevard off-ramp of I-64, I often see someone sitting by the side of the road with a cardboard sign.
Will work for food
Kids at home
Disabled, Homeless Veteran
Anything you can do to help…God bless…
First Sunday in Lent
My all time favorite novel is Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables. In recent years it has had great popularity based on the musical versions, I adore them as well. Yet to sit and read the original novel is to uncover layers of richness to characters and story that don’t fit into the stage versions.
When he was ten years old, Dwight Eisenhower wanted to go trick-or-treating with his older brothers. His parents said he was too young. As he watched his brothers head out, he pleaded with his parents. They remained firm, he was too young. At that, he was engulfed by uncontrolled rage. He turned red. His hair bristled. Weeping and screaming he rushed into the front yard and began pounding his fists into the trunk of an apple tree. He pounded so hard he scraped the skin off, leaving his hands bloody and torn.
Seventy years ago, a Philadelphia congregation watched as three nine-year old boys were baptized and joined the church. No long after, the church sold the building and disbanded.
One of those boys was Tony Campolo, now a Baptist minister and professor of sociology. Dr. Campolo notes, “Years later when I was doing research in the archives of our denomination I decided to look up the church report for the year of my baptism. There was my name and Dick White’s — he is now a missionary — and Bert Newman is a professor of theology at an African seminary.”
Chaim Potok was an intensely religious man; a Jew who explored the dimensions of faith in our lives. As a boy he read Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited and from that moment on knew he wanted to be a writer. His mother, on the other hand wasn’t so sure. When he went away to college she said, “Son, now I know you want to be a writer. But I want you to think about brain surgery. You’ll keep a lot of people from dying. And you’ll make a lot of money.” To which Potok responded, “No, Mama, I want to be a writer.”
First Sunday after Christmas
Well today is the day for all those resolutions we make attempting to improve ourselves in the year to come. New Year’s is a natural restart. It offers a symbolic point in time to redirect ourselves.
This new year also heralds an opportunity for Christians to witness a better way than division. To witness to the world the love and care Jesus offered the world. To witness to the peace of Christ.