Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Reformation Day to Halloween 2016


Check out today’s bulletin cover…..
The Dakota Pipeline protests continue. This is probably the most important protest of recent years as Native Americas protest a pipeline drill into their scared land. They are indigenous people. ( I’m waiting of someone to tell them to “ Go back where you came from…”) They say they are "Protectors" not"protestors" I have to ask,would we run a pipeline through Arlington Cemetery?

This makes the Chief Wahoo hats worn by the Cleveland Indians all the worse..

Chief Wahoo
Cleveland may win…My friend Bruce Reyes Chow has been wearing a “Caucasians” shirt….
Thus we are "Caucasians"


Last week I was in St. Louis visiting with colleagues. Some of the wounds of the Ferguson uprising still visible. The Pastor of 3rd Presbyterian Church kept church open to serve meals to the kids….because the schools were closed…and fro some children, their only meals came at school.

Yesterday here ended the two days long Transformation Festival…It’s theme was Leaving victimhood behind…One of the speakers was from the wounded warrior project…for soldiers returning from deployment …how tragic it is how abandoned some of our veterans have felt.

I tell my seminary students…we always do theology in a context..this is mine this week….what is yours?

Today is Reformation Sunday. This weekend begins the 500th anniversary celebration of the beginning of the reformation. Martin Luther  never intended to start a new religion or even a new denomination. (Can you imagine living in a time where there was just ONE church?)

Do you remember what set him off? The sale of indulgences…to pay for St. Peter’s basilica in Rome. (What a great fundraising scheme…to pay to take years off purgatory. That’s what started it. Like pulling on  loose thread, this eventually led him to question the whole system. Led him ultimately to“priesthood of all believers.” In our tradition, our equal ordinations. It’s why I am primarily a teacher and not a priest. A facilitator not a mediator. I am an administrator of sacraments, not a consecrator. What began there had broad political impact as well…Marilynne Robinson argued that Calvin’s reformed theology led to the  Enlightenment and humanism. 

Tomorrow is Halloween…the night before All Saints and then  All Souls days.…Luther chose the day deliberately. Because we are all “saints” and “souls…”

Last week we spoke of  a vision. Habbakuk spoke of “Writing the vision and making it plain so that even runner can read it..” Like bill boards along the highway.  What is the vision we seek to write?  We need to write?

I am more and more convinced that in a challenging and confusing time…at the end of empire…we are called to a radical  Christianity. I don’t mean that in a political sense, though there are certainly political implications. I mean that like Luther, we seek to go to the root and for us that root is Jesus. That more than anything we need to seek a radical obedience to the way of Christ and live that out in a community that works to help each other figure out what that means. To seek to be a Zaccheus who goes out to see Jesus and gets seen himself. To make Jesus the ultimate authority in everything we do. 

That’s how I see it on Reformation Day 2016. 

(And Happy Halloween!!!!)


In honor of Luther, we sing together A Mighty Fortress...


Halloweeen another perfect, beautiful day...a day for walking through the park..for debriefing the Transformation Festival  with Carman and Lotte ... then to West-Park where Leila and Pat have transformed the church...for the next four hours we greet a steady stream of trick or treaters..amazed at the cleverness of some costumes, like the two man Mr. Softee ice cream truck...Leila, Pat, Larry, Dion, David, Marsha and finally Russ all do their part...we did this well...
on the steps

Greeting the neighbors

Thanks Pat and Larry


Add caption


Marsha looking Wagnerian


First Reading Habakkuk 1:1-4, 2:1-4

1The oracle that the prophet Habakkuk saw.

2O LORD, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not listen? Or cry to you "Violence!" and you will not save? 3Why do you make me see wrong-doing and look at trouble? Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise. 4So the law becomes slack and justice never prevails. The wicked surround the righteous-therefore judgment comes forth perverted.
1I will stand at my watchpost, and station myself on the rampart; I will keep watch to see what he will say to me, and what he will answer concerning my complaint. 2Then the LORD answered me and said: Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so that a runner may read it. 3For there is still a vision for the appointed time; it speaks of the end, and does not lie. If it seems to tarry, wait for it; it will surely come, it will not delay. 4Look at the proud! Their spirit is not right in them, but the righteous live by their faith.

Gospel Luke 19:1-10

1He entered Jericho and was passing through it. 2A man was there named Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was rich. 3He was trying to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was short in stature. 4So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to see him, because he was going to pass that way. 5When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, "Zacchaeus, hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today." 6So he hurried down and was happy to welcome him. 7All who saw it began to grumble and said, "He has gone to be the guest of one who is a sinner." 8Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, "Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much." 9Then Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham. 10For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost."

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