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Saturday, November 26, 2016

Christ the King: Someone to follow?

11/20/16






OK …two from the Internet: 

A picture of Michelle Obama holding a  sign that says : “An immigrant is taking my job”
The other a story saying the the Queen of England was  willing to take us back again. She says Your 240 year experiment  at Self Rule seemed like a good idea, but appears to not have turned out so well. We are willing to reassume responsibility. Only to will be direct by one of our children you like so well, no troublesome parliament in between. (Although a friend  pointed out that Great Britain’s had their issues with elections as well lately)

Today is Christ  the King Sunday. (I guess we don’t need to say Reign of Christ  Sunday anymore now that Donald Trump has been elected President.) By metaphor, this is the crowning of the year, the end of the church year.We are celebrating the ultimate dominion of Christ over all creation. Which sounds like a pretty good idea. 

The question for us is, who’s in charge? Or another question….remembering last week’s  quote from Catherine Feeny:
Something to empty 
Something to swallow 
Something to burn out 
Someone to follow

Do we have someone to follow? 
We have Interesting scriptures today…

Jeremiah gives us a warning…and a promise..
warning: 

Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! ( SO a word to incoming government Don’t send innocent immigrant children back to where they never have been before…)

And then the Promise:

he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. 6In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. And this is the name by which he will be called: "The LORD is our righteousness.”

What are the key words? 
Wisely,… justice …. righteousness ..… safety.
Sounds like good qualities in a ruler..

As to Colossians: leaving aside theology…we have another prayer of promise…
May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully 12giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. 13He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Do we have someone to follow? If Christ  is our King, what kind of king? AS if out of time, we have a holy week story in the midst of flourishing Christmas decorations..the story of the crucifixion of Jesus…

what do we see in this story?
bullying
mocking
political arrest
incarceration
violence
execution
religious authorities in league with the empire
and the refusal of good people to stand up..

How does this king respond? with  forgiveness….ready to welcome the condemned man beside him after that one’s  affirmation…

Today, when before our prayers we sing Jesus remember me when you come into your kingdom s, we identify with that criminal..

What will we be called to? It isn’t clear yet. But we should Dietrich Bonhoeffer. And the Confessing church. Like them ,we are called to obey only Christ as ultimate authority. 

We are called to start figuring  out what we are called to be and do.
In a coming book world where a cartoon villain has been elected mayor of Gotham, We ALL are batman..we don’t need heroes or leaders, we only need each other. 

Thank you Leila

Something special from Pat for the table












First Reading Jeremiah 23:1-6

1Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! says the LORD. 2Therefore thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, concerning the shepherds who shepherd my people: It is you who have scattered my flock, and have driven them away, and you have not attended to them. So I will attend to you for your evil doings, says the LORD. 3Then I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the lands where I have driven them, and I will bring them back to their fold, and they shall be fruitful and multiply. 4I will raise up shepherds over them who will shepherd them, and they shall not fear any longer, or be dismayed, nor shall any be missing, says the LORD.

5The days are surely coming, says the LORD, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. 6In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. And this is the name by which he will be called: "The LORD is our righteousness."


Second Reading Colossians 1:11-20

11May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully 12giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. 13He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

15He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; 16for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers-all things have been created through him and for him. 17He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. 19For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.

Gospel Luke 23:33-43

33When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. 34Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing." And they cast lots to divide his clothing. 35And the people stood by, watching; but the leaders scoffed at him, saying, "He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah of God, his chosen one!" 36The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine, 37and saying, "If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!" 38There was also an inscription over him, "This is the King of the Jews."


39One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, "Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!" 40But the other rebuked him, saying, "Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong." 42Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." 43He replied, "Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise."

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

On the Sunday after.....


11/16



We gathered slowly, as if slowly awakening too a new reality. We open with Tutu’s words, more 
meaningful than ever now…

Goodness is stronger than evil;
love is stronger than hate;
light is stronger than darkness;
life is stronger than death.
Victory is ours, victory is ours
through him who loved us. 
Victory is ours, victory is ours
through him who loved us.




Our first hymn was “Today we all are called to be disciples of   the Lord…”  


and following threading of the Gospel, we shared this song by Leonard Cohen: 



The world we are in this Sunday is a very different world than we were in last Sunday and is a place none of us imagined we would be in. If you are like me, you are still somewhat in a state of shock, of disbelief.  I’ve been struggling all week to come up with the right words to share with our community. 

Tuesday night, I kept waiting for the tide to turn, it never did. At 1:30 AM, I watched an episode of “Gotham”, a Batman origins series. The Penguin had somehow managed to get elected mayor of Gotham City. I realized that we were like Gotham City with no Batman around to save us. My friend pastor Heidi said that she felt like she did when she watched the towers come down, like something horrible was  happening and that there was absolutely nothing she could do about it. My son Dan said that this was the most historic thing that had happened in his lifetime. I said that he had been alive for 9/11. And he said that this felt worse. And I understand that. I do feel that our country will never be the same.  Something about our very core has been called into question. Or brought to light. Something that goes to the core of our identity as a people. It’s that serious. 

There has been an unceasing outpouring of analysis and lamentation and exhortation on every media and especially social media. That is understandable.There is a deep felt need to try and make sense of this, it’s a coping mechanism. It’s why I’ve held back for awhile. Trying to feel where i need to be. There’s been outpourings of people into the streets …today I joined them…but there is no achievable demand we make …it’s only an expression of our anger, our fears, our commitment…but…

There are voices calling on us to “come together”…to “reconcile…” Not so fast. 

First, allow yourselves to grieve and mourn awhile. Let yourselves feel that. You don’t need to “move on..” or “get over it…”.….Not yet. Secretary Clinton and President Obama are saying all the right things, acting as if this were simply a transfer of governance, a transition. But there is a danger here of normalizing this process.  But this is not normal. Not in any way. Not at all

Michael Moore has daily 5 point to do lists…they are helpful but…

Draw close to people you care about and let them know you love them. That’s first.

We need to be in prayers of compassion and solidarity as well…
Politics aside, I feel deeply for Hillary Clinton…I’m sure that she went to bed Monday night fully believing that she would be President and calling Mr. Trump must have been the most difficult thing she’d ever done. 
And for President Obama, at the peak of his approval ratings, ready to leave a lasting legacy, To see it all called onto question if not outright rejected..
And I pray for my generation of women…my sisters…the ones who go back to the coat hangar abortion days…who fought for  choice…the ill fated Equal Rights Amendment…who accompanied women through gauntlets of Project Rescue militants …they saw in Hillary an affirmation of their lives and embodiment of their struggle, they saw Hillary’s presumptive presidency as breaking the glass ceiling, as a sign as significant as Obama’s election.Their sense of betrayal is personal and profound. I understood their support of Hillary in a way my boys never could.
And we must pray for all those who feel threatened and vulnerable, left insecure by this outcome…for immigrants, people of color, Muslims, LGBTQ persons…and given some of what has been unleashed, their fears are real…

Scriptures have an uncanny way of intersecting with our lives…Luke 21: 5-19 has the apocalyptic vision of the destruction of the  temple…perhaps a symbol as vital to that people as the presidency  is to us….I have a feeling that politics as we have  known them are over…the republican party has gone to where it has been headed and a venerable Democratic party has found its days over…

….the days will come when not one stone will be left upon another; all will be thrown down….

As Michael Moore put it, Donald Trump is a human Molotov cocktail…inspired by conversations overheard in a homeless encampment, my friend Catherine Feeney wrote these words on her  post-Occupy “America” album..

I  wanna make some loud noises 
Set something off 
Light it on fire and then 
Watch it blow up 

I am the whistle before the explosion 
I am the heat that makes powder expand 
Some days I wake up lucky 
Today I am the queen of the damned 

Something to empty 
Something to swallow 
Something to burn out 
Someone to follow 

I wanna make some loud noises 
Piss someone off 
Get a fight going and then 
Watch it blow up 
Make it blow up 

Something to empty 
Something to swallow 
Something to burn out 
Someone to follow

I’m not sure whether that represents Trump voters or how I feel right now…



Luke is very aware of what the consequences are of faithfulness in such times:



12"But before all this occurs, they will arrest you and persecute you; they will hand you over to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors because of my name. 13This will give you an opportunity to testify. 14So make up your minds not to prepare your defense in advance; 15for I will give you words and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to withstand or contradict. 16You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, by relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. 17You will be hated by all because of my name. 18But not a hair of your head will perish. 19By your endurance you will gain your souls.

We have NO idea what the days ahead of us may require..Luke’s  description of “betrayal” truly touches me…it is common…familiar…we’ve been there..remember the House UnAmerican Activities Committee hearings? Or the Harvard Secret Court of 1920 where friend and family turned against each other  in the homosexual trials ? Or the German Democratic Republic  where perhaps a half million or more  turned  informers?…..or what happens to Palestinian prisoners today?

and will lose your lives…

By your endurance you will gain your souls.

Thankfully, Isaiah  gives us a vision of an new creation….IF I have HOPE at all, it is  that a new creation will emerge…

Here is the Vision: The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, the lion shall eat straw like the ox; but the serpent-its food shall be dust! They shall not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain, says the LORD.

It’s an image that hat has been special for my Quaker relatives. Their meeting house has the peaceable Kingdom Paintings by Hicks on the walls. It’s an image that comports me. 

Speaking ONLY of the CHURCH…I believe that we are called to be a community of resistance. 
WE are now called to define what Cornell West calls REVOLUTIONARY CHRISTIANS…a visible counter-cultural community…

And we must be absolutely committed to MAKING SAFE ALL WHO FEEL VULNERABLE. We also need to grow in understanding of the  forgotten people who supported Trump…like those from my my hometown…former mill towns and factory towns and mimic communities…left beside the road and treated with condescension by the liberal elite…
But we must never compromise with the other supporters, the voices of hatred and rejection…of misogyny, xenophobia, islamophobia, racism..

We need to engage in local projects…last Friday, Pastor Heidi and I met with the National Mobilization Against Sweat Shops  people…a new campaign is rising  to end wage theft through a Secure Wages Earned Against Theft bill…sin this campaign we walk shoulder to shoulder with those who have been made to feel threatened, the most vulnerable among us…the undocumented immigrants from Mexico, China, West Africa…

And friends, this is just the beginning…

Shout aloud and sing for joy, O royal Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.

We shared our reflections with one another. Russ sees us at a new day needing a new prophetic way too be church. Pat is still in shock and disbelief. Leila surprised that we were surprised given the fear we had expressed last week. It is good to be together.

Our final hymn was “ O Day of Peace”:


Then we held  hands .Prayed. Sang Amen. And went back into the world…




Thank you Leila....



                                Oh...and Russ reminded us,"Now we must be Batman..."


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First Reading Isaiah 65:17-25

17For I am about to create new heavens and a new earth; the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind. 18But be glad and rejoice forever in what I am creating; for I am about to create Jerusalem as a joy, and its people as a delight. 19I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and delight in my people; no more shall the sound of weeping be heard in it, or the cry of distress. 20No more shall there be in it an infant that lives but a few days, or an old person who does not live out a lifetime; for one who dies at a hundred years will be considered a youth, and one who falls short of a hundred will be considered accursed. 21They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit. 22They shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat; for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be, and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands. 23They shall not labor in vain, or bear children for calamity; for they shall be offspring blessed by the LORD-and their descendants as well. 24Before they call I will answer, while they are yet speaking I will hear. 25The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, the lion shall eat straw like the ox; but the serpent-its food shall be dust! They shall not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain, says the LORD.

Shout aloud and sing for joy, O royal Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.


Gospel Luke 21:5-19

5When some were speaking about the temple, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and gifts dedicated to God, he said, 6"As for these things that you see,
7They asked him, "Teacher, when will this be, and what will be the sign that this is about to take place?" 8And he said, "Beware that you are not led astray; for many will come in my name and say, 'I am he!' and, 'The time is near!' Do not go after them.

9"When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified; for these things must take place first, but the end will not follow immediately." 10Then he said to them, "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; 11there will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and plagues; and there will be dreadful portents and great signs from heaven.


12"But before all this occurs, they will arrest you and persecute you; they will hand you over to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors because of my name. 13This will give you an opportunity to testify. 14So make up your minds not to prepare your defense in advance; 15for I will give you words and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to withstand or contradict. 16You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, by relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. 17You will be hated by all because of my name. 18But not a hair of your head will perish. 19By your endurance you will gain your souls.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Is the day of the Lord already here? Or is it just the election?

11/6









We had a great day on Halloween. Warm and beautiful. Leila and Pat made great  decorations. there was Marsha, another Bible Study…I enjoyed the night…only when I went to bed did I begin to feel the cold chill of dread that the next day I would start seeing holiday decorations in stores. Dunkin Donuts has their candy cane crunch donuts out already. I feel the grains of sand of another year running out and it makes me feel sad, at least…look, .I desperately need November. I want to say  Don’t be in such a rush…

I took a long walk yesterday. ..through Central Park…the beautiful colors of the leaves..people skating on Lasker Rink…and people picnicking on the grass…

Why mention all of these things? Because whatever else is going on, life is going on…and I need to remind myself of that before the election..

Yes, we have an election coming up…and with margins slim, there is a sense of “upheaval, anxiety and fear.” (this is what was said about the context of texts…by Jill Duffield) Fear, anxiety, apocalyptic talk, questions of power and glory, uncertain outcomes - Does that sound like our national mood? Actually it’s Jill Duffield describing the test of the week…all these things pervade the readings for this week. 

I’ve had a sense of the apocalyptic ever since the conventions…like nothing I’d ever seen before…

I started singing  “A Hard Rain’s A Gonna Fall” as part of my shows …and church….and “Mercy Now” by Marty Gauthier…
My father could use a little mercy now
The fruits of his labor fall and rot slowly on the ground
His work is almost over it won't be long, he won't be around
I love my father, he could use some mercy now

My brother could use a little mercy now
He's a stranger to freedom, he's shackled to his fear and his doubt
The pain that he lives in it's almost more than living will allow
I love my bother, he could use some mercy now

My church and my country could use a little mercy now
As they sink into a poisoned pit it's going to take forever to climb out
They carry the weight of the faithful who follow them down
I love my church and country, they could use some mercy now

Every living thing could use a little mercy now
Only the hand of grace can end the race towards another mushroom cloud
People in power, they'll do anything to keep their crown
I love life and life itself could use some mercy now

Yeah, we all could use a little mercy now
I know we don't deserve it but we need it anyhow
We hang in the balance dangle 'tween hell and hallowed ground
And every single one of us could use some mercy now
Every single one of us could use some mercy now
Every single one of us could use some mercy now
….



So much in that song seems so apt…I kept feeling like I had to  sound an alarm….

so let’s take a look at these texts..


Haggai asks Who is left among you that saw this house in its former glory? How does it look to you now? Is it not in your sight as nothing?  The people have returned from exile, found their temple in ruinsover the last several years, when we’ve had this passage, it felt like it referred to  our church building (or church?) But when we look around now, so much of the building has been restored, there has been so much…progress…but the  what has happened to the  church

But this year we look outside the church…what do you see? A situation that seems more dire than any I’ve remembered…it's easy to forget all that has been bettered the last 8 years…(and also that many of these could be reversed by a stroke of a pen…)

The prophet’s word is clear…we are to “take courage”..”I am with you…my spirit abides among you….do not fear….

Thessalonians comes from another anxious  time… a time of imperial oppression…hear these words again…

1As to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we beg you, brothers and sisters, 2not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as though from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord is already here. 3Let no one deceive you in any way; for that day will not come unless the rebellion comes first and the lawless one is revealed, the one destined for destruction. 4He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, declaring himself to be God. 5Do you not remember that I told you these things when I was still with you?

Uh….there’s a description there I’m tempted to comment on, but won’t…I have to remind myself that for many voters, Hillary may seem like the "lawless one..” the feelings were so passionate..Paul cautions his people not top believe that the day of the Lord is here already…
 we are not to be shaken or alarmed…

So how down? What are you feeling? 

These are profoundly important decisions before us which will have consequences…
But no matter what happens, the leaves will still be around awhile  longer, Thanksgiving will come and then Christmas, skaters will circle Lasker as the world spins and regardless of the result, we have work to do…

As people from the reformed tradition, regardless of who is in there, they will be flawed, they will not represent God’s will and we will need to call the to account…that’s what we do…

Thessalonians refers to us ….We …our community…are the first fruits of salvation…a counercultural community within the broader community….we are called to live together, work together, be together, in resistance to the power of empire and as a demonstration of the power of the risen Christ…so get out and vote Tuesday, take a deep breath…and then, back to work…there’s work to be done…

First we need to join in  prayer…our neighbor SPSA has been holding non-partisan prayer vigils every Wednesday...

So let us begin with  prayer....

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So we talked about how we were feeling...one of us felt that the Clintons had talked their friend Donald into running to guarantee Hillary's victory...others expressed genuine fear...seeing something arise in our country that we genuinely fear...yet others expressed the sense of overall cynicism that reflects the feelings of our children..the feelings of anxiety over uncertainty is palpable...

So we said our prayers, we shared bread and cup...and sang "Amen"


Our table





15bIn the second year of King Darius,

1in the seventh month, on the twenty-first day of the month, the word of the LORD came by the prophet Haggai, saying: 2Speak now to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and to the remnant of the people, and say, 3Who is left among you that saw this house in its former glory? How does it look to you now? Is it not in your sight as nothing? 4Yet now take courage, O Zerubbabel, says the LORD; take courage, O Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest; take courage, all you people of the land, says the LORD; work, for I am with you, says the LORD of hosts, 5according to the promise that I made you when you came out of Egypt. My spirit abides among you; do not fear. 6For thus says the LORD of hosts: Once again, in a little while, I will shake the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry land; 7and I will shake all the nations, so that the treasure of all nations shall come, and I will fill this house with splendor, says the LORD of hosts. 8The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, says the LORD of hosts. 9The latter splendor of this house shall be greater than the former, says the LORD of hosts; and in this place I will give prosperity, says the LORD of hosts.


Second Reading 2 Thessalonians 2:1-5, 13-17

1As to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we beg you, brothers and sisters, 2not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as though from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord is already here. 3Let no one deceive you in any way; for that day will not come unless the rebellion comes first and the lawless one is revealed, the one destined for destruction. 4He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, declaring himself to be God. 5Do you not remember that I told you these things when I was still with you?

13But we must always give thanks to God for you, brothers and sisters beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the first fruits for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and through belief in the truth. 14For this purpose he called you through our proclamation of the good news, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by our letter.

16Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and through grace gave us eternal comfort and good hope, 17comfort your hearts and strengthen them in every good work and word

Gospel Luke 20:27-38

27Some Sadducees, those who say there is no resurrection, came to him 28and asked him a question, "Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man's brother dies, leaving a wife but no children, the man shall marry the widow and raise up children for his brother. 29Now there were seven brothers; the first married, and died childless; 30then the second 31and the third married her, and so in the same way all seven died childless. 32Finally the woman also died. 33In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For the seven had married her."

34Jesus said to them, "Those who belong to this age marry and are given in marriage; 35but those who are considered worthy of a place in that age and in the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. 36Indeed they cannot die anymore, because they are like angels and are children of God, being children of the resurrection. 37And the fact that the dead are raised Moses himself showed, in the story about the bush, where he speaks of the Lord as the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. 38Now he is God not of the dead, but of the living; for to him all of them are alive."






Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Reformation Day to Halloween 2016

10/30










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!!!!)

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

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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


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Marsha looking Wagnerian



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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.
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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."