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Showing posts from 2009

Sermon for December 13, Advent 3

Light Against Darkness: Three Advent Reflections
Luke 2:8-15

Note: this is a sermon in three parts, included in a worship service that was based on the practice of lectio divina. -- Matt

— One —
Ok, here is a brain twister for your physicists out there. What is the opposite of light? Were you going to say darkness? Don’t be too quick to answer this one. We now know that particles have anti-particles. Since light is made up of particles called photons, then the opposite of light is anti-photons or anti-light. But wait! It turns out that the anti-particle for the photon is the photon. Which means that the opposite of light is . . . light.

As it turns out, the universe is composed of light. What we call darkness is simply the absence of light. Even in the farthest corners of the universe, light still exists. It may be an small quantity of light immeasurable by existing technology, but the light is still there. The experience of darkness just means that we cannot see the light.

Think about the …

Trumbull Thanksgiving Interfaith Service

Brave and Reckless Gratitude
November 25, 2009
The Rev. Dr. Matthew Braddock

Molly Fumia is a grief expert who writes from the heart about the unique pain of miscarriage and stillborn birth. She finds that the grief associated with miscarriage is often underrated. Mothers are expected to get over their emotional and spiritual pain in a day or two. Well-intentioned family, friends — even counselors — tend to minimize the throbbing ache of grief and devalue the loss of the parents. After experiencing two miscarriages of her own, she knows that it’s an experience of deep longing and unbearable emptiness. That’s why I find her words so amazing. Listen to Molly’s words of healing:
To be joyful in the universe is a brave and reckless act. The courage for joy springs not from the certainty of human experience, but the surprise. Our astonishment at being loved, our bold willingness to love in return — these wonders promise the possibility of joyfulness, no matter how often and how harshly love se…

Sermon for Sunday Nov. 22, Reign of Christ

Alpha and Omega
Revelation 1:4-8

Here’s how I know I’ve been having a low week. I yelled at a telemarketer. They always call at a bad time. On the day in question, it was around 8 AM. In between my coughing, trying to figure out what we can make for breakfast that will take the least amount of human effort, dealing with the kid’s fevers, getting the healthy kids ready for school, not to mention the dogs deciding it was time to go berserk over phantoms, the phone rang. It was a guy selling directory assistance Internet ads. “Hello, can I speak to the Trumbull Congressional Church Office?”
“It’s Congregational. And no, this is a residence. Please call the church office after 9:00 AM.”
“Do you mind if I ask you a few questions about your business?”
“Actually, I do mind. Please call the church office.”
“Do you have the number? I gave the number. He said he would call the office later. Then he asked, “Is this a United Church of Christ?”
"Please call the church office after 9 AM. Good Bye.” I…

Sermon for Nov. 15, 2009

Is Religion Dangerous? The Harm and Good of Religion
Nov. 15, 2009

For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true. Carefully determine what pleases the Lord. Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them. It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret. But their evil intentions will be exposed when the light shines on them, for the light makes everything visible . . . So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. And give thanks for ever…

Sermon for Nov. 8, 2009

Is Religion Dangerous? Faith and Morality
Matthew 22:23-40

Many religions make many strict requests of their members. This has always been the story for Christianity. For instance, consider the New Destiny Christian Center of the Assemblies of God located in Colorado. New Destiny Christian Center’s goal frightens people into believing in heaven and hell. In 1990, the church created an alternative to the traditional Halloween haunted house. They call it “Hell House” Every Halloween Season guides walk visitors through a building where youth actors depict disturbing scenes in hell. The purpose of Hell House is to save souls – to convert members of the community, specifically teens, into recommitting their lives to Jesus. What started as a small event is now produced around the world. At any given time, one may encounter a Hell House; they are no longer strictly reserved for Halloween. In fact, it can be purchased as an “outreach kit” so it can be performed anywhere at any time. The k…

Sermon for November 1, 2009

Is Religion Dangerous? Faith and Reason

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation. By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen. -- Hebrews 11:1-3

Faith can fix anything, right? We hear it all the time. Just have faith, and everything will be all right. Or will it? In his book, 10 Dumb Things Smart Christian Believe, Pastor Larry Osborne says that this belief tops the list. I know, it sounds weird, doesn’t it. We’ve been taught from our earliest days that faith can move mountains. Faith will keep us going on the tough times. Without faith, what is left to Christianity?

Faith believes in something beyond what can be known by our senses. Sometimes we call it “blind faith” – we don’t see, we just know. We don’t ask questions. We don’t entertain doubt…

Sermon for October 25, 2009

Is Religion Dangerous? Religion and War
Mark 13:1-31

Onward, Christian Paintball Soldiers! Did you know there is a group called the Christian Paintball Players Association? One of the Association’s most famous paint ball fields is called Promised Land Paintball in Trevor, Wisconsin. Promised Land Paintball Park has special rates for church youth groups, scouts, and others. Promised Land Park brings the Gospel to the paintball community, becoming a living example of God’s word as you being non-Christian friends and share your faith in Jesus with on the paintball field. If you really want to make a statement, make sure to buy some Christian paintball t-shirts through Lion’s Pride Christian paintball gear. It’s popular for paintball teams to post pictures and descriptions of their gear online. Christian paintball teams do the same thing. Take, for instance, “Neplusultra” whose skull-capped logo features a team motto from the book of Psalms: Praise be to the Lord my Rock who trains my hand…